Continue zazen

I remember the first time my mother Josy came to practice zazen with Master Deshimaru. At the time, my mother was very critical of Master Deshimaru: “That guy took my son!”

My mother had done a feminist sketch at the summer camp party in Val-d’Isère.

So Sensei says: “I don’t want any feminism in Zen, everyone has to be the same. Men and women must be in good harmony, I don’t want to make any separation.”

During the sesshin, there was a woman who was crazy. She had woken everyone up during the night. Suddenly, during zazen, she got up and started screaming violently.

So Sensei says, “We’ve got to call an ambulance, we’ve got to get her to hospital.”

Later, there’s a mondo. My mother asks a question. Very aggressive, she was always asking Master Deshimaru questions: “Sensei, you say that this is Buddhism, and that we must have compassion. Why are you sending this girl to the psychiatric hospital? We should all be looking after her.”

Sensei replies: “Don’t you understand? Then you need to go to hospital too. Besides, if your son hadn’t followed my teaching, he’d be completely insane by now. I’m the one who saved your son. You’re a bad teacher. You have to leave, you’re crazy. You don’t understand how stupid it is to disturb a whole sangha because of one sick person. Afterward, everyone goes crazy.”

Later, he tells her: “I don’t want to be your master. I don’t want to teach you. Instead, become your son’s disciple.”

After that, my mother changed her mind about Master Deshimaru. She abandoned her prejudices. She understood that he was a master, and she began to practice zazen very seriously. Eventually, she declared, “I would like to receive Master Deshimaru’s ordination.” Unfortunately, Master Deshimaru died just as he was about to give her the ordination. He just gave her a rakusu.

Master Kosen – August 2001