The Zen of Going to the Rest Room

Wood – Paper – Pulp Construction by Karah Pino

Text by Shunryo Suzuki

Zen master Ummon may have been the first to make a connection between our practice and the rest room.

What is your Practice?  What is Buddha?” Someone asked him.  He answered, “Toilet Paper.”

Actually, nowadays it is toilet paper, but he said “Something to wipe yourself with in the restroom.”  That is what he said .

And since then many Zen masters are thinking about it, practicing with the koan:  What is toilet paper? What did he mean by that?

In our everyday life, we eat many things, good and bad, fancy and simple, tasty and not so tasty.  Later we need to go to the restroom.  Similarly after filling our mind, we practice zazen.  Otherwise your thinking will eventually become very unhealthy.  It is necessary for us to make our mind clear before we study something.

It is like drawing something on white paper; if you do not use clean white paper, you cannot draw what you want.

So it is necessary to go back to your original state where you have nothing to see and nothing to think about.  Then you will understand what you are doing.

The more you practice zazen, the more you will be interested in your everyday life.  You will discover what is necessary and what is not; what part to correct and what part to emphasize more.  So by practice you will know hot to organize your life.  This is to observe your situation accurately, to clear your mind and begin from your original starting point.

This is like going to the restroom.

From: not always so: practicing the true spirit of Zen by Shunryo Suzuki

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