What is a kusen?

What is a kusen?

Ku: mouth.
Sen: teachings.

Kusen is teaching of a master to his disciples in a dojo during the zazen. Kusen is a secret langure, a zen technique of speaking reserved to the disciples of the Soto Zen school during the zazen in a dojo.

It is a secret between a master and a disciple, that no outsider can understand. Kusen goes from a master to his disciple and from a disciple to a master.

Sometimes, a master uses a kusen to criticize his disciples.

He uses very simple and important words: “Push your chin in.” “Don´t move.” “Straighten up your spine.” (Teachings related to the position and attention.)

Sometimes the teaching is simple, at other times it is long and profound. But it is neither a literature, nor a lecture.
A master has to hit the spirit of the disciples, to move it.

If we write a kusen in lovely words, it will lose its strength and becomes weak and charming; it ceases to be a kusen.

A kusen uses a direct language, sometimes cynical, sometimes humorous, biting. Sentences are short, direct. Brief sentences are necessary, because they must attack.

Silence itself is a teaching.

The aim of a kusen is not to educate with knowledge and information, it must deeply influence the brain and make the intuition and the highest wisdom spring out.

In the same way, during the zazen, unconsciously, naturally, a disciple listens to a kusen and it is not necessary to remember it. A kusen penetrates the unconscious and the memory records it automatically, without thinking, spontaneously.

A master creates in a kusen a teaching transmitted by his master. It is important that it would be created here and now.
If you were a master and simply read the kusen in a dojo, it would not be a kusen.
If someone comments or explains a kusen, it is no longer a kusen. Only an authentic master of transmittion can create a kusen from the bottom of the cosmic unconsciousness.

Taken from: Le Livre du kesa:

DESHIMARU, Taisen, Maître. Qu´est-ce que le kusen ? Le livre du kesa. Paris : Association Zen International, 1986. s. 13-14, 231 s. ISBN 2-901844-05-7



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