The text below is from a book by Daichi Rōni, a nun who was one of Koten Roshis principal teachers. Koten Roshi did commentary on this text at the beginning of his ZCA zoom teishos in May and June 2021. The text drew interest from those attending the teisho and has been translated again here for clarity.



 『 修 行 の 根 本 』

Fundamentals of Zen practice by Daichi Rōni


For true Zen practice, endeavor to become one with ones present condition itself, just as it arises, detached from past and future.


Therefore, practice has nothing to do with nothingness, emptiness, or even the breathing.


In other words, this is Shikan simply, just, or solely”— simply sitting, simply doing, etc.


Ones present condition just as it is this present momentwe keep practicing this, endeavoring not to separate from it.


When you lose the present moment, confusion and anxiety swell up, begin to emerge


Shikan is without distraction utterly devoting oneself completely to the present moment


Completely devoting oneself is forgetting the notion of me and becoming one with the thing itself, becoming one with ones present reality


Now, as-it-is, is a state/condition free of all personal preferences


It is the freedom to become anything according with cause and effect


Without personal preferences, one is endowed with the ability/power to becomebe one withwhatever may come along.


In spite of the fact that we all are originally endowed with this natural abilityour original naturewe fall into the habit of piling thought upon thoughtconsciousness upon consciousnessthereby separating further and further from what was originally pure and unblemished.


The source of our delusion/confusion is perceiving self-and-other where originally no such distinction or separation exists.


Whether good things or bad things, or the breathing, or nothingness or emptiness, or shikan, or Zen practice, or whatever it could possibly be, to perceive somethingto acknowledge the existence of something/anythingis impossible and would be a mistake


In any case, having cut off past and future, and awakening to the reality that it is impossible to perceive a gap between self and otherbetween self and thingsin other words, if you endeavor to become one with the reality of the present moment as it is, then your practice should bear fruit.


This is the main thread of true Zen practice.



In other words, It is Zen practice of things simply as they are; it is practice-less Zen practice.




To get this far in ones practice requires great effort and perseverance. However, depending on the person there are some who more easily reach this point than others.


In this respect, knowing that character or a persons nature can have considerable influence in ones practice, please make the effort to practice calmly and level-headed




Keeping level-headed and calm is of utmost importance.


Then, always dwell in, keep, the present moment. Practice is not just sitting or shikan or the breathing, not just emptiness or nothingness (ku or mu).


Be one with the present moment, dont raise dualistic views.


If you dont inject/embellish the present moment with thought or conception, then there is only the thing itself, as it is, just as it arises.




Keep this as the center of your practice and dont abandon/separate from the present moment.


This is what zen in/during activity is. Thought-feelings (mind) is ever-changing. Our practice is to realize, awaken to, the present mind, the present moment. Awakening to the present, we find peace whatever the circumstances may be.


I would like everyone to penetrate the mind of the present moment as quickly as possible.




Separating from/losing the present moment, one becomes shackled by things.


The present thoughtthis present mindis the present, the present moment. Place the center of your practice here.


If you are careful that your own ideas do not interfere here, then everything simply/just arises, arises freely according to cause and effect. Please make your effort here.


Practicing like this, reality as-it-is simply manifests moment by moment. This is the truth of the Buddha Dharma.


Therefore, when sitting zazen, forget sitting, forget zazen, and be one with the present moment, ones present reality.


To refer to ones present reality as the present mind, the present moment, now, Shikantaza, as-it-is, samadhi, the Way: all of these are interchangeable.



We dont know the cause and effect circumstances of each person.


But when a persons nature becomes free and unrestricted, then at the same time their possibilities/potentialities become immeasurable.


In short, the aspiration to keep penetrating (to become one with) the immediate present, the present mind/thought/momentbefore consciousness of it engagesis most important. (Translators comment: consciousness/cognition of the present moment arises after that moment passes, which is why we are able to perceive the present.)


Simply bringing that to maturity/fruition, then the outcome or result will naturally manifest from everywhere, from all things.


Just cut off past and future, and awaken to the world of the very present, where even the present is imperceptible.


The present, ever-changing and just as it is, each and every thing arising due to cause-and-effect


Diligently endeavor to keep/preserve the present moment of things arising just as they are, without getting involved with them.


Each moment, just now, now, dedicate oneself wholeheartedly to Buddhist practice.


Please exert yourself to the utmost to awaken to the Buddha Way.

 菩提心 菩提心

Bodaishin Bodaishin (Devotion to reach the Way)