ZAZEN IS LIKE GOING TO THE RESTROOM
Sunday, March 29, 1970
How do you feel now? [Laughs.] Excuse me. I thought of funny thing right now [laughs]. I feel as if, you know—I don’t know how you feel, but I feel as if I—I have finished, you know, things in restroom [laughs]. As I am pretty old, you know, I go to restroom so often. Even when I was young, I went [to] restroom more than, you know [laughs], usual person. I had, I think, some advantage, you know [laughs, laughter], because of that. When I went to tan- [partial word]—Eihei-ji and sit in tangaryō, for seven days [laughs], I could go to restroom without any guilty conscience because I had to [laughs, laughter]. I was so happy [laughs, laughter] to go to restroom. I think someth- [partial word]—to go to restroom is something to do, you know [laughs, laughter], with our practice.
Ummon may be the first one to make some connection between our practice and restroom. “What is our practice?” Or “What is buddha?”—someone asked him. He said, you know, “toilet paper”—no, not toilet paper. Nowadays it is toilet paper, but he says [laughing, laughter], “something to scratch your—scratch yourself after you—after finishing restroom.” That is what he said. And since then, you know, many Zen masters [are] thinking about or practicing on that kōan: What is toilet paper? [Laughs.] What he meant by it?
Anyway, our practice is closely related to our everyday life. Physiologically it may be—our—to go to—we go—we have to go to restroom, but psychologically I think we have to practice zazen. In our everyday life, we, you know, eat many things, good and bad: something fancy or something simple, something tasty or something tasteless like water.