Kakuzan Shido (1252 – 1305) “created the ‘mirror Zen’ practice to address women’s interest in their physical appearance.” Women have been and still are oftend told that their looks are their greatest asset and women can “excercise power by seducing or influencing powerful men.” Mirror zen was meant to encourage nuns to “see through their feelings and attachments to physical form by meditating in front of a mirror. Instructions were to look deeply into one’s nature and ask: ‘Where is a single feeling, a single thought, in the mirror in which I gaze?”
Kakuzan used Huineng’s teaching on the mirror to instruct her students as follows:
Since not a thing
takes lodging in the mind,
it is untainted:
To speak of polishing
is itself illusion.
Uit: Zen Women – Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters, Grace Schireson, Wisdom Publishers, Somerville, 2009; p.112-113.
Afbeelding: Woman Looking at Herself in the Mirror,Suzanne Valadon,1920.
Over het boek: This landmark presentation at last makes heard the centuries of Zen’s female voices. Through exploring the teachings and history of Zen’s female ancestors, from the time of the Buddha to ancient and modern female masters in China, Korea, and Japan, Grace Schireson offers us a view of a more balanced Dharma practice, one that is especially applicable to our complex lives, embedded as they are in webs of family relations and responsibilities, and the challenges of love and work.