“Being zen is to know how to find silence inside ourselves and to discover that this is our true nature”.
In 1967 the Japanese Zen master Taisen Deshimaru came to Paris to teach authentic Zen to Europeans following the wish of his master Kodo Sawaki. At that time the Frenchman Stéphane Thibaut met master Deshimaru and became his disciple.
In 1971 he became ordained monk and received the name Kosen. For 15 years Kosen practiced and studied at his master’s side. He followed him on all his travels through Europe and Japan. After the death of Master Deshimaru in 1982 Master Kosen continued the practice and led many sesshins (intensive zazen sessions) in Europe and South America.
In 1984 he received the shiho (Dharma transmission) from Master Niwa Zenji, Head of the Eiheiji Zen monastery founded in 1244 by Dogen, and became a Zen master in the ancient Zen tradition.
Under the guidance of Master Kosen there are Zen dojos in Europe, South America and Canada, and two temples, one in France and one in Argentina. Master Kosen was the founder of the original European Zen Center. He lived in Amsterdam between 1992 and 2000. He now lives in Montpellier, Southern France.
“We should discover inside ourselves the voice of love, which is very discrete, sweet, affectionate, which murmured that is loves you.
This love may be found in the breath, in the whole body. This is the root. This love is a very important indication of the truth. It’s a very silent voice, which can guide you, but to listen to it you have to be quiet. One should cut through all the noise of our mind, all the words and all the lies…
What are we looking for in zazen? We are looking for who we really are, to discover what is important, what is authentic. This has nothing to do with looking for Buddah or looking for illumination. This eternal existence which is already in us is very discrete, because it does not lead us through our emotions. Nothing bothers it, it is at ease. When you discover it… it’s as if you’re in love, with lots of love…
This love can grow, grow every day more and more. In this way, when we discover this love, this encounter with our true selves, we are able to communicate in a different way…
It’s difficult to communicate, don’t you think? Some people are married, who live together for many years, but don’t really communicate at all. This happens with ourselves as well. At times we don’t communicate with ourselves. This is why zazen is so important.
Which means that love comes from within, and it cannot be found outside. We must find the source, the water hole… This is why a teacher, or a Buddah is interested in the root, in the source. They are not interested in the branches and the leaves; because they know that the branches and leaves are the six paths of karma.
In contrast, loving yourself is the spiritual path. It’s the beginning, it is the path to the far beyond. Zazen is the best way to go further than our own suffering, the difficulties of our own body, beyond all this… ‘I am beyond this body, beyond this suffering. I am eternal, I am love. If need be, I am prepared to die right now’.
Master Kosen Thibaut
Master Kosen has published three books…
“Modern Monks” reminds us of the powerful and inspiring texts of ancient Chinese Zen Masters. Master Kosen Thibaut teaches in an original way a Zen practice with the taste of freedom.
Available in French, Spanish, English, Dutch
( €15, on sale in the dojo )
Kosen’s most recent book “Chronique de la Grande Sagesse” is based on a series of talks around the subject of the Heart Sutra. It originated as oral teaching given in the Zen Temple Yujo Nyusanji, during zazen, beginning in the year 2009.
French ( available on Amazon )
Kosen’s first book “Les cinq degrés de l’éveil”. On the way to enlightenment, every moment of our daily life counts: “In our life everything is possible and everything is necessary”, he says.
French ( available on Amazon )