Ichiza (一坐), nigyou (二行), sanshin (三心):
One sitting, two practices (vow and repentance), three minds (magnanimous mind, nurturing mind, joyful mind)
This is the expression Uchiyama Roshi used in his last lecture at Antaiji. He retired from Antaiji in 1975, many years ago. I was 26 or 27 years old, so it was more than 40 years ago. He said that what he has been keeping in mind while he was the teacher or abbot of Antaiji was that these three things are the most important, and he transmitted these three points to his disciples. After that, I had to come to this country and practice without my teacher, so this teaching has been my teacher. To me, sanshin is the conclusion of his teaching.
Of course, most important is zazen, but sanshin is how our zazen works in our daily lives, whether we are living in a monastery or in society, with our families, in our workplaces or in society at large. When we live together with other people we need these three minds. For Dogen the three minds is a practical teaching for monks within the monastery, but Uchiyama Roshi said that this teaching is not only for monks in the monastery but for anyone who lives with others. Whether it’s a Buddhist sangha or whatever kind of community, we need these three minds.
Likewise, the teachings in Dogen’s Eihei Shingi (Pure Standards for the Zen Community), according to Uchiyama Roshi, are an introduction to how our zazen practice can work outside the zendo in our daily lives. In the part of this text called Tenzo Kyokun (Instructions for the Cook), Dogen writes about the three minds. The tenzo, like all bodhisattvas, must keep these three minds as he or she prepares meals for the community.
I taught at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center from 1993 to 1997 (to 1996 as head teacher). In 1996 I established Sanshin Zen Community and I used this word sanshin as the name of the community. Often American Zen centers use the name of a place as a part of their names, for instance San Francisco Zen Center, Minnesota Zen Center, and there are many more. But at that time we didn’t have a place; only four people got together and made the decision to create a Zen community. There was no way to put a place in our name. We were looking for a suitable place to locate this community and we didn’t know where we would be. That’s why I used this word sanshin to indicate a community in which the members practice together with three minds.
Zazen also includes the two practice of vow and repentance. When we sit we aspire to liberate all beings, including ourselves, from suffering, and yet we know that our practice will always be incomplete. These two aspects of our practice fuel each other and support our shikantaza.
Dogen Zenji recommended that a person working to benefit Buddha's family, or sangha, should maintain three mental attitudes: Magnanimous Mind (daishin 大心), Nurturing Mind (roushin 老心 ), and Joyful Mind (kishin 喜心).
Magnanimous Mind is like an ocean or a mountain: calm and steady, yet accepting and nourishing countless beings and situations without differentiation. The ocean is serene because it accepts the many rivers without resisting.
Nurturing Mind, literally "old mind," is akin to the attitude of a kindly grandmother or parent who delights in caring for others. It is the spirit of the bodhisattva, the fully mature person.
Joyful Mind is the joy that comes from deep in our hearts even in the midst of difficulty. It arises from the insight of zazen, that we live together with all beings and are not separate.
Together, the three minds form the basis of a Buddhist community. When grounded in zazen, these three mental attitudes allow us to live and work in harmony with others at all times.