The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.
— From Fukan-Zazengi, by Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
Dogen Zenji was the 13th century founder of Soto Zen in Japan, and we trace our practice here back through Dogen. When he returned to Japan after practicing in China, he wrote the “Fukanzazengi.” This two-page text was Dogen’s main meditation manual, which he continued working on for about twenty-six years until near the end of his life. Dogen was a major figure in Japanese Zen who considered zazen or Zen meditation the most essential, fundamental and important practice of Buddhism.
— From Josho Pat Phelan (Soto Zen priest and abbess of the Chapel Hill Zen Center), in a lecture about Dogen’s “Fukan-Zazengi”