Working on Mu: teisho 944-2004

The problem is we feel things are absolute. We believe that there is a world and that we live in this world. It is as though there is water and it freezes and now you have chunks that you can break up into bits. In a way, you could say things are frozen knowing. When we are practicing with Mu, the thing is to melt down this frozen world. As long as it is frozen it gives us a sense of there being absolute right and wrong, yes and no.

When one sees into Mu one sees things are like reflections in a mirror. There isn’t a mirror that one sees that one calls Mu, it is simply seeing everything as a reflection, things lose their selfhood. Mu is not something, it is not a state, it is not an underlying condition. There is no substratum. We have the conviction of things because we have a fixed idea of ourselves. We have a fixed viewpoint and this is what we are questioning when we ask ‘Who am I?’ A world of things comes with this sense of separation, this illusion of separation. It is not the things that are illusory, it is the belief in separation, that I am here and the world is there. This is what you are working with if you are working on Mu or Who. One is working on seeing into the illusory nature of separation. But how can you see into an illusion? How can you see what is not really there?

How can we take hold of the possibility that there is just one world.? This is the question we need to ask.

The thereness of the world makes death terrible. The thereness of the world compared to the no thereness of death. When one sees the illusion of the thereness of the world, that cliff edge, that line that one crosses from life to death, loses its sharp edge. By seeing into this we can see more clearly what we mean by ‘no thingness.’ It shows up in sharper outline the illusory nature of a defined entity called ‘me’.

What is silence? Is there an isness to silence, does it have its own being? If it doesn’t how do sounds that come out of it have any being of their own? Silence stands to sounds as what you know and that you know stand to each other. What you know comes out of knowing and returns to knowing. What sort of being does knowing have? It is not something, but it is not nothing. When you say I know, what is this knowing? You cannot hold it at arms length and examine it, you cannot separate the knowing from knowing in order to know it. It isn’t an absence. When you know I am, upstream of all saying, what is it that is being known? This is not an idle question. It cannot be given a verbal answer because it refers to that which is upstream of verbalization. It is like silence. We ignore the knowing, we are taken up with experience, sensations, emotions, thoughts – they all have their being in knowing. All of them are knowing made manifest. So what is this knowing? ( The ‘is’ is unfortunate – seize the spirit of the question.)

Throughout the whole day, thoughts and feelings are coming out of knowing. We say that this is my life, this is my experience, or this is the world. We say the room is real. But what is real, is it the room or is it knowing the room? Can we make a distinction? Where does the room end and your seeing it begin? Knowing has no past or future. It is what is known that has a past and future. One must be taken up in the wonder of it, letting go of prejudgment, letting go of taking it for granted, unfreezing, allowing what is to be, rather than how we think it ought to be. So what are you, what is the world, what is Mu?

We cannot discover reality, we cannot discover truth, we cannot discover meaning, but we can see into what is not the case, what is not so: see into the notion that thoughts are absolute, see into the claim that I am something, separate, apart, distinct, unique. By seeing into the falseness, the truth shines out by itself.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No separate entities

We have Yasutani Roshi saying, “the fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.” And Nisargadatta saying: “we think we are an individual, a person, when we are not an individual, we are intrinsically always and only the Absolute.”

The Absolute, the One, Buddha nature, Knowing, Emptiness, Mind – so many different words used in an effort to express the ineffable; to point us in a direction we have never thought of going; you might say, pointing us south when all our lives we have been going north. Turning everything on its head really; no wonder there is anxiety when we start to get a glimmering of what is being said when we allow what is being said to penetrate.

teisho 1155 /2008

It is the direction in which you are looking that is important. Zen is not a collection of techniques to fix things or change things; it is this feeling of control that is the great illusion we have. This does not mean we do not make a contribution, but the major contribution we make is interference.

When we talk about practice we are not suggesting there is something you can apply and thus get beneficial results; it is more pointing in a direction in which to look. By looking we mean turning your whole orientation in that direction. Nisargadatta challenges the orientation we have, the way we look at things, feeling we are a body or a person or a mind, – it is the notion of a separate entity which is at issue here.

With the idea of a distinct entity comes the notion of this entity being in the world, part of the world. The world is regarded as a big box with everything in it, including ourselves. When it is said that the trees and fields are my face, people think there is an entity that has a face, and wonder how fields and trees can be that face.

It is the same with practice: we start with this entity, and feel we have to find out what this entity is, what it consists of, its form, its shape and colour.

When we ask ‘Who am I?’ we cannot start by taking it for granted that we know what the question means. If we think the question is addressing that separate entity, that distinct individual that we feel ourselves to be, and struggle to make sense of the question within that context, then we are bound to be frustrated.

With this question, one is going in a very definite but unknown direction. This means we must question everything, even what seems so obvious. It seems so obvious that I am here and you are there, and yet this is provisional only, ‘as if’ I am here and ‘as if’ you are there. All the words we use should be qualified by ‘as if’ – ‘as if’ I am a man, a woman, ‘as if’ I am a human being, ‘as if’ I am a mind, – otherwise words have the capacity to fix things as real and separate.

When we see that there is a sense of self-will and that which is beyond self will, we can begin to loosen the hold that this idea of a separate self has. When you follow the breath, you are releasing the grip that this sense of self has. But you must be following the breath, not controlling it. Controlling the breath simply reinforces the sense of being a separate individual.

It also applies to working on ‘who am I?’ You are.

From the beginning all beings are Buddha. This is dynamic unity, the wholeness out of which the sense of self comes. It is beyond the conscious mind to conceive of the truth. It can only conceive of shadows, it cannot conceive of light.

Although when you are working with the question ‘Who am I?’ you are working with the unknown, the unknowable, you are not working with the nonexistent. ‘I am’ has its own evidence of being, which is reality. Nothing else has its own evidence of being.

I am is self affirming, self realizing.

Posted in Teisho | Leave a comment

Prajna Paramita Hridaya teisho 1163 year 2009

The Prajna Paramita school was the reawakening of the original teaching of Buddha. When Buddha left home he worked with all the Samadhi traditions and reached a level where he was invited to teach. But he said this was not the way to end the suffering of the world. Buddha opened the world to the truth of awakening. This doesn’t mean to say that before Buddha there was no awakening, but he brought it to the fore, showed its importance. There are many different kinds of spiritual experience. Even awakening itself, as shown by Hakuin’s four ways of knowing, is not homogenous. So it was easy for the one that Buddha highlighted to be lost.

Awakening brings about a different way of seeing the world. It is a fundamental shift. Awakening was the essential element contained in the Prajna Paramita school. But this was again lost. It was resurrected by Bodhidharma and then lost again, until Hui Neng. Again it was lost, until Dogen and then Hakuin revived it. It is much easier to enter into a condition of Samadhi, one can even get a low-level Samadhi jogging. As a consequence, the teaching can be easily polluted.

The Prajna Paramita Hridaya is drawing attention to prajna. Pra means to arouse, jna is knowing, knowing without content. The awakened mind. The Prajna Paramita opens us to the source of life, intelligence, spirituality, and love. But this sutra is also the sutra of death. When one is working on ‘Who am I?’ one is working with the question ‘what is death?’ If one works genuinely with ‘Who am I?’ inevitably a fear of death will arise. Alternatively, when a person has had a loved one die, or themselves have had a serious illness or accident, the question ‘Who am I?’ comes very much to the fore.

In Japanese the question Who am I?’ is framed as ‘what is my face before my parents were born?’ What am I essentially? What is one’s essential aspect? To really ask this question one has to realize that one is going into the domain where all is eradicated, all is wiped out. To dwell in that requires a great deal of courage. ‘What is my face before my parents were born?’ is the same as ‘What is my face after death?’ Everything is wiped clean. So we have the same condition before birth and after death. My face before my parents were born is right now, my face after death is right now. And now is always now. There is no passage, no transition, no change. Now is now. Not that now is static, on the contrary, it is dynamic.

Prajna is aroused mind without content, pure knowing. This is sometimes called Bodhi, the light that shines by itself. Paramita has to do with crossing the ocean of birth and death; crossing to the other shore. But to cross to the other shore is not to go from here to there, but to go from there to here. In other words, one is not going away, not going outside, it is coming home to that which is closest, most intimate.

The sutra starts off referring to the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Bodhi is knowing and sattva is being. There is no entity, Bodhisattva is not a person, an ego or a self. It is the essence of compassion. If it is true that from the beginning all beings are Buddha, it is also true that from the beginning all beings are the Bodhisattva of Compassion. It is what you are essentially.

The sutra is talking about prajna, why does it not rather refer to the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjusri? This is very important. We are practicing to awaken to our wisdom, and yet what must underlie that is compassion. We should do this work from compassion, not from self-interest. All beings without number I vow to liberate – this is the Bodhisattva of Compassion speaking. To be open to the fact of others is an essential aspect of practice. It makes it possible for us to work on the poison of separation. By opening ourselves in this way we see the emptiness of all five skandas and sunder the bonds of suffering.

The Sanskrit word for suffering is dukha, twoness. So to sunder the bonds of suffering is to sunder the bonds of dualism, separation. From the very beginning of this sutra, the nature of practice is summed up in a nutshell: arouse the mind without resting it on anything, against a background of compassion. When the mind is thus aroused, it sees into the emptiness of the five skandas.

One could say that the Prajna Paramita Hridaya is an elaboration of the cryptic statement: ‘All beings are Buddha.’ Or that it is an answer to the question, ‘what is your face before your parents were born?’ Or that it is about death. Or that it is about how to work on yourself. All of these are addressed with the same words.

Posted in Teisho | 2 Comments

Ambiguity: teishos 630/1998 1370/2015

Even if blows fall from the stick like raindrops, with all the encouragement talks, all the dokusans, you are still far from the truth of Buddhism. Hyakujo said, “throughout the whole of China, there is not a single teacher of Buddhism.”

We search for the absolute. We want the One, the Whole, the Holy. But the opposite of the absolute, the One, the Holy, is not the devil, it is the ambiguous. And the ambiguous, when we have to act on it, forces us into the dilemma. We have to choose because we want the One, but the problem is not choosing between good and bad. The problem is choosing between the good and the good, it is this that tears us apart. It is like a child who has to choose between security and freedom. If he chooses security, he must pay for that with his freedom. If he chooses freedom he must pay for that with his security. This is the type of choice we have to make all the time in life. We deal with this by saying, once we have made our choice, that the other option is bad.

This is the tragedy, we have to choose because we want the One. How can we live in ambiguity and at the same time be whole, be One? This is the challenge: it is not to attain to the One. This is why Joshu said, “the great Way is not difficult, simply avoid choice and attachment.” But even with a single word, there may be choice and attachment. Resolving ambiguity by choosing one side absolutely is attachment, that is choice. How do you live a life within ambiguity without turning your back on the One?

In the ten Ox-herding pictures, picture number 8 is a circle, this represents clarity, Oneness. But there are two more pictures, the last one, number ten, being a picture of a man with a bottle of wine in the marketplace. A man who has no sign of clarity, no mark of Buddha. How do you live in this world of choices without being attached and rejecting?

People want to retire, withdraw from the world of ambiguity. They dream of monasteries, convents, mountain tops. They dream of a quiet harbour, they dream of death. Ambiguity is suffering and uncertainty, it is having no absolute, nothing to hold on to; it is living according to the moment, but it is living according to harmony and wholeness. How do you do this? How do you live without rules or principles? Rules and principles are sentries with which we barricade ourselves into the good.

The great way is not difficult for those who do not pick and choose. When you ask “Who am I?” are you picking and choosing? Are you looking for this rather than that? Have you made up your mind in advance what it is you are seeking? You think you are seeking clarity, and that is the problem. It is only in confusion that you will find yourself. It is only when you let go of the search for the One that the One can manifest. But to let go of the search for the One is to let yourself go into confusion and uncertainty.

The great Way is not difficult until you try to find it here rather than there, up rather than down, in rather than out. The great way is not difficult until you pick and choose. But how are you going to go forward without picking and choosing?

In One there is diversity, in two there is no duality. How can we understand this? One moon shines in every pool: in one there is diversity. You are not part of the One, you are the One. From the beginning all beings are Buddha. It is not that all beings are part of Buddha or the children of Buddha: you are the whole, the One. In One there is diversity, in two there is no duality. How can we see beyond one and two? How can we see that in Oneness there is diversity, but it is still One? How can we see that in two there is no duality, but it is still two? How can there be a world of One and there still be me and you?

When you have not penetrated the great Way it is like a silver mountain and iron fist. When you have penetrated you find you are the silver mountain and the iron fist. When you have not penetrated the great Way, it is impossible. It is like a mosquito trying to penetrate an iron plate with its proboscis. It is this impossibility which is the hallmark of true practice. If you simply stay with what it possible you simply stay with what is remembered. It is always based on the past, and nothing new can come through. It is going beyond the possible and impossible. It is impossible because you are using the wrong kind of mind to penetrate this barrier. Once you move from the discriminating, conceptual mind with which you are trying to solve a problem that is unsolvable in that way, then you are the silver mountain. Before you come to awakening you feel a blockage, but once you come to awakening you are the blockage, you are everything, everything is your experience.

Everything is what it should be, and this itself is worthwhile pondering on. We are always thinking it could, should or might be different and it is this belief that prevents us from entering wholeheartedly into any situation. As long as you feel “well, I will do this for the time being, but I am sure there is another way of practicing that is probably better”, – all of these doubts that accompany your practice keep you from being totally involved. When you are involved the sense of self looses a lot of its power. The sense of self and the situation become more or less one, there is a kind of unity, and in that condition it is possible for something else to transpire.

You are already awakened. You are not going to add anything or take anything away, so it doesn’t matter from the point of view of the great Way whether or not you come to awakening. The pain of life as it is being lived provides the motivation to work to come to awakening.

Why is talking about it a waste of time? Why are explanations and descriptions of how it is not accepted? Why does one have instead to give a demonstration? What can a demonstration give that words cannot? The words, the discriminating mind, is the fundamental problem in Zen and the fundamental problem in life. The reason being because we are substituting a verbal world for the real world. We live ‘as if’; we do not live as the situation is, but ‘as if’ the situation is.

The full moon in the sky, where does it’s light originate? The full moon is a metaphor for the awakened self. Where does it get its light from? It is a light that shines by itself. You do not need anything outside yourself either to know or to be. You are not the effect of any cause. Your body, your personality of course are, but that which you are has no cause, no origin outside.

When you are sitting in zazen you get to the point where your legs ache and you try to find a more comfortable position. And it is impossible, every position has its own difficulties. And this is typical of life itself. Life is both comfortable and uncomfortable, good and bad. This is why in Zen it is said there is no good and bad – what this means is that there is no absolute good, no absolute bad. There is always a wish to find something absolute.

If we do not make preferences what kind of life are we going to live? Naturally for some time it will be a life which is confusing, we will constantly have to slip away from attitudes of mind that lead us to be dogmatic, certain and sure of ourselves – states of mind that most people feel are highly desirable. If we let go of being sure of ourselves, there is a feeling of weakness, of being unable to stand up to things. But this is only a feeling, it is not the truth, it is simply the other side of the feeling of being in control, in command, which is also just a feeling.

Let me repeat, it is just a feeling, it is not how it is. How it is is that you are fundamentally Buddha – that is the only reality, all the rest is dreams and delusions. You are already awakened. All the feelings do not matter, they are simply dreams and delusions. If you can let go of the need to choose, then the truth will shine through.

Posted in Teisho | 3 Comments

An inclusive, dynamic, living One.


teishos 1090 & 1088 – year 2007

Buddha said, “When I came to awakening, the whole world came to awakening.” It is this awakening that is fundamental, it is not the pacifying of the personality. This awakening is prajna, it is what the Prajna Paramita is all about. Manjusri on the alter during sesshin is the bodhisattva of prajna.

When we had the Manjusri on the alter made, we gave certain specifications: one of them was that the sword must be in action, not just held upright; and we asked that the lion be active, the paw upraised. They did a marvelous job of portraying the dynamism and action of prajna.

‘jna’ means primordial knowing. Knowing beyond content. It is the light of the world. It is that primary condition out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.

Why we have to practice so hard and so long is because this primordial knowing, this knowing without content, is ignored. We have turned our backs on this which is the fundamental treasure. Our practice is to turn around, to go beyond, paramita.

In the Prajna Paramita sutra it says ‘emptiness is no other than form, form is no other than emptiness.’ This is the heart of the sutra. The rest of the sutra is an expansion of these two phrases.

At the end of the sutra we have the mantra:
gone, gone,
gone beyond,
gone right beyond,

This is a dynamic expression of paramita.

Then is says ‘bodhi’. Bodhi is the light, the light that shines by itself, it is pure knowing. This knowing is right now, and it is essential to see this. It is right now.

You go into a room and you see the room – in that is the problem. The seeing is already the room. The room is empty of the room, there is no room. There is the seeing. This is paramita, the turn about. It is equally true to say there is no seeing, the room is already the seeing. We insist on the room, we insist on the seeing. But beyond the room and the seeing, what is there?

When you ask ‘who am I?’ you go at it with the same attitude: that you see the room, or you hear the bird, or you feel the cushion. There is no room, there is no bird, there is no cushion. Buddha said that there is no world, that is why we call it a world. When you are working with ‘what is Mu?’ that already is Mu. It is not that if you work on Mu, one day you will discover Mu. Asking ‘Who am I?’ will not eventually lead you to some kind of response. You are always looking for something. There is no Mu; Mu is empty of Mu; that is why it is called Mu. As long as you feel there can be a result and that it is the result that matters, you have set up an impassable barrier.

Praja is already paramita. As you are you are already awakened. True nature is awakened.

The first of the four vows: “all beings without number, I vow to liberate”, lets us out of the prison of ‘I’ into the freedom of One Mind. This vow is a vital part of our practice. It is not a vow to become a person who does ‘good deeds’ for others. On the contrary, it is recognizing that there are no ‘others.’

We are so used to seeing ourselves as an atom in a vast world, a vast universe. We have the feeling we are just an accident, something that might never have been. And yet we are that knowing/being, that light, which not only contains everything but which is everything. What is this light? It is the light beyond all shadows. It is not something you can see. What is your light? There was no time when the light was switched on and there will be no time when the light will be switched off. It is far removed from what you see and know.

We chant ‘all beings are Buddha.’ We do not chant ‘all beings are Buddhas.’ There is only One; not a numerical one, but an inclusive, dynamic, living One. Each of us is that light, that One. You can only see the truth of this when you shed the skin of personality. Let go of all the ways by which we identify ourselves, how we determine what we are, how good we are, how important we are – see beyond all that. These are the chains that bind us.

We are identified with the clash and clang of existence, but we can step outside this. It is not necessary to undo the mess of existence, – with the question ‘what am I?’ we can stop all this activity and come home. To begin to understand you must cut off what you know and what you see. As long as we are identified with what we know and what we see, as we invariably are, the subtle essence will always escape us. Our life is set up as a kind of competition, we are either winning or loosing, we are making the grade or not making the grade. Forget gain and loss. Ummon said, “let that go; life is not a competition. It is not a course to be run, it is not something we can win, loose or fail in. Life is, and that is all.”

What is reality? First there is knowing/being. First there is you. I am is the beginning of it all. Not the words I am, not even the thought, but beyond that, what is there? Fundamental emptiness. Emptiness is real. The terrible scourge of our life is that we take for granted that which cries out for close attention.

The truth is so vast, it is so magnificent that we shy away from it. It is like trying to look at the sun, we are blinded. Everything is contained in It, and this means there is one world, one world of light. Knowing and being are essentially one: knowing is being and being is knowing; but this ‘is’ is not the is of identity but the is of non severability. When it is said that emptiness is form, it does not mean that emptiness is identical to form, but that you cannot separate one from the other. Knowing/being contains it all, and does not only contain it, but is it all.

 

Posted in Teisho | 3 Comments

Early days, late days.

I want to write for those of you who are getting older, much to your consternation. Aches here, aches there, unable to sit in the half lotus on the tan. After all, that is what Zen is all about, isn’t it? No.

I remember in the early days, when I was just beginning to question. I could not sit still for long enough to read a couple of chapters of a book that seemed to have something to say. And then we came across the book called Hara. It said to put the attention in the lower abdomen, the hara. I did this, and was able to sit and read the book. It was one of the amazing moments of my life. To just be able to sit there and take in what was being said, without fidgeting and feeling the need to move.

And this is what the zazen posture is about. Allowing one to sit and question deeply. But it is the questioning that is the important part, the posture simply allows this. And when you have done years of zazen, as many of you have, the fidgeting and need for movement drops away. So when your back aches, your knees won’t bend and it is impossible to stay sitting on the tan, there is no need to panic. Can you still question? That is what is important. Gurdjieff reckoned that it was only being aware of the nearness and inevitability of death that could help mankind do the necessary work, and certainly, old age brings death into focus, the death of near ones and one’s own death.

What was your face before your parents were born? One of our first efforts at finding a way to work was with hypnotism. I was quite convinced I could not be hypnotized, but one evening, in the small group we were working with, I found myself up on the ceiling; I had been told to relax and let go of everything! When I say ‘I’ was up on the ceiling, it was not what I usually refer to as ’I’. There were none of the usual body parts, I was like a bean, but nevertheless my ‘back’ was pressed against the ceiling and my ‘face’ was looking down into the room. What was my face at that moment? Just that sense of being. And that I was desperate to get down off the ceiling! Fortunately, the doctor who was carrying out these experiments showed no surprise or unease, just suggested I came down, and as I was under hypnosis, down I came.

What was your face before your parents were born? You did not have the face you look upon as yourself, did not have the name you are so identified with. One does not need to sit on the tan to do this. What was before I am? It is what has been ‘with you’ all your life, before you could talk, walk, before you identified with a name – an awareness before the awareness that is expressed as I am, an awareness before I am and I am not. An awareness that is not caught up in language and classical logic, in what we look on as reality. An awareness that cannot really be expressed by the word ‘awareness’.

People are concerned that now that Albert has gone, there is no teacher. Nisargadata came to awakening after the death of his teacher, his awakening was confirmed in a dream. Albert used his words just as much as he used koans as a basis for teishos. If it is a question of needing the teaching, it is all there in his books, blogs and teishos. Perhaps his no longer being here is what is needed to drive us to do the work that is needed. As he says in one of his blogs, he cannot do the work for us. Although he tried hard enough!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Teisho | 4 Comments

The worth of being (teisho 912-2004)

I have just been reading that first posting I did, January 2016. And all the laughter bubbled up again. Ask a question without worrying about an answer? Do we ever ask a question without trying to get an answer? I had certainly spent all my time trying to get answers. Just stay with the question? How can you stay with a question if you have the answer to it? And he said it casually, with a straight face, as if it was possible to do. The only response was laughter, laughter and more laughter. The laughter of release.

That posting may have left you with the impression that we sat of an evening with Albert giving me a sort of informal dokusan. But it was a rare occasion. Normally we just sat together, him with a glass of port and me with a glass of sherry, if it wasn’t a dokusan evening. A little light music, and just enjoying each other’s company. It was an unusual evening when he said that to me. And just in time. Shortly after he went into the hospital and did not come home again.

But in those few moments, he left me with the essence of it all. What is your face before your parents were born? For the first time, I asked a question and stayed with the question, not rushing on to look for an answer. This is the essence of our practice: staying with the question. After all, we are the answer, we do not have to look for it.

****************

                                               teisho 912 2004

Much of the Zen tradition is attributed to Hui Neng. The spirit that he embodied was remarkable, a spirit that flared up over a period of about 300 years, it was called the golden age of Zen.

Hui Neng’s “From the beginning, not a thing is” is the ultimate challenge. It is such a radical statement that we shudder away from it.

He had his original awakening when he heard a monk reciting: “arouse the mind without resting it on anything.” Before this, he had had no Zen training. The 5th Patriarch made him the 6th Patriarch, but told him not to start teaching for another fifteen years – this was to give his awakening time to maturate as he had done no work previously. Most people do this work, as you are doing, previous to awakening. After this maturing process, Hui Neng came back to the monastery and started teaching. He himself did not hand on the robe and bowl.

Hui Neng said, “Nowhere is there anything true.” One does not look into the world for truth. “Do not try to see the truth in any way.” Hunting after the true word, the secret word, the last word is pointless. Everyone has the truth. He says “If you try to see the truth, your seeing will in no way be true.” There is nowhere to go, there is nothing to get – the recognition of this is the beginning of practice.

One sees the pain, the arrogance, the shame – all that goes on in the mind – and one allows it to be. One does not judge it or disturb it, one does not try to change it or get rid of it. One sees that this too is life, this too is it. By being one with whatever is, one separates from it, one discerns one is not it. Whatever it is, loses its acrid poison.

“Distinguishing well the forms of the various dharmas” – in other words, being well established in the world, in everyday mind – “remain firm within the first principle.” It is possible to remain firm because one is the first principle. But if we vacillate, there is no possibility for us to establish any kind of reality for ourselves. We must recognize our own worth before we can find anything of value. Yasutani used to say that the only sin in Buddhism is to hate oneself. Forgive yourself, and then be yourself. Become aware of the worth of being, this is the function of true reality.

“Don’t cling to the belief in birth and death.” In other words, do not cling to the conviction I am something, something that was born, something that will die. “Don’t think this is good, this is bad. Now, where is the original self?”

You describe it in vein;
You picture it to no avail.
Praising it is useless;
Stop trying to grasp it.
There is nowhere to hide your true self;
When the universe is destroyed
It is not destroyed.

What is your face before your parents were born?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Teisho | Leave a comment