The verse on the Faith Mind in the chant booklet is rather long, but it is saying the same thing over and over in different ways: “don’t discriminate – awakening is going beyond is and is not.”
But how? We are given koans to work with, a question to ask. And immediately start looking for an answer. But it is the question that has the possibility of leading to the truth.
(teisho 983 – 2005)
What kind of question is it we are asking? We do not ask it to get information or knowledge.
But what other type of question can there be? A question means that one seeks an answer, and an answer surely adds something to one’s repertoire of knowledge.
The question “Who is it that asks the question… Who am I?” moves us right out of that realm. What can prompt that question if it is not knowledge that is being saught? What are you expecting of this question?
Everything, anything that you can know or experience, or feel, or sense, is not you. We have a constant experience of the body, day and night, it is always with us, but we are not the body. We provide the experiencing and the body is what is experienced. Or the world is what is experienced. A mirror is unaffected by any of its reflections, totally untouched, and in the same way, we are totally untouched by experience. No matter how terrible, how grueling, how anguished. Each one of us has passed through extremely difficult times in our lives, and yet, that too has passed. It is seeing we cannot be touched.
It is the constant discerning of what you are not that is called for. Anything that comes up is not you. It is seeing that intrinsically one is untouched by whatever comes up. It is not a question of purifying the mind, but of seeing that the mind is inherently pure. This untouched quality is what is meant by discerning. A thought comes up, there is knowing that thought, the thought goes away and it leaves no trace. A memory comes up, it stays for a while, it goes away, it leaves no trace.
Nisargadatta: “What you are you already are. If you can let the truth of that statement come home to you, nothing more needs to be done.” This is home. You are home now. What you are, you already are.
Nisargadatta: “By knowing what you are not, you are free of it and remain in your own natural state. It all happens spontaneously and effortlessly. The effort of practice comes out of the contradictory nature of the personality. It is nothing other than the personality wrestling with the personality. Eventually the personality exhausts itself, with the exhaustion comes melting, and with the melting ‘I am’ appears spontaneously, without effort.”
You discover that there is nothing to discover. True awakening is to see that there is nothing to discover. People think awakening is going to enhance one’s state, but it is not like that. True awakening is finally letting go of the expectation of some heightened state; the expectation of total release and peace from the conflicts of the personality. Waking up is to see that everything from the beginning is completely OK. It is and always has been and always will be OK. This is what is meant when we chant: “From the beginning all beings are Buddha.”
Thank you for this much needed pointer
In his booklet of commentaries on Zen Master Dogen’s Genjokoan, Albert writes : “There is no gap between practice and daily life. I do not struggle and sweat to come to awakening. I struggle to let go of the illusion that I am not awakened, the illusion that, to be fulfilled, I need something in experience.”
How deeply refreshing!
Coming back again :
The student said: “All experiences are empty ..?”
“Yes”, said the master
“Then all life is empty?” said the student
“Yes, all life is empty”, said the master
“And death..?”, said the student
“It is a dream”, said the master.