teisho 906 (2004)
Whatever is said about the way to practice is always pointing to or leading to the simplicity that you are. When you ask Who am I? it cuts away all the complications, all the weeds. But you have to let go of everything, and it is this letting go that is the difficulty. We think that our disturbing, our attempts to organize, to understand, to structure, are what the practice is about. We feel we have to do something. You are urged to be present, but if you feel to be present requires doing something, you misunderstand. When we say ‘be present’ we are saying ‘be now’. Time is not a stream, there is no passage of time. A stream requires a succession, something that moves, changes; but there is no thing that comes and goes.
If you are now, there is no opposition; there ceases to be the sense of me and the world. When there is no conflict, this is love. Love is to be one with, to be at home with, to be silent with. When you ask ‘Who or what am I?’ it must include ‘who or what is the other?’ To say there is no separation does not mean everything is reduced to identity, it does not mean all the colours of the world become a monochrome grey. It is not this kind of oneness. It is rather the oneness of a diamond with an infinite number of facets.
Truth includes all, accepts all, purifies all. The shame and remorse we feel come from our need to be whole. Just sitting purifies. But to just sit means one allows shame and remorse. guilt and dissatisfaction, a sense of failure, to wash over one; one accepts all, allows all. You are truth, and purification is seeing that, it is coming home to that.
Of course, whatever is said is misleading, even to say you are truth, or that one must see into this, is misleading. All ideas, words, are misleading. How to move out of the idea “I am” or “the world is” – this is the leap one must make. It seems like a leap into death, into annihilation. But no, it is a leap into love, into truth. It is seeing that the ‘idea of being’ is not ‘being’. That the ‘idea of knowing’ is not ‘knowing.’
To know what it means to be, one has to leap out of the idea of being. In the Diamond Sutra Buddha says, ‘the world is not a world, that is why it is called a world.’ One could say ‘a cushion is not a cushion, that is why it is called a cushion.’ Nevertheless, there is the question. Don’t give me words, don’t give me silence, what is it? What are you? How can you stay at that crumbling edge and not try to retreat into some kind of explanation, some kind of understanding? This is what is required when a question is asked in the dokusan room.
Ignorance is the belief that if you are not something you are nothing.