Teisho 1099 (2007)
When one comes home to oneself there is at the same time a profound awareness. It is not an awareness of being, it is awareness as being. Awareness and being are not the same, but they are not two. It is when we separate them, become aware of the world, of things, that the problems start. Our true nature is One, whole, complete. There is that undivided, unseparated, undifferentiated condition which is pure love, pure harmony, pure peace. We yearn for this, but the problem is that we invest this yearning in situations, in experience. We want to experience happiness, harmony, love, peace.
Nisargadatta said: ‘Acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance opens deep and perennial sources of happiness. Pleasure is readily accepted, while all the powers of the self reject pain. The acceptance of pain is the denial of the self that stands in the way of true happiness. If one gives oneself entirely to physical pain, a level of concentration can be developed which is able to perform miracles.’ When we sit in zazen, inevitably our legs are going to ache. The injunction is not to move under any circumstances. Some Zen Centres do not have this injunction; people can move whenever they like, in fact, they can join or leave a period of zazen as they wish. It is felt this gives control of what is going on into a person’s own hands. But what they are giving the control to is the person’s ego, and it is that very need for comfort, security and certainty, that needs to be transcended. The rule of not moving during zazen makes it possible to transcend this habit pattern by staying with the pain. In other words, to transcend this self-centered centre.
In life pain comes to us: the joints wear out, or one slips on the ice or gets an infection. Our choice is not whether or not we are going to suffer, have pain or not; our choice is whether we are going to face it intentionally or whether we are going to be a victim of it. When we sit and stay with the pain during a round of zazen, it enables us to have the same kind of open attitude when pain comes to us in life circumstances. It is not that we do not feel the pain, but that in not resisting it we do not feel the additional pain of ‘I hurt,’ ‘why me?’ ‘poor me.’ There is nothing you can do about the pain that life brings, but there is something you can do about the ‘I hurt’ pain. See into this I. This unique point around which your world revolves. We set up buffers to protect ourselves and the principal buffer is this I. When it is well established, secure and comfortable, then we feel life is going along well. But when something knocks it off-kilter, it can no longer perform its buffering activity. Instead, it simply adds to the pain. And it can be knocked off-kilter, simply by someone bumping into you and failing to apologize.
You are! This is the most wonderful of truths. And yet one is trying to be something special, something unique. One is whole, one is complete, but we try to grasp this in a form: a special doctor, a special accountant, a special teacher, a special woman, a special man….it’s endless and useless because the wholeness that we are cannot be put into a form. Trying to put it into a form is the cause of our suffering. One just needs to be open to what is. I am.