teisho 738 (2000)
It is not enough that we have a good practice on the mat. We need to be able to bring our practice into everyday life. We need to stay present in activity. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, whether you are working in the garden, washing dishes, adding up columns of figures, sewing, one must pay full attention to what is being done. Maintain an attitude that expounds the dharma through the most trivial activity.
There is a deep, natural, creative power. This is what you are fundamentally. Talking, walking, eating, all are governed by this creative power. By being attentive and open to what is happening at the moment, one sweeps away obstructions to the natural operation of this power.
How can we find our way home? This is the question that everyone doing zazen is asking. It is not often asked in those words, but rather in a feeling of anguish, incompleteness, dissatisfaction. Our whole life really is asking this question.
The questioning is inarticulate; it is the expression of the fullness that we are, imprisoned in the limitations of the mind. When we give this a verbal expression, such as ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What is Mu?’, it gives it a focus, a direction.
We need to allow the deeper questioning to come up at the same time as we ask, ‘who am I?’ Then the question loses its verbal clarity, but direction has now been given. One should not look for an answer, a response – you are the answer. The only fact that you can be sure of is that you are. Have faith in yourself, allow the truth ‘I am’ to ring out. Because I am, everything is possible. The world resides in the openness of I am.