Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Actualizing Ordinariness

From the Hotsumujōshin (Developing The Supreme Mind) chapter of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō:

"The National Teacher Daishō said, 'Walls, tiles, and stones are the ancient Buddha mind.' We must study carefully where walls, tiles, and stones exist. You must question where and how such things are actualized. 'Ancient Buddha mind' is not Kūo Buddha, who existed aeons ago. Rather, it is just the ordinary everyday life of human beings. In such kind of life we sit and find Buddha. This is called the mind of resolve for enlightenment.

In general, the working of hotsubodaishin (the Buddha-seeking mind) is developed from hosshin (the initial awakening of the mind, the resolve for enlightenment); other than this, there is nothing. Awakening the mind of enlightenment is to make Buddha by holding up one blade of grass, or to make the sutras with a piece of wood.

That ordinary, everyday life of human beings. Putting gas in the car, preparing the kid's lunch, washing the dishes after a meal, dusting the shelves and washing the floor, paying the bills, disagreeing with your brother, picking up your dog's poop, mowing the lawn, commuting in rush hour traffic, sitting through a half-day meeting, reading a chapter before bed, ...

It's in that life, that completely ordinary life, where our practice of zazen is the most important and the most natural. That very life is zazen. But because it is difficult, we take some time out from that practice each day to sit on a cushion, where practice is easy, where everything is stacked in our favor. Then it's back to our practice.

The mind that resolves for enlightenment also actualizes walls, tiles, and stones. Actualizes all that exists; all that doesn't exist. That mind, my mind, your mind, our mind, mind, is that Buddha in that one blade of grass.

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