Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Totality of Everyday Life

"All of us, regardless of whether we realize it or not, are living out the self as the whole universe. Since this is such a crucial point, I'll repeat it here. Usually we make the idea of the small individual self the center of our world and become firmly convinced that this small individual is our whole self, but this is not our true self.

The reality of life goes beyond my idea of myself as a small individual. Fundamentally, our self is living out nondual life that pervades all living things. This self is universal existence, everything that exists. On the other hand, we usually lose sight of the reality of the life of universal self, clouding it over with thoughts originating from our small individual selves. When we let go of our thoughts, this reality of life becomes pure and clear. Living out this reality of life as it is—that is, waking up and practicing beyond thinking—is zazen. At this very point our basic attitude in practicing zazen becomes determined. The attitude of the practitioner in practicing zazen as a Mahayana Buddhist teaching never means to attempt to artificially create some new self by means of practice. Nor should it be aiming at decreasing delusion and finally eliminating it altogether. We practice zazen, neither aiming at having a special mystical experience nor trying to gain greater enlightenment. Zazen as true Mahayana teaching is always the whole self just truly being the whole self, life truly being life.


[O]ur zazen must always be the activity of just sitting, believing that life actualizes life through life, that buddha actualizes buddha through buddha, that self actualizes self through self. We don't gradually become enlightened and eventually attain buddhahood by means of zazen. This small individual I we talk of will always be deluded, but regardless of that zazen is buddha. We take the Buddha's posture with the body of this deluded being and throw ourselves into it. In the Shōdōka, it is expressed like this: 'With one leap we immediately enter buddhahood.' "

Opening the Hand of Thought
Kosho Uchiyama

(my underlines)

Reminds me of two parts of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō. In Ikkamyōju we find: "The entire universe is one bright pearl. What is there to interpret or understand?" Then in Kokyō we find this lovely exchange:

A monk asked Zen Master Kokutaiin Kōkō of Mount Kinka in Bushū: "When the Ancient Mirror is not polished, what is it like?"

The master answered: "The Ancient Mirror."

The monk continued: "What is it like after it is polished?"

The master answered: "The Ancient Mirror."

So we should understand that there is a time when it is polished, a time when it is not polished, and a time after it has been polished, and all are the Ancient Mirror. Accordingly, when it is polished, the totality of the Ancient Mirror is polished. It is not polished by the Ancient Mirror itself, by mercury, or any other material. The Ancient Mirror is polished by the actualization of itself. When it is not polished, the Ancient Mirror is not dark. It is simply functioning as the Ancient Mirror. Generally, polishing the Mirror is in itself the Mirror, polishing tile is in itself the Mirror, polishing a tile is in itself the tile, polishing the Mirror is in itself a tile. If we practice and polish without any conscious effort and continue to practice limitlessly, this will be our everyday life and deeds of the Buddhas and Patriarchs.

For sale: One Bright Pearl
Asking price: All that you've got
And all that you're not

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