Monday, September 20, 2010

Exposing Yourself In Public

In yesterday's post i said that the life of a henro is simple: get up, walk, Be, go to bed. Not that it should surprise me in any way, but i noticed today that Dōgen explains how a henro should approach life on the henro trail a little better than i ever do. ;-)

In the Yuibutsu Yobutsu (Only A Buddha Can Transmit To A Buddha) chapter of his Shōbōgenzō, he says:

One should have no goal of enlightenment but train for training's sake alone. When we see a man we should just see a man, not a set of discriminative values. When we look at the moon and flowers, it is just the moon and flowers we should see, not some distorted picture created to conform to a preconceived idea.

Experience spring as spring and autumn as autumn. Accept both the beauty and loneliness of both. Even though change in the seasons and within nature itself is inevitable some do not accept this, and try, by all means available, to avoid it. The pure in mind, however, do not isolate these thoughts, but realize them also to be part of themselves. One may falsely believe that it is oneself that hears the birds sing in the spring and sees the leaves fall in autumn. This is not the case.

The state of no mind, or undefiled mind, can neither be self induced nor is it innate. This means that the four elements and five skhandas are neither part of ourselves nor others. Although it is commonly believed among ordinary people that the mind moved by the moon and flowers is the true mind, in actuality this is untrue and contrary to the Dharma. Determination to see all things as the really are, free of preconceived ideas, results in emergence of true practice.

(my underline)

That's it. When i say the job of a henro is to simply walk and Be, i'm not suggesting that a brain dead robot henro is the ideal. No, i'm saying what Dōgen said in that sentence i underlined above. And when done well, meaning intentionally, with a pure heart, and to the best of your ability, the result is true practice, a true pilgrimage, not just a walk around the island so that you can have a blog saying "been there, done that," like that goofball Dave who runs the shikokuhenrotrail website.

Don't avoid anything. Don't specifically search for anything. Just walk for walking's sake alone. Accept Life as it is and as it comes to you. Expose yourself to Life in all it's goodness and badness. Dare to be vulnerable to all experiences that come to you. Don't run towards them and don't run away from them.

The purpose of the walk is no more and no less than walking out of the shell of who you were and into the world of who you are. That only happens if you are willing to be exposed, and willing to accept the resulting experiences for what they truly are and not for what you think they are.

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