How strange! Everyone has
it! Everyone has it within himself/herself… that
capacity for understanding, that capacity
for awakening, and the capacity for loving.
And yet, they have let themselves sink in
the ocean of suffering…
Buddha’s profound discovery
was not just that all beings have the same wisdom
and compassion as the fully awakened one but that
we do not realize it.
That is, by compulsively splitting
the world into categories – us and them, real and
ideal – we alienate ourselves from the awakened
life. And because this splitting is so common,
we assume that it is self-evident reality rather
than questioning it.
Studying the self
Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Japanese Soto
school, wrote in the 13th century:
study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be awakened to the myriad things.
To be awakened to the myriad things is to free one’s body and mind and
those of others.
No trace of enlightenment remains, and this traceless enlightenment continues forever.
When Dogen Zenji writes about studying
the self, he does not mean intellectual study.
Dogen is telling us to learn the awakened Way
by personal practice.
an even better word would be practice.
To practice the Buddha Way is to practice
oneself, or just live life. This seemingly
repetitive process is nothing but one’s
own life. … the implication
of practice is doing over and over
and over and over. In a way that is
what we do in zazen. Of course, our
zazen is not just learning something
over and over; rather, as Dogen Zenji
says, it is realization itself.Taizan
And how do we do this? There is no
better way than zazen.
life! Your life! The Buddhadharma,
the One Body, is completely my life,
completely your life. Shakyamuni Buddha
himself found this out. That is why
he said: “How
wonderful! I and everyone in the universe
is enlightened.” Not
just I, but everyone. That is what
I means; I means everyone. But knowing
this is not enough. That is why the
words learn or study are not quite
sufficient. They do not convey this
sense of over and over and over. In
other words, minute after minute, how
do we live our life as the One Body,
or the One Body as our life? No more,
no less.Taizan Maezumi
intimate with something
by doing it over and
over and over. Taizan
wood and carry water.
chop wood and carry
What do you practice?
To be awakened to all things
forget the self is to be awakened
to all things.
some people translate this third line as “to
be enlightened by all things,” Dogen Zenji's
thought becomes more immediate when you practice
it until it becomes your own. Then you are "getting
it" from the inside.
To practice, Dogen
Zenji tells us, is to be awakened.
So is this why we do zazen, to become
This is the traceless enlightenment
Dogen Zenji refers to above.
other words, do not separate practice
and realization. We do not practice
for the sake of realization; realization
is already here. Each of us has some
realization, one person more, one person less.
When you do zazen day after day, time
after time, moment after moment, you are manifesting
yourself as that realization. Repeat what you know
by merging your life into what you know, or what
you have studied, and do this over and over and
over again. Taizan Maezumi