Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simple Satori

I have begun reading Nishijima-sensei's "To Meet the Real Dragon." I found one passage quite astounding, obvious (now that he has put it into words) and liberating. In the Q&A regarding Master Dogen (page 31), in part...

"...we must admit that people have made very strenuous efforts and endured extreme hardhips in their practice. This brings us to the second problem. Why have people made such extreme efforts? I think the reason is that they were looking for something which is not in this world. They wanted something which is not in this universe. The searched an practiced ever more diligently until, at last, they realized that they need not look for anything. This was, for them, the experience of so-called satori: the experience of life as it is. "

Think of Boddhidarma in this context, rumored to have sat in a cave, staring at a wall for nine years. This thesis of Nishijima says to me that he went through nine years of wrong, then finally experienced a moment of right. But it is important to note that he did not *have* to do the nine years previous. He thought sitting in a cave would get him somewhere. He was wrong. He wasted nine years. One day he just saw the world as it is. All that precursor cave-sitting asceticism was his delusion.

You and I don't have to sit in caves. We don't have to retreat to monestaries. The truth is right under our noses, right now. We have Buddha-nature "ready to go" the moment we free it. Sitting zazen helps us balance so in the middle state the bright light just jumps out. Helps the tumblers self-adjust until the lock is opened. Mixes the acetylene with the oxygen till the flame is bright and blue and cuts through our delusion.

There is nothing to do. No trials to endure. No puzzles to solve. No truth to find.

Now I've got to go see if I can make this happen. Maybe if I sit under a waterfall. (ooops - did I not read what I just wrote?!).

1 comment:

Uku said...

It's all about killing Buddha, it's all about continuous practice like Dogen Zenji pointed.

The importance of daily practice and giving a zen finger to all terms like satori and enlightenment. Practicing matters. And that is the enlightenment, Zazen is practicing the enlightenment, satori or what ever useless words we like to use. But those are not useless words if we are practicing continuously.

Like Nishijima Roshi wrote in the same book (p. 197):

So when we come back to our original state in zazen, it will stay with us for some time after the practice is over. It will cling to us or follow us naturally. Master Dogen compared it to the ringing of a bell. When we strike a bell, the sound continues for a long time. When we practice zazen every day, it is like striking a bell in a slow, steady rhythm. The vibrations of the first practice carry through to the next, and we can thus live continuously in the state of natural balance.

Great post, thank you, Lauren!

With palms together,