The records of Zen, including Dogen's are filled with exhortations that urge us to realize the truth that our own true nature is Buddha nature. They say things like "If you try to find a Buddha outside of your own body and mind, where could you ever find Buddha?
Often they tell us that it is because of attachment to conceptual understanding that people find it impossible to believe they are identical to Buddha. For this reason they say, enlightened sages developed verbal and written teachings to lead people beyond the thornier barriers of conceptualization. Using rational theories to cut through rational theories, the great teachers cleared paths, opened gates, and guided people out of the darkest swamps of conceptualization so they would have faith enough to practice and realize their inherent Buddha nature.
Once faith is established, or the thought of enlightenment (bodhicitta) has been aroused we should not seek for anything outside our own body and mind. The classic teachings tell us that Buddha is not outside of our body and mind, our body and mind are not outside Buddha. Actualizing this is the practice and realization of Zen, which is Zazen. Dogen points out that Zazen is nonthinking. Letting go of biased ideas, notions, and views, we cease grasping for enlightenment and let go of our aversion to delusion. There is nothing to gain, nothing to lose; there is nothing lacking, nothing in excess. When nonthinking is actualized, divisions are seen through, all things are the unnamable void, the unnamable void is all things.
Furthermore they tell us that to realize the essential nature of one thing is to realize the essential nature of all things; for time-and-space (uji) is a vast and fathomless singularity, infinite and omnipresent. Our body and mind contain all things in time and space, all things in time and space contain our body and mind. Seeing things and hearing things is seeing and hearing our body and mind, which is identical to the unnamable void, which is called Buddha. Buddha is seeing things and hearing things, standing up and sitting down.
Does this mean that our own body and mind is Buddha? Are our hands are the hands of Buddha? Is our voice is the voice of Buddha? Is our consciousness is the consciousness of Buddha?
If so, we could say that when we meet our friend, we meet Buddha, our friend meets Buddha, and Buddha meets Buddha. We offer tea to Buddha, Buddha offers tea to us, tea offers us to Buddha, Buddha offers Buddha to us, Buddha offers Buddha to Buddha, Buddha Buddha’s Buddha.
Those Zen masters! They sure like to mess with people!
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Ted Biringer firstname.lastname@example.org
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