Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The condition of practice-and-enlightenment

“Buddha” describes a person in the activity or condition of practice-and-enlightenment, the deepest meaning of the term "zazen." The keystone of Zen practice is not “sitting meditation” (though that is where it is often first discovered), it is “mustering the whole body-and-mind” and perceiving the world directly.
Seeing and hearing (as well as smelling, tasting, feeling, and thinking) sights and sounds (smells, tastes, sensations, and thoughts) with the ‘whole body-and-mind’ means truly being intimate with them. When we are truly intimate with them, there is no sense of I see that or I hear that. Hence, Dogen tells us that in such a condition “buddhas do not know they are buddhas.” In Shobogenzo, Genjokoan, He says, “It is not like an image reflected in a mirror, and not like the reflection of the moon on water” -- there are not two things (e.g. moon and water).
When we are authentically engaged in practice-and-enlightenment we do not hear a bell, there is simply, booooonngg–boooooongg. The classic Zen koan about escaping heat and cold illustrates this point wonderfully:
A monk asked Tozan, “When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?”
Tozan said, “Why don’t you go to the place where there is no cold or heat?”
The monk said, “What is the place where there is no cold or heat?”
Tozan said, “When it’s cold, the cold kills you; when it’s hot, the heat kills you.”

Read 19 more posts tagged "Dogen" at the Flatbed Sutra Website

Ted Biringer