Wednesday, 22 June 2016


40. In the words of Master Dogen, 'to study the Buddha Way is to study the self'. Though such study may begin with a focus on one's own small, empirical, wounded self, this focus must quickly shift. For, again in the words of Dogen, 'to study the self is to forget the self'. With self forgotten, the Zen practitioner becomes open to, is enlightened by, 'the ten thousand things'. And so it happens that bird song, flowers, trees, mountains, advance and fill the emptiness of an unselfconscious zazen practice. In the emptiness that reveals itself as fullness, the practitioner comes in touch with the True Self - the Original, Absolute, Non-dual Self. Now his or her world is no longer centred on the small, finite, separate human self. Reality is discovered in the suchness of things, in things being just as they are, in their interdependent co-arising. In this way the barrier between self and other is removed. With the small self forgotten and the True Self awakened to in this flower, that tree, those mountains, the practitioner can return to the marketplace free of the smell of Zen, all trace of awakening wiped away. Here he or she can say with Zen Master AMA Samy: 'There is no more dualism ... of sacred and secular, holy and profane, marketplace and temple, the unenlightened and the enlightened, Samsara is nirvana, nirvana is samsara'.

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