Lily Pond Waterlily Koi
Roar of the Tigress, Vol. II: Zen for Spiritual Adults
[Lectures on Dogen's Shobogenzo] by Abbess Houn Jiyu-Kennett, Roshi
[from Zen Master Dogen's UJI]
 Since we human beings are continually arranging the bits and pieces of what we experience in order to fashion a 'whole universe,' we must take care to look upon this 'welter' of 'living beings' and 'physical objects' as 'sometime' things. Things do not go about hindering each other's existence any more than moments of time get in each other's way. As a consequence, the intention to train arises at the same time in different beings, and this same intention may also arise at different times. And the same applies to training and practice, as well as to realizing the Way. In a similar manner, we are continually arranging bits and pieces of what we experience in order to fashion them into what we call 'a self,' which we treat as ourself: this is the same as the principle of 'we ourselves are just for a time.'
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 [from Roshi Jiyu-Kennett's commentary]
 I sometimes like to think of the Unborn [Buddha-Nature] as being like the beautiful lakes and rivers with all the "crud" we throw into them. If we would only clean them up, we'd have this beautiful sparkling water again. That is what we have done with the True Nature: we have put so many theories and ideas and notions, and wants into the true, beautiful Nature that we cannot see It. All we know are the theories and ideas and wants. We call that collection of crud our "self," and it is from that place that we know "time" and "existence" [uji]. When we can give up all of this and just be still in the place of meditation, then we find the Real, which was pure from the very beginning. Be careful of grasping onto any of this with your thinking mind, for then "True Nature" becomes simply another "thing" to be attached to. In the famous words of the Sixth Zen Ancestor,
 "Originally there is not a single thing:
[so] where can dust alight?"

This, by the way is the reason why in Buddhism there is nothing like the Christian concept of original sin. Everyone is born with Buddha Nature: what you inherited by way of karma, what you were taught by parents and teachers, what you have grasped and held onto — that is what has to be cleaned up, that is "existence" and "time." But the flow is unborn, unbecome, unmade, uncompounded. Until we realize this we add convolution to convolution, and think that it will be better tomorrow! But we have to get rid of all this stuff, and know its unreality: we have to be still and find the flow. This is why when you sit in meditation, you do not try to think, and you do not try to not think: you just sit still, so that you may find the Unborn. And then, as I said, we tend to create a "True Nature," a "Buddha Nature," an "Unborn" "enlightenment," and the like: as things we want and try to get. All we really have to do is just sit down and be still! It is so much simpler than we make it out to be.

Do you know the lovely bit in the Bible which says, "Be still, and know that I am God"? I have often wondered why so few people seem to hear that! It's one of the most valuable pieces in the whole book. "Be still, and know that I am God" — that is so exquisite! Instead, we generally busy ourselves with generating "oneself"; we create and we do not sit sill long enough to find the Truth. It is terribly important to be still : do not keep generating more and more noise.
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
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