Katagiri Roshi

‘Our practice must be grounded, zazen must be grounded, our breathing and our concentration must be grounded, day by day. This is our zazen right now, right here. This is all we have to do. Just move the handle of the water pump, and then very naturally, water comes up. But in everyday life we easily become irritated, so if we move the handle of the water pump for five minutes and then we don’t see any effect, we become mad at the water pump. Finally we destroy the water pump. This is very common. More or less, we do things in that way. This is not an appropriate way of life. Our practice is water coming up from the bottom and filling our bottle. In order to do this, we have to gaze at eternity that has no end, no sense of mystery, and then we have to become one with our object completely. This practice is just doing zazen as a great being, as a buddha. This is faith, this is perfect happiness.’ (Returning to Silence)

It was a pleasure to take this book down off the shelf again. It was another book I struggled to absorb early in my practice, but now it feels like abundant treasure. I was nodding in recognition of the picture of us taking out our frustration on the pump, but then the paragraph lifts off into another dimension, so easily.

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