Shohaku Okumura

‘When the five senses encounter an object, desire arises to grasp or hate it. We think, “I want this,” “I don’t like this,” or “I don’t care.” These are all desires caused by an object contacted through the five sense organs. We are like kids. We see something good, something attractive, and we want it. We try to grasp it. When I go to the supermarket with my kids, they run to the toys and take whatever they want and just put it in the cart. When I try to take it back to the shelf, they scream. They are very honest.
We are not so honest. We pretend that we are not attached to things, but deep in our hearts we cling to what we encounter. We are still childish. We cling not to toys but to wealth, reputation, or to very subtle things in our minds. We want to get these things. Sawaki Roshi called this grasping our thief-nature. We also have buddha-nature. All human beings have both buddha-nature and thief-nature. Depending on our actions, we become a thief or a buddha. When we let go of thought and become free from the five desires, we are buddhas.’ (Living by Vow)

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