Shohaku Okumura

‘When thoughts, judgments, or evaluations arise in zazen and we engage with them, there is separation between subject and object. When we let go of thought, subject and object are one; there is no one to evaluate and nothing to receive evaluation. At that time only manifesting reality exists, and manifesting reality includes our delusions. When we sit in the upright posture, keeping the eyes open, breathing through the nose, and letting go of thoughts, reality manifests itself. This is genjokoan (actualization of reality).
In our daily lives, however, we cannot simply keep letting go of thought in this way. In order to live we must make choices using our incomplete conceptual maps of the world, and to make choices we must distinguish positive from negative. Yet the practice of zazen can help us understand that our pictures of the world our incomplete, and this understanding allows us to be flexible. Being flexible means that we can listen to others’ opinions knowing that their biases are simply different from ours, according to the circumstances and conditions of their individual lives. When we practice in this way our view broadens and we become better at working in harmony with others. By continually studying the nature of reality, of the Dharma in its universal sense, and by awakening to our biases, we keep working to correct our distorted views. This is how letting go of thought in zazen informs practice in our daily lives.’ (Realizing Genjokoan)

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