Shodo Harada

‘People often ask me if zazen can ever be of any practical use in these complex and turbulent times. By way of answering, let us consider the concept of aligning. The word align signifies the idea of situating everything in its proper position relative to everything else. First we align our body, then we align our breathing, then we align our mind. And once these things are accomplished, we find that we cannot be satisfied with aligning only our individual minds, but that we must finally align ourselves with the Mind of the larger Self that pervades all existence.’ (The Path to Bodhidharma)

I am giving the zazen instruction at Zen Center this morning. It would be tempting to quote this piece to the people who come, or yesterday’s piece, but I will probably stick to the first three parts of the alignment process. It is not that there are esoteric teachings, but I think you can only truly hear how succinctly these masters are explaining things when you have a real experience of it yourself. As I was quoting to a questioner last weekend, ‘you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach’ (from the Genjo Koan, naturally). My eye is open a little wider than it was fifteen years ago, but I know there is still more to take in.


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