Shodo Harada

‘When the Buddha spoke from the top of Vulture Peak, he held out a single flower in front of everyone. This was not just any flower – it was the Buddha’s experience, the manifesting of the Buddha’s very essence. Even if it is true that humans are simply another type of animal, as some people so dismissively put it, we are not here to simply live out our lives eating and sleeping. If we simply live and die as the animals do, then our existence as human beings has no significance. To be truly human we must live in a humane and dignified way. We are not alive merely to accumulate things and fulfill our desires. Our life, our mind – how brightly can they shine and illuminate all the we encounter? Zen is the direct realization of the divine light as it exists right here within our bodies. To have the exquisite teachings of the sutras come forth from our very own bodies, expressed in our every word and every action – that is the point. Unless we experience this our Zen is not genuine. With our wonderful human mind and spirit we are not mere animals; we are called to live our lives in the best way possible…
If we view our zazen as something separate and independent from our actual, everyday lives, then it has no meaning whatsoever. In this real world, in our actual living bodies, we must discover to what degree we can refine and develop our creative and inventive potential, and to what extent we can shine forth with a great and brilliant light throughout our lives.’ (The Path to Bodhidharma)

Typing this out on  a showery Monday morning when everything seems quite mundane, I feel energised in the way that being reminded of the value of the teaching often makes me feel. Most of the quotes on this blog are telling us this, in one way or another, whether written a few years ago or many centuries ago; all the great teachers are pointing us to the same wondrous thing, to give our energy to the great matter. I find it inspiring, and I hope that you do too.

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