‘When you realize buddha dharma, you do not think, “This is realization just as I expected.” Even if you think so, realization inevitably differs from your expectation. Realization is not like your conception of it. Accordingly, realization cannot take place as previously conceived. When you realize buddha dharma, you do not consider how realization came about. Reflect on this: what you think one way or another before realization is not a help for realization.
Although realization is not like any of the thoughts preceding it, this is not because such thoughts were actually bad and could not be realization. But since you were seeking elsewhere, you thought and said that thoughts cannot be realization.
However, it is worth noticing that what you think one way or another is not a help for realization. For this reason, you become cautious not to be small-minded. Indeed, if realization came forth by the power of your prior thought, it would not be trustworthy.’ (Shobogenzo Yuibutsu Yobutsu)
This is what the monk in last week’s story needed to hear. I found this passage very helpful myself, as it let me shed any last lingering hope that I would think my way to enlightenment. That in itself made a nice difference to my practice…