Shohaku Okumura

‘Who is studying? Who is inquiring? In the case of Buddhadharma, Buddha studies Buddha’s way through our practice. Or Dharma studies Dharma itself through us, through this person, because this person is part of the Dharma. The term “dharmas” means all beings; “Dharma” with a capital D means the way all beings are. But though “Dharma” just means how we are, we usually try to get something from it. That is a kind of distortion. According to Dogen, when I sit, it is not Shohaku sitting; zazen is sitting Shohaku. Studying other subjects can be the same.’ (The Mountains and Waters Sutra)

Blanche used to have a story of Suzuki Roshi scolding her by saying. “Don’t ever think that you sit zazen; zazen sits zazen!” It is hard for us to accept this lack of agency at this kind of level, but it is an essential component of understanding the way all beings are – and all things – rather than just trying to get something from it – as recently posted.

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