Shodo Harada

‘The central most important quality of practice is that we do it bravely, without wavering. We cannot do it with a weak heart, full of hesitation; nor can we do it while being concerned with what is to the left or what is to the right, or with what others are doing or thinking, with our physical problems or with how we feel about things, or how insecure we might feel – if we pay attention to each and every thing that comes along, there is no way we can possibly encounter that true essence of mind, cut that root of life and death, or clarify the essence of what it really is to exist. Our training is not a scholarly study. We are not sitting toabsorb philosophical information. If we wanted to do that, we could go to college. We are not doing this for information, but to separate from that dualistically oriented mind. We have to completely throw all of that away or we cannot encounter directly that true root of our life energy.’ (The Path to Bodhidharma)

I should note that this passage comes in a chapter on sesshin; I don’t think it is necessary to be sitting sesshin to cultivate this kind of attitude, but it is definitely a helpful container for doing that. One thing I ponder, as I am sure many other teachers do, is how to stimulate this attitude out in the world.


5 thoughts on “Shodo Harada

  1. I think the way to reach that in the world is the challenge of everyday practice, beyond zazen and sesshin. It is the activity of each thing from moment to moment. Quite challenging for sure, but also brilliant too…

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  2. Shundo, I just want to leave a small note telling you how special your efforts here on Shundo.org are for me and others. It remains a daily bit of grace and solace— sort of the Upper Room for Zen Buddhists. And over the last year of being separated physically from others, this has meant a lot. Within my practice sessions on Zoom, I frequently move your wisdom on out. Please feel the appreciation as best I can communicate it.

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  3. To be full of intention, to drop I, I, I, me, me, me, to create in the world what is lacking without clinging to hard to your own script or what you might be looking like at the moment, to be full of life; to be life itself expressing itself, is this what Shodo Harada meant?

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