Shohaku Okumura

‘People often ask me, “What is the Soto Zen view of rebirth?” This is a difficult question because Dogen Zenji, I believe, advocates “not knowing” in this case. Rather than offering us a consistent view on rebirth, he teaches us that we should let go of our limiting concepts and beliefs and simply practice right here, right now. When we do so, we naturall and responsibly care for the future as our practice in the present. I also believe this is the reason Shakyamuni Buddha did not deny transmigration, although he refuted the idea of the atman. His teaching of anatman shows us that the truth of emptiness applies even to our own bodies and minds, allowing us freedom from the reification of ourselves and our views, while cause and effect as the underlying principle for transmigration illustrates that we must nonetheless take responsibility for our activities of body, speech, and mind.’ (Realizing Genjokoan)


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