Kosho Uchiyama

‘To fall in love is ecstasy, but marriage is everyday life. Everyday life has rainy days, windy days, and stormy days. So you can’t always be happy. It’s the same with zazen. There are two kinds of zazen transmitted in Japan. One understands zazen as ecstasy and the other understands zazen as everyday life.
A basic concept in Buddhism is that subject and object are one. The significance of this depends on whether you interpret the samadhi of oneness as a psychological condition of ecstasy that mystically transcends the limits of the “everyday mind” or whether you actually practice it in your daily life. Those who hold the former view often express the samadhi of oneness through art and literature. The sensitive viewer or reader is allowed a glimpse of ecstasy. The Zen that D.T. Suzuki and other writers have presented to the world is of this sort. However, the zazen that has been handed down from Dogen Zenji to Sawaki Roshi is the actual foundation of the religious life. It is the practice of continuous awareness in the midst of delusion, without attachment to delusion or enlightenment. As Shinran said, “Although I don’t know at all whether I’ll go to hell or heaven by nembutsu, I just do it.” This is the zazen in which you don’t get to think about whether you will go to heaven or get enlightened. Religious practice is not something to make a show of and it is not merely a form of intellectual appreciation. It is the self fervently making the self into the self. In life, there are rainy days, windy days, and stormy days, but whatever happens, just settle yourself in zazen.’ (The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo)

A couple of this week’s posts have been from the archive, but I am usually pleasantly surprised at how much treasure there is from past years that I have totally forgotten about.

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