Katagiri Roshi

‘We live by our effort, but this is a narrow understanding, so we have to live our lives with the understanding that we are allowed to live. This means we should appreciate our life. Then, if we appreciate our life, we can make our life come alive. To do this, we must be not only passive, but also active. Someone may say, “The universe takes care of me, so I don’t have to do anything.” Of course, it is true, but this does not mean we can take a nap in the universe. The universe is always working with us, so if we become lazy, the universe appears as laziness. Then very naturally we are confused. So, constantly we have to take the initiative. When we do gassho, we have to practice gassho with the forgiving universe, with appreciation for our lives, making gassho come alive. This practice is not a matter of discussion.

Buddha’s world is completely pure and serene, quiet and also dynamic; it is dynamism in motion beyond our thoughts and ideas. So very naturally, in order to accept it, we have to put aside our understanding, our thoughts, and put our body and mind right in the middle of that dynamism in motion. This is samadhi or actualizing Buddha’s compassion. When we do zazen it is a very simple opportunity to be present there, to put aside our thoughts and preconceptions.’ (Returning to Silence)

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