Friday, December 07, 2012


Another day, another 90 minutes of Rohatsu zazen.  To paraphrase what my teacher's teacher, Soyu Matsuoka, is reported to have said, "Five minutes zazen, five minutes Buddha.  Ninety minutes zazen, ninety minutes Buddha."

It has also been said that a Buddha naturally abides in a state of zazen.  That is, unlike us ordinary beings rushing through our busy lives and trying to squeeze in a few minutes of zazen here and there, a Buddha sits in zazen unless and until there's something else to be done.  A Buddha abides in zazen until it's time to eat or to sleep, to move one's bowels or to give a talk, or to earn a living or otherwise sustain oneself.  But when any of these things don't need to be done, a Buddha returns to the natural state of zazen.

The interesting thing is, the amount of time spent in zazen and spent in other activities might be exactly the same for a Buddha and for an ordinary being. But the Buddha, who abides in the state of zazen, one leaves that state only when necessary, while ordinary beings, who abide in the mundane activities of the everyday world, one has to find the "right opportunity" to enter a state of zazen.  To an outside viewer, it might look exactly the same but in the mind of the practioner, there is a world of difference.

This past week has reminded me of where I stand in this phase equilibrium between the deluded and the awakened.  Fortunately, though, the busy week is now behind me, and I have the opportunity to reach deeper into practice for this final Rohastsu weekend and be a Buddha for at least a day or two.

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