Practice & Enlightenment Are One – Text Reading 11/11/12

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 in Everything Practice, Featured, Weekly Words | 0 comments

Practice & Enlightenment Are One – Text Reading 11/11/12

Those Who Greatly Realize Delusion are Buddhas
—Guidance in Zazen by Shohaku Okumura  – adapted from the book Realizing Genjokoan

Delusion is not some fixed thing within our minds that, if eliminated, will be replaced by enlightenment.

The world we live in is the world we create, based on how our mind encounters the myriad dharmas. We cannot prevent our mind from creating the world as it does, but it is possible to realize that the world of our creation does not reflect true reality. Practicing with this realization, and letting go of rigid belief in the narratives and preferences of our minds, is opening the hand of thought.

Within consciousness, reality is always distorted; we don’t see things as they are, and that is delusion. We take our distorted ideas and desires, and move toward the world, trying to find reality. We try to see reality with our minds, abilities, willpower, and effort. All of this is delusion. To practice is to awaken to the self that is part of all things. The subject of practice is not the personal self, but all beings. It is not we who engage in our practice, but rather Buddha who carries out Buddha’s practice through us.

Zazen is not a matter of individual actions or experiences emerging from individual willpower or effort. Zazen is not a practice that makes beings into buddhas; zazen itself is Buddha’s practice.

Zazen enables us to see clearly that we are part of the world, part of nature, part of Buddha. There is no separate individual who practices zazen and becomes enlightened. We actualize the self that is connected with all dharmas. We don’t personally become a buddha, but rather we awaken to the reality that, from the beginning, we are living Buddha’s life. Enlightenment is not the self awakening to reality, but zazen awakening to zazen, Dharma awakening to Dharma, Buddha awakening to Buddha.

This is the meaning of “practice and enlightenment are one.”

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