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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
summer 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 53 rejoice at it. The engine driving our suffering ceases to turn over. You see a beautiful woman, a passion arises; you look at a tasty dish, and another passion springs up. Whatever we may say, our body pro- duces these, and on the day it disappears we should heave a sigh of relief: “Ouf! I’m finally rid of my body and the suffering of life!” One day when it was snowing, a student at the Kyoto Imperial University sent this letter to a friend: “They say that a snow-covered landscape delights the soul, but it doesn’t engender any cheery feelings in me. The moment I go out, I slip at every step. What a relief it would be if the snow covering the mountains in the ten directions would melt! The sight of this snow makes my teeth grind.” His friend in Tokyo wrote back: “There are people who admire snow, flowers, the moon, and welcome them even though there’s nothing special about them. As for me, I find it most agreeable to admire the snow while sitting in a corner by the fire, drinking saké in the company of a pretty girl. I also think of the postman, who must distribute mail even on snowy mornings. Where is the truth? You tell me you hate watching the snow fall, something that is after all a normal occurrence in the winter.” When one sees the universe at a glance, birth and death come and go, the five aggregates are without substance. The Universal Worthy Sutra says, “All karmic obstacles originate in illusions. If you wish to repent, sit down in zazen and think of true real- ity.” To awaken to true reality is to have a gaze that penetrates all things, an instant total vision of the universe. Long ago, they categorized the various obstacles and hindrances that impede practice and explained that our mistaken vision came from our illusions. In modern terms, we’d say that we’re trapped by our illusions, and according to our dispositions each of us is held in a considerable number of traps. It is by doing zazen that we do away with obstacles, and it is by embracing the universe with a single glance that we discover the true identity of phenomena. So, would our happiness be identical to that of the worm in the latrine? No, whatever his happiness may be, it’s not ours. Each of us carries within our self our own happiness, which we must discover. When we see the universe at a single glance, there’s no more impasse. It’s also said in the Universal Worthy Sutra, “All our faults are drops of dew on the grass.” The fault that binds us exists nowhere. This is this and properly so; that is that and also proper. The head is the head, the feet are the feet. Each plays its role. “All your faults are like dew on the grass; they will disappear under the rays of the sun of wisdom.” If we have the wisdom to embrace the universe, doesn’t this wisdom also melt away the errors through which we fall into the trap? We are captives of our faults: our concepts, our received ideas, and our prejudices. Many people envy others’ happiness. “How I’d love to be in her place!” But what creates your happiness doesn’t cre- ate mine. You must discover your happiness within yourself. When one awakens to true reality, the avichi karma is instantly annihilated. At one time they thought that they who committed a capital crime fell into the avichi hell, where they suffered without a moment’s respite. In Buddhist terminology, an instant is truly short: the time it takes to bend an index finger, divided by sixty-two. What we generally understand as suffering is not some ready-made product out of a box. According to our character, each of us has our own suffering. And fundamentally speaking, if suffering did not exist, neither would pleasure. Thus, if we come to our senses about suffering and pleasure, as though waking from a dream, instantly we have an accu- rate vision of true reality and seize the universe. It’s written in a sutra: “He who awakens to all the buddhas of the past, present, and future sees naturally the essence of the world of the dharma where all things form one.” To see naturally the essence of the dharma is precisely to embrace the universe with a single glance. Multiplicity becomes unity. I love. Very well, I love! I detest, so I detest. Iamme,justasIam.Youareyou,justasyouare. Yamaoka Tesshuūhas written concerning a painting of Mount Fuji: “ Whether in clear weather or under clouds, Mount Fuji is beautiful, her shape does not change.” Such is true reality. If I lie to deceive you, may my tongue be torn out forever! This teaching is from Commentary on The Song of Awakening, translated by Tonen O’Connor and published by Merwin Asia, 2015.