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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
64 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 1 5 to be more interested in liberation than in continu- ing our suffering. To achieve this, we have to see how burdensome our practice of judging is and experience the weariness of it. It just goes on and on—and there is no relief until we relieve ourselves. So, from within the many dreams we weave that occupy us and distract us from our real nature, we examine these dreams. Dogen said, “To study the Way is to study the self.” When dreaming, we study the dream. When you sit down on the cushion, how do you use your mind? Do you shut everything off, trying to be tranquil and serene? Nanchuan says, “Not knowing is blankness”—there’s no life here. Do you just continue the fascination with your thoughts and call that zazen? If so, you just continue to reflect and daydream, and samsara continues with- out end. When we enter into practice enmeshed in our everyday mind, we assume that the point of zazen is to seek another mind, an enlightened mind. But the teachings continually point us back to a deeper examination of our present experience. And so Chao-chou asks the question, “What is Tao?” Nan- chuan responds, “Ordinary mind.” In his “Uni- versally Recommended Instructions for Zazen,” Dogen says that “the way is originally perfect and all-pervading.” Master Seng-Ts’an said, “The way is perfect like vast space. No excess, no lack.” Are they saying the same thing? Or are these different? What is this “ordinary mind?” If it is the mind everybody experiences and calls “me” every day, then everyone would be living an enlightened life, which is clearly not the case. But if it’s a different mind, then how can we find this mind? If we don’t T he question “What is Tao?” is at the very heart of Zen practice. Tao means a passage, a path, a way. It also means the essential truth, or the underlying principle of the universe. Within Bud- dhism, the path to awakening is not separate from enlightenment itself. As we travel on this path, we practice living as an awakened person. We tend to think of practice as preparation for a time that hasn’t arrived. But there is no future moment that we’re preparing for. Practice is living; cultivating virtue is being virtuous. Practice is life. The Buddha said we should practice all that is good, cease from all that is harmful, and study, train, and master our mind. Yet the mind of judg- ment is so strong; our attachments within love and hate can feel so right and true. How can we master the mind if we are at the mercy of our desire and aversion? If we want to be free of clinging, we have