using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2005
buddhadharma| 35 |fall 2005 be ourselves, and thus realize the just sitting prac- tice of the buddha ancestors, by practicing in the same manner as the entire universe and all beings. Perhaps other Soto Zen teachers have taught just sitting in this way, but I have not heard it so clearly from anyone but Suzuki Roshi. I deeply appreciate the way he stressed this point. Suzuki Roshi taught that, in order to actual- ize our way of just sitting by being ourselves, we must express ourselves fully. So, paradoxically, realizing the selflessness of just sitting depends on full self-expression. Full self-expression, in turn, can only be realized by meeting and practicing together with all living beings in the entire uni- verse. Therefore, he taught that to realize the full function of the practice of just sitting, we must go and meet face-to-face with our teacher. Such meetings offer the opportunity to settle completely into the truth of just sitting. Only when we meet intimately with another person can we fully be ourselves. As the Lotus Sutra says, “Only a bud- dha together with a buddha can thoroughly master the buddhadharma.” My understanding of Suzuki Roshi’s teaching of just sitting is that it encompasses a dynamic interdependence between two dimensions an intrapsychic aspect and an interbeing, or inter- personal, aspect. According to this view, I see Shakyamuni practicing upright, just sitting under the bodhi tree, and attaining the way as only part of the story of just sitting. Only when he met his students and they attained the way together was the full function of the selfless practice of just sit- ting realized. So, in our practice of just sitting, we cannot actually fully be ourselves unless we go to see the teacher, and the teacher cannot fully be himself unless he comes to meet us. Suzuki Roshi was a teacher who taught that sometimes we have to disagree and argue with our teacher and that sometimes we have to surrender to our teacher. Similarly, the teacher must sometimes disagree with us and must sometimes surrender to us. This interbeing aspect of just sitting generously encom- passes all agreement and disagreement. To be fully themselves in this formal student- teacher relationship, both must assert themselves completely and recognize each other fully. You will sometimes disagree with your teacher, and at the same time you must surrender to your teacher. Your teacher, of course, must bring herself to meet you, and must surrender to you. The only way that you can fully be yourself is if your teacher, and ultimately all beings, come to meet you. When Suzuki Roshi was alive, meeting with him was a very high priority in my life. I made a big effort to bring myself to meet him, but, often, as soon as I made this strong effort to assert myself in his presence, I became aware of my anxiety and vulnerability and wanted to get away. However, when I didn’t present myself strongly, if I was with him halfheartedly, I didn’t feel the need to escape. It was only when I presented myself wholeheart- edly to him that I felt vulnerable. When Suzuki Roshi ordained me as a priest, he gave me the name Tenshin Zenki. On that day he told me that “Tenshin” means “Reb is Reb.” Then he said, “People may have a problem with that, but there is no other way.” Today, the way I understand his teaching is that when Reb is fully Reb, when you are fully you, we are completely vulnerable. To what are we completely vulnerable? When we are fully ourselves, we are vulnerable to the entire universe. The second part of my name, “Zenki,” may be translated as “the whole works.” In just being fully ourselves, Tenshin, we open our- selves to the working of the entire universe, Zenki. This name describes how the entire universe works thoroughly through each person in the practice of just sitting. Over the years, I gradually came to understand what a wonderful gift he gave me in that name. Tenshin Zenki is actually a gloss for shikantaza. So now I see that just sitting is not something that I can do by myself. It is not something that Suzuki Roshi could do by himself either. It is something that we do together. We practice it together when we bring ourselves completely to our meeting and completely assert ourselves while completely rec- ognizing each other. When I discussed with a friend the various views of just sitting, he recalled that famous story of the blind men feeling the elephant. One person says the elephant is a wall, another person says the elephant is a huge leaf; one says it is a rope and another says it is a tree trunk. I thought to myself, “But in this case, there really isn’t such a thing as an elephant.” There is not actually something out there that is just sitting. It is just that we enter the reality of this wonderful practice by giving ourselves entirely to a situation where “the other” comes and meets us entirely. But since the other meets us entirely, just sitting can’t be a thing. What we do is not just sitting. Just sitting is the dynamic interdependence of what we give and what comes to meet us. That is not a thing. Nobody knows what that is. Even all the buddhas together cannot fully measure it. However, we can throw ourselves into it. Although I say “throw ourselves into it,” even this is not a unilateral activity. We still need to have a significant other with whom we meet face- to-face. Therefore, it is not so easy to throw our- selves into such a practice, because we may feel anxious or afraid of the unknown possibilities of such concerted activity. Nevertheless, we still have to jump wholeheartedly into the unknown reality of just sitting. SeThlevinSon