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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 37 |summer 2005 This might be a good opportu- nity to summarize the teaching of Master Rinzai and to correct some misunderstandings about Rinzai Zen. By “misunderstanding,” I mean that some things in our tradition may be seen as militaristic, brisk, strict, lacking in compassion or even friendliness. In America, it seems as though people are always searching for an easy life. To some degree, this has been accomplished. The pursuit and attainment of conve- nience as a way of life has led to a shift in the perspective of the average American regarding what is considered easy and what is considered difficult. For example, during sesshin, I frequently hear from my students, “It’s hard!” while personally, I think this experience is pretty normal. In order to understand the true spirit of compassion, we have to experience hardship. We have to know the taste of tears. We have to know hunger and pain. So our Rinzai Zen tradition forces us to taste these aspects, and none of these are easy to deal with. But after years of practice and mindfulness, our perceived notions of what is easy and what is hard, what is good and what is bad, what is pleasant and what is unpleasant, all begin to fall away. As you know, this world consists of yin and yang, plus and minus, man and woman, life and death. If we label this attitude “dualism” and unilaterally think that dualism is no good, then we simply cannot comprehend the totality of this great universe. Throughout The Book of Rinzai, Master Rinzai says, “We, the students of Dharma, must have true insight.” And he urges us to awaken, to experience ken- sho. At the same time, he says seemingly opposite things, such as, “Followers of the Way: people say, ‘There is a Way to practice, there is a Dharma to realize.’ What Dharma would you realize and what Way would you practice? What is lacking in your activity right now? What is there to be fixed?” A similar saying is: “Virtuous monks, what are you looking for? The non- dependent man of the Way, who right now before my eyes is listening to my discourse, is clearly distinguishable. It is you who have never yet lacked anything. If you want to be no different from the patriarch Buddha, just see things this way. There’s no need to waver.” So, to state it briefly, Master Rinzai’s teaching has two aspects. One is that we have nothing to add; there’s nothing that’s deficient. We are as we are – complete, not only physically and mentally, but spiritu- ally. Why do you need to seek something extra? That’s one point. Another aspect gives us the impression that we need to be enlightened. And gen- erally speaking, the impression that we Zen students get is that we are deluded beings. The linguistic implication of “deluded beings” means that we are not good – naturally, this is how we interpret it. And if we are not good, we want to be better. This point of view is not lim- ited to our own interpretations. We read it in books, and we hear other sources repeatedly suggest that right now we are bumpkins – deluded beings, no good at all, fearful, never peaceful. So we must do zazen. We must concentrate. We must go into deep samadhi. We must not be disturbed by mosquitoes. We must not be disturbed by someone else’s coughing. Just pure concentration, pure digging into. And with all this effort, someday, we’ll become perfect beings. FoLLowERS oF THE wAy: People say, “There is a way to practice, there is a Dharma to realize.” what Dharma would you realize and what way would you practice? what is lacking in your activity right now? what is there to be fixed? young, immature practitioners, not knowing this important point, believe in wild fox spirits and listen to all their deceitful teachings. They allow others to be bound by false beliefs, saying, “Principle and practice are in correspondence. The three karmas must be carefully taken care of. Then at last you can attain buddhahood.” Those who preach in this way are as many as the thin drops of spring rain. A man of old said, “If you meet an outstanding man of the way on the road, you must not even mention the word ‘way.’” — From The Book of Rinzai (Rinzai Roku) What More Need You Seek? a teisho by eido shimano Roshi on Rinzai and his Zen