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 : Spri 2007
buddhadharma| 33 |spring 2007 students come and go. We find it easy to blame them or dismiss them: “He’s crazy.” “She’s a piece of work.” But this is just a mere expression of our own frustration, and we don’t realize that by say- ing such things, the situation often becomes even worse. We don’t have the guts to accept that the problem isn’t with them, but it’s within us. There is only one way to truly help others, and that is to improve ourselves. More and more, I think and feel that we all live in three concurrent worlds: the smallest one is our own separate, individual world – the world of intimate things that only we ourselves know, such as our childhood, school experiences, memo- ries, friendships, and so on. For each of us, this is our personal world, which nobody else knows as precisely as we do. The second world is the world that encompasses our society: the common cul- tural interests we share and the basic feelings that we all experience together. The third world is the entire universe as one immense realm. Within the first world, it is very easy to take personal responsibility, as its contents are solely of our own construct. We built these worlds from our own unique thoughts, feelings, and experiences. There are also layers of karmic conditions accu- mulated over many lifetimes, even though we do not have a conscious memory of them. Whether we acknowledge it or not, these are still the result of our own deeds. Within the third world, it is also relatively easy to take total responsibility, because as Zen prac- titioners we are able to cultivate a state of mind through deep zazen in which any gaps or boundar- ies between ourselves and the vast universe often disappear. It’s within the second world that it’s the most difficult to accept and acknowledge our personal responsibility. For example, consider the current president of the United States. Is he also a projec- tion of ourselves? In The Book of Rinzai, there is a saying: “Whether you are facing internally or externally, whatever you meet, kill it. If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch.” Now in reality, as long as you live within the second world, do you think you can expect to meet a buddha or a patriarch on Broad- way? No. But without fail, from dawn to dusk, you are always meeting yourself. What Master Rinzai is saying is kill yourself; in other words, change yourself. Everyone you see, whether they are a buddha, a patriarch, the president, or whom- ever, these figures are none other than mirrors, reflecting your own self-image. People often say zazen is difficult because of the concentration required, having to endure excru- ciating pain, and so on, but that is not the point. Zazen is difficult precisely because it is so hard for us to accept that these seemingly external phe- nomena are our own projections and reflections, or even our own creations. We often speak of compassion and wisdom. But concretely, what are they? Getting back to this Hawaiian therapist, when he was asked how he healed his mentally ill patients without ever seeing them face-to-face, he replied, “I just keep saying, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ over and over.” Some of you may agree immediately that this is it. And some of you may laugh at me. If you agree, the Golden Wind is already blowing in your heart. If not, your leaves are still attached to your tree. Years ago, while I was attendant monk to Gempo Roshi, I went up to his quarters one day and witnessed a strange sight. He was kneeling on the floor, bowing deeply, and saying softly, over and over, “I am so sorry, please forgive me.” When I asked him what was the matter, he told me that while entertaining a guest, he accidentally said something insensitive and hurt his visitor’s feelings. So he was apologizing to his guest by kneeling in the direction of his house and express- ing his deep regret at having been hurtful, however unintentionally. When I heard this as a training monk, I didn’t get it. I thought he could wait until he next met the person face-to-face and then work to recre- ate a harmonious relationship. Or he could write an apologetic letter or make a telephone call. But once the guest’s heart was hurt, Gempo Roshi felt it very deeply in his own heart, too. This story about Gempo Roshi, and the story about the Hawaiian therapist, are the same as Master Ummon’s Golden Wind: it is always blow- ing in their hearts, as they live in the world where there are no boundaries between “self” and “oth- ers.” They have the guts to say, “I am sorry,” and in this way are expressing deep love for each one of us. To accept this love and say, “I’m sorry. I love you. Thank you” is far more difficult than attending Rohatsu sesshin. But we have to do this; otherwise the world cannot be changed. I must mention one caution: in the Zen tradi- tion, we often hear expressions such as “suchness” and “accept things as they are.” While these state- ments are true, they may be a bit misleading. There is an unspoken, underlying truth that things are changing moment by moment. Accepting such- ness does not mean that no effort is necessary on your part. A spinning top appears to be stationary, despite being in motion. It is precisely this motion that keeps the top suspended upright. In much the same way, the man of buji is the busiest man, as he needs to change himself and improve himself moment by moment. This is the significance of our practice. Thus the Golden Wind blows throughout the year and throughout our lives. We don’t have the guts to accept that the problem isn’t with them, but it’s within us. There is only one way to truly help others, and that is to improve ourselves.