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Buddhadharma : Fall 2017
fall 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 69 enlightenment removing hindrances to seeing clearly so that one can abide in the clarity of reality as it actually is. Different streams of the tradition also emphasize different parts of awaken- ing. Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan from which my lineage flows, emphasized that the buddhanature we all possess is recognized in each other—so awakening is awakening to buddhanature in all sentient beings. In other Zen traditions, more attention is focused on working toward realization. The renowned Rinzai teacher Hakuin Zenji tracked his enlightenment experi- ences, categorizing them as small, medium, and large. In the tradition I was trained in, we operate from the assumption that enlightenment is already present in everyone. So practice involves sitting in that awareness; meditation is sitting in the natural mind and observing pro- cesses that arise. Mostly we aren’t working toward enlightenment in Zen, we’re assuming it as a basis and trying to accept that reality. David Matsumoto: In many ways, Shin Buddhism gives expression to those same understandings with the use of symbolism and expression of Pure Land Buddhism. Enlightenment is both that to which we aspire along the Buddha’s path and the very foundation of the path—it’s a source from which the path flows and arises. Shinran tells us that Amida Buddha and the Pure Land are tathagathas; they are oneness in suchness, they are buddhanature, and as such he emphasizes both the awakening of wisdom in enlightenment and also the activity of compassion. It is the working of compassion that becomes the focus of enlightenment in the Shin tradition. Shin is very much grounded in a lay tradition, a householder tradition. Shin- ran is very clear when he says that in this life we don’t realize enlightenment, but we are the equal of the tatagathas—we awaken wisdom, we are embraced within compassion, and yet enlightenment comes about only upon birth in the Pure Land, the land of immeasurable light. Spring 2016