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Buddhadharma : Spring 2016
spring 2016 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 47 a blind. There’s nothing special to do in Zen. There’s a famous awakening story of Ikkyu, a Japanese poet and monk, struggling for enlight- enment. He wanted to wake up and he went to his teacher to express his understanding, because in Zen, awakening has to be acknowledged by another. He expressed his understanding of having heard a crow caw, and the teacher said, “Ikkyu, I’m sorry, that’s not the understanding of the bud- dhas and enlightened ones.” Ikkyu replied, “It’s good enough for me.” His teacher said, “That’s the enlightenment of the buddhas and ancestors.” BuDDhADhARMA: David, even though you say Shinran taught that it’s difficult to realize enlightenment energy into meditation. Since then, after wider study of the teachings that surround Zen in the East, emphasis on compassion and skillful means has grown, and both are now practiced much more in Zen centers in the West. The Lotus Sutra and other important early Mahayana texts such as the Vimalakirti Sutra have been filtered through Dogen Zenji into our practice. These sutras contain many allegories of people walking through life in a daze or a slumber, not knowing that all along they car- ried a jewel. The practices are to see through the distractions and allow for this jewel to be realized. But enlightenment is understood in Zen as an ordi- nary state demonstrated in ordinary practices—for instance, in the way someone drinks tea or rolls up photo | rio achmar