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Buddhadharma : Summer 2006
summer 2006| 62 |buddhadharma is an especially meaningful point in zazen. In our everyday life, we put great emphasis on this point. So Dogen Zenji says, “Practice and enlightenment are one.” Practice is something you do consciously, something you do with effort. There! There is enlightenment! Most Zen masters missed the point. They didn’t know how important this point is – they were striving to attain perfect zazen. That is Dogen’s teaching, and that is how everything actually exists in this world. Things that exist are imperfect. Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in that imperfection is perfect reality. This is true intellectual understanding. Intellec- tually it is true, and in the realm of practice it is also true. It is true on paper, and it is also true with our body. We can realize how true it is through our physical practice and emotional problems. So according to Dogen Zenji, our practice should be established in delusion. We are all deluded people, and before we attain enlightenment, we should establish our true practice in our delusion. It is usual to think that after you attain enlight- enment, you can establish true practice. But it is not so, according to Dogen Zenji. True practice should be established in delusion, in frustration. If you make some mistake, you should establish your practice thereby. There is no other place for you to establish your practice. “Enlightenment,” we say. But in its true sense, perfect enlightenment is beyond our understand- ing, beyond our experience. That is true enlighten- ment. So actually even in our imperfect practice, there is enlightenment. The problem is that we don’t know it. Here, again, I want to put emphasis on this point. People usually do not trust something if they cannot actually experience it, cannot actu- ally think about it. There are two types of people. Some people cannot trust anything until under- standing things in terms of right or wrong, good or bad. After they analyze reality in various ways, they understand things and trust things. But other people become uneasy if someone explains some- thing too well – you know, if someone analyzes something eloquently and very precisely. The more they explain it, the more you will doubt it. These are the two types of people. In the case of an artist, if people say, “Oh, his painting is very good,” one artist will be very glad. But another artist will not be so happy. Some will be happy even though no one buys anything, or even if no one says anything about their art – they can still enjoy their own art. These are different types of people. There may be more than one way of helping people also. One way is actually giving help to others. However, without giving anything or say- ing anything or doing anything, we can also help others. The actual joy of enlightenment experience is beyond comparison to our usual experience. You cannot say that it is a good or bad experience. It is some unusual experience, and that’s all. You practice zazen, you study Buddhism, and you help people, but if you don’t know how to help people in the true sense, you cannot help people. If you push everything to the extreme, you will lose the whole thing. You will lose your friend. The other day someone said, “Too much of something is worse than too little.” Actually, the point is to find the true meaning of practice before we attain enlightenment. It’s not to try to attain enlightenment completely. It is no longer real practice when you start to analyze whether or not your enlightenment is complete. So before you attain enlightenment there is complete enlightenment in its true sense. Dogen Zenji also said, “The more you have good practice and good enlightenment in its true sense, the more MARkAbRAMS