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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
winter 2006| 38 |buddhadharma to cultivate the all-embracing ki that informs our entire being is through zazen. Zazen is a matter of physically experiencing our essential oneness with the very existence of the universe, and it is through this experience that our ki develops. What is most important is that we partake of ki in its universal expression. We can cultivate ki creatively as we go about our daily lives. Such cultivation-in-action is called dochu no kufu. However, a living practice depends on a thorough grounding in jochu no kufu, the quiet cultivation of seated meditation. There is no basic separation between “passive” and “active,” of course, but those who are unable to partake of universal essence in sitting will not be able to par- take of it in action. The fundamental point in zazen is to experience oneself not as a separate, limited body but as the body of the entire universe. The body itself is central to zazen. When medi- tating we regulate the body, regulate the breath, and regulate the mind. Ki fills our physical being to overflowing and expands through the breath to an ever-widening circle of our surroundings until it permeates the universe itself. This activation of our universal mind is the true meaning of “regulat- ing the mind” in zazen. Is this word “ki,” as you are using it, synonymous with buddhanature? To know buddhanature is to experience the way in which our wisdom, our consciousness, and our sensation are one with all that exists. “Buddha- nature” is simply a word we use to indicate that universal functioning in which the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, body, and especially mind grasp the whole and not just the part. Buddhanature is recognizing the life of buddha in every creature, in every tree and blade of grass. Ki is our very essence. Lacking ki, we look with our eyes but cannot see. Lacking ki, we think but cannot understand. To embrace and partake of all existence is possible because ki is the essence of all things. From this, too, manifests the wisdom that recognizes buddhanature. Building a Training Ground in America Roshi, training is central to any notion of practice, and it’s perhaps best done in a monastic setting. You are creating a monastery in Tahoma, on Whidbey Island near Seattle. What is your vision for this monastery? The training at Sogenji underlies life at Tahoma. People will find the same essence at both places. Several experienced students from Sogenji are now living at Tahoma, gradually laying the foun- dations for true monastic training. The dream of opening a fully functioning dojo can’t be realized with a single stroke, so we are taking time, but the inner essence of Tahoma is slowly and surely developing. Tahoma had a bumpy beginning, but even these difficulties clarified a better approach. The main issue is not so much the physical construction of the monastery as it is the creation of a place of ongoing training even as we build. We do not want Harada Roshi’s New Year’s Eve teisho at Sogenji Temple. RolAndScHmid