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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
zenju earThlyn manuel 57 whether we are angry, even enraged, aggrieved, or content, we are right where we should be. no part of our humanity needs to be tossed away. to see them as escapes from home or from the world. I asked her to enter the zendo from now on as if coming into a dark cave with her thoughts. As the thoughts arise, I told her, surrender to them and come to know the process as illumination taking place. The deeper our life is illuminated within delusion, the more clearly we can see our own limitations, struggles, and suffering. This is the true intimacy of Zen practice and the mystical nature of zazen. In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a notion that once the Buddha be- came enlightened, we all did. This teaching points us in the direction of not trying to acquire or gain enlightenment but rather allowing it to meet us along the way. Enlightenment is neither given nor gained, so we are bound to tango with the deluded body-mind. And what a dance it is! In Sokushin Zebutsu (“The Very Mind is Buddha”), Dogen wrote, “Thinking is said to be exerted by the mind of the entire great earth, the mind of the trees and stones, of mountains and rivers, the sun, moon and stars and by the one mind of all dharmas...” Thinking, then, is malleable; it’s adaptable and resilient. The intimacy between the self, the universe, and our thinking is indelibly part and parcel of Dogen’s Zen. Enlightenment is “ever intimate” with, and transpar- ent to, delusion. When we dive deeply into the tension between enlightenment and delusion, we go beyond our mere ideas of them. Dogen wrote that, if we even think of enlightenment, there will be an aspiration for it. Thought is not an enemy to our endeavors for enlightenment. In fact, it’s impossible to dance with enlightenment without the intimate knowing that comes from opening fully to our deluded, thinking minds.