I'd like to post a quote from a bio that I was reading on Dogen that stuck out at me:
"The teacher 'Sakyamuni handed down this unexcelled method of enlightenment. And the Tathagatas of the past present, and future and the patriarchs in India and China have also attained enlightenment through zazen." Thus beginning with the historic Buddha, all the patriarchs and masters have experienced enlightenment through zazen. At the time of his enlightenment, the Buddha is said to have declared: "Together with me the Great Earth and all beings have become enlightened. The grass, the trees, the very soil have achieved Buddhahood." Mankind was saved by the enlightenment of the Buddha. So in Dogen's view there is absolutely no need for us to practice asceticism by imitating Buddha. In Gakudo Yojinshu, he says, "Those who practice the way of the Buddha must first have faith in the way of the Buddha. This means to believe that we are in enlightenment already and have neither illusion nor error." We are already on the path to enlightenment and are filled with the wisdom of the Buddha. Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of Chinese Zen, said: "We deeply believe in accordance with the teachings of our master that all mankind is endowed with an identical Buddha-nature." Our true nature reveals it self only when we have thoroughly understood the doctrine of the non-existence of the ego.
This basically means. Although we already are Buddha, Shakyamuni still had to sit under that tree to realize it, as did Dogen, as did Bodhidharma, as did all the other Buddhas. We know we are Buddha, but we don't yet understand it. For that we have to sit.
The doctrine of the non-existence of ego is not a piece of paper, or a book, or even words (I think). It's what we discover when sit down on the Zafu and make room for everything else. Not following our thoughts or feelings, or sensations but just sitting in the midst of them eventually dropping Bodymind.
This quote has always eluded me. Shakyamuni discovered that we are already Buddha, so everything is already enlightened. The Earth is what it is. The grass, trees, and soil are what they are. Everyday Mind. Ordinary Mind. Right Now mind. Not convinced or focusing on our commentary or sensations mind.Together with me the Great Earth and all beings have become enlightened. The grass, the trees, the very soil have achieved Buddhahood."
When I read this previously I always thought "The grass is enlightened?" "What?" So like when we become enlightened then other things around us might magically absorb our energy or something and become enlightened too?" ops: :lol:
Such a very simple thing.
There's no need to go chasing after this or that for enlightenment, we need to just sit quietly and realize it for ourself. To sit Zazen is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to just be here and now perfectly what you are. You don't get smarter. you can't fly. You don't shine bright golden rays from your head. You don't know everything. You won't necessarily be able to cook well or you won't have bad habits. You just are what you are. Then if you want to learn how to cook, you can. It also doesn't mean you won't slip now and then. That's what the Zafu, practice and precepts are for.
I think a key thing here is our ability to be able to sit quietly, calm and open.
A big ordinary Gassho to you