Point 2. Zazen is our truest and most venerable teacher. Or even more drastically, as he puts it a few paragraphs below: the zazen each of us practices is the only true teacher.
I guess this applies to pretty much anything: practice is the only way to learn. Still, it's good to have sincere Bodhisattvas out there willing to help us out, as they may help us identify the misundertandings of our practice.
Point 3 is a neat, concrete guide for actual practice, and the part of it that we haven't discussed much is the realization of "Gaining is delusion, losing is enlightenment".
Now when I heard this kind of talk from during my Catholic upbringing i saw it as empty words. But Uchiyama was the real thing, as his unromanticized, crude stories about begging practice reveal (I posted an interesting link in this regard, titled something like the camel and the needle on the main blog).In our ordinary human life, we are always trying to fulfill our desires.... In Buddhism, though, it's just the opposite: it is important for us to leave our desires alone, without trying to fulfill them. If we push this one step further ... we are talking about active participation in loss. For breaking the ego's grip, nothing is more effective than giving something up
Now THIS is tough practice. He seems to suggest several levels: first, leaving desires alone, then giving something up. Then comes Dogen insisting over and over again in the Shobogenzo zuimonky to give pretty much everything up:
"To study the Way, first of all, you learn poverty. After having learned poverty and become poor, you will be intimate with the Way"
"A person of the buddha-dharma should not possess any treasure or property other than robes and a bowl. What is the need for a closet? You should not own things that have to be hidden from others. You try to hide things because you are afraid of thieves; if you abandon them you will be that much more at ease"
"It is regrettable to spend our days and nights vainly thinking of our livelihood tomorrow without casting aside the world which should be cast aside, without practicing the way that should be practiced. Just make up your mind to learn the Way and die today. If you don't have the materials to keep you alive until tomorrow it doesn't matter if you die of cold or hunger. First of all, arouse such resolution. In doing so you will be able to practice the Way without fail"
All this makes a lot of sense, and we know it to be true from the times in life in which we realize we are destitute anyways. Janis Joplin would sing : "freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose"
And yet it is hard to let go. I'm guessing that for most of us all of this translates at best in less greed, less preocupation with promotions, better appreciation of what we have, etc. But not many of us (not me as of this moment) are that ready to die today. It is a good direction to aim.
Another Zuimonki favorite:
"I've never heard of anyone who was rich in material wealth who also carried out the buddha-dharma. All sincere practitioners of the buddha-dharma have worn patched rags and have always begged for food"
OK, guys, who's buying lunch?