Uchiyama Roshi (one of the great Soto Zen Masters whose book we are just reading in the book club) phrased the "Four Seals" a bit differently, especially No. 4:
"Nirvana is peace", but also this can be phrased in Mahayana Buddhism as "all things are themselves ultimate reality, or all things are as they are ... everything is truth in itself" Thus, we believe that "all phenomena are empty and without inherent identity" ... yet not, and each is absolutely real and complete unto itself. Guatami is 100% Gautami, with not a darn thing that can be done to make her more or less "Guatami than she is (even as, of course, from another perspective ... there's no "Guatami" !!)
So, one way to "peace" is to see Nirvana, that there is no "self" to bump into other "selfs". Another is that Nirvana is just each "self" as perfectly just what it is, perfectly imperfectly just itself. This is also peace.
And also No. 2., Everything is suffering. People sometimes think that "life is suffering" because it contains such things as sickness, old age and death, but that is not (in our view) what the Buddha meant. He meant that "sickness, old age and death" are suffering when we resist the natural reality of "sickness, old age and death." If you are, for example, at peace with being ill, growing old and eventually dying .... where's the problem? In fact the Buddha eventually got old, sick and died. He never found an escape from that reality!
This ties in with what we said above: sickness is just what it is, and absolutely true ... old age and death the same. That was the subject of my talk today on the Leaf "sit-a-long" ...
http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/08 ... a-xvi.html
So, live this life ... and though there may be "pain" "tears" as well as "joys" and "pleasures", be at peace with each ... and keep it all in good balance and moderation too! It is all "real" and your life!
That is our take on the "Four Seals".