Every moment of Zazen is complete, sacred, a perfect action, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. When we sit Zazen, we are a Buddha sitting.
And all of this life and world can be known too as sacred, a jewel, with not one thing to add, not one thing to take away. Perfectly just-what-it-is.
But we have to be very cautious here, not misunderstand … Saying that there is “no place to go, no destination” does not mean that there are not good and bad paths to get there! Saying “there is nothing that need be done” does—not—mean there is nothing to do. Saying that “nothing is in need of change” does—not—mean that “nothing is in need of change.”
Saying “we are already Buddha” is not enough if we don’t realize that, act like so!
Simple, exaggerated example …
Perhaps a fellow sits down to Zazen for the first time who is a violent man, a thief and alcoholic. He hears that “all is Buddha just as it is“, so thinks that Zen practice means “all is a jewel just as it is, so thus maybe I can simply stay that way, just drink and beat my wife and rob strangers“. Well, no, because while a thief and wife-beater is just that … a thief and wife-beater, yet a Buddha nonetheless … still, someone filled with such anger and greed and empty holes to fill in their psyche is not really “at peace with how things are” (or he would not beat and steal and need to self-medicate). In other words, he takes and craves and acts out anger and frustration because he does not truly understand “peace with this life as it is” … because if he did, he would not need to be those violent, punishing ways.
If the angry, violent fellow truly knew “completeness“, truly had “no hole in need of filling“, “nothing lacking” everything “complete just as it is” … well, he simply would not have need to do violence, steal and take drugs to cover his inner pain.
You see … kind of a non-self-fulfilling Catch-22.
Thus, our “goalless sitting” in Zazen is –not– merely sitting on our butts, self-satisfied, feeling that we “just have to sit here and we are Buddha“. Far from it. It is, instead, to-the-marrow dropping of all need and lack. That is very different. Someone’s “just sitting around” doing nothing, going no where, complacent or resigned, giving up, killing time, is not in any way the same as “Just Sitting” practice wherein nothing need be done, with no where that we can go or need go. For all is faced ‘head on’ and energetically as already whole and complete … even while we realize that the choices we make in life have consequences, that how we choose to walk the walk in this life, and the directions we choose to go, do make a difference!
For this reason, through our Zazen practice, we can taste that each second of life is a perfect arriving, there is no place to go or to which we need go. Yet, we have to know that, despite having ever and always already arrived, we keep living nonetheless, and how we do that is very important. The choices we make have consequences. So, if someone were to think I am saying, “All you need to do in Zazen is sit down on one’s hindquarters, and that’s enough … just twiddle your thumbs in the ‘Cosmic Mudra’ and you are Buddha” then, respectfully, I believe they do not get my point. But if they understand, “There is absolutely no place to be, where one needs to be or elsewhere where one can be, than on that Zafu in that moment, and that moment itself is all complete, all-encompassing, always at home, the total doing of All Life, Time and Space fully realized” … they are closer to the flavor.
Then, if they rise up from the Zafu … sensing that they are “Buddha” … and thus try to act in life a bit more how a Buddha would act, they get the point.
Zazen seeks no change, needs no change, is complete and whole … and that realization works a revolutionary change.
But saying “there is nothing in need of change, we are always whole and completely who we are” … does not mean that there is not much about us in need of change to allow us to live well! (Zen teachers talk out of both sides of a no sided mouth! ) We can live seeing life from both angles… as complete, yet sometimes with much perhaps to repair … as all paths the same, but with some that lead off a cliff … at once.
Does that make sense … in a Zenny way?
CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.
Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.