So, you want to "feel" Buddha? Well, for me, "Buddha" ... when he is doing his job ... is very much like breathing. Breathing just happens, balanced and naturally. Yes, sometimes we can draw our attention to breathing and think "Oh, I am breathing, I can feel the air moving in and out
" (that is good to do sometimes, as it reminds us how precious life and breathing is even though we pay it no attention most times). Sometimes we become aware of breathing when something is wrong ... such as an aesthma attack or when visiting the high Himalayas (that also reminds us how precious life and breathing are, and how we rely on Buddhas and breathing to sustain us). But usually, the most "just breathing" breathing is just there, happening on its own.
In fact, panting in fear is breathing ... holding one's breath is breathing ... being out of breath with illness is breathing ... sobbing in great bursts at a funeral is breathing ... all breathing, all LIFE even though we prefer and like the kind of short, clear easy breaths on peaceful, healthy days.
What's more, from a Buddhist perspective ... True Breath does not come in or go out, sweeps from the farthest stars to the small atoms. Dogen quoted his teacher: "My late teacher Tendo said, “The inhaled breath reaches the tanden; however, it is not that this breath comes from somewhere. For that reason, it is neither short nor long. The exhaled breath leaves from the tanden; however, it is not possible to say where this breath goes. For that reason, it is neither long nor short
practice, when the mind starts demanding "I need more, I need to feel like Buddha" ... well, then it may be looking in the wrong way for some "Buddha". Then "Buddha" becomes another drug if we demand to feel "All Buddha All The Time".
Maybe only Buddhas feel like Buddha all the time. I cannot promise you that (nor do I consider that a particularly healthy way to live ... like being conscious of breathing all the time). The most I can guaranty you is to feel Buddha sometimes ... when you want to, sometimes at surprising times (I can promise that). Other times, Buddha may be no where around (even when you look sometimes). But Buddha is always breathing nonetheless. Something like that.
In fact, in this crazy-brilliant Shikantaza
way ... the less one looks for Buddha, the easier to find Buddha. The less one "tries to breath", the easier one breathes. We are like the man riding the donkey needing to look real hard for the donkey by riding here and there on the donkey in search of the donkey. Our Shikantaza
way is just to ride, knowing that the donkey is there all along ... sometimes noticed, sometimes not. Like the breath.