When you are determined to practice zazen with the great
mind of Buddha, you will find the worst horse is the most
valuable one. In your very imperfections you will find the
basis for your firm, way-seeking mind. Those who can sit
perfectly physically usually take more time to obtain the true
way of Zen, the actual feeling of Zen, the marrow of Zen.
But those who find great difficulties in practicing Zen will
find more meaning in it. So I think that some times the best
horse may be the worst horse, and the worst horse can be
the best one.
If you study calligraphy you will find that those who are
not so clever usually become the best calligraphers. Those
who are very clever with their hands often encounter great
difficulty after they have reached a certain stage. This is also
true in art and in Zen. It is true in life. So when we talk
about Zen we cannot say, " He is good," or "He is bad," in
the ordinary sense of the words. The posture taken in zazen
is not the same for each of us. For some it may be impossible
to take the cross-legged posture. But even though you cannot
take the right posture, when you arouse your real, wayseeking mind,
you can practice Zen in its true sense. Actually it is easier for
those who have difficulties in sitting to arouse the true
way-seeking mind than for those who can sit easily.
When we reflect on what are doing in our everyday life,
we are always ashamed of ourselves. One of my students
wrote to me saying, "You sent me a calendar, and I am
trying to follow the good mottoes which appear on each
page. But the year has hardly begun, and already I have
failed!'' Dogen-zenji said ,' 'Shoshaku jushaku.'' Shaku generally
means " mistake" or " wrong ." Shoshaku jushaku means " to
succeed wro ng with wrong ," or one continuous mistake.
According to Dogen, one continuous mistake can also be
Zen. A Zen master 's life could be said to be so many years
of shoshaku jushaku. This means so many years of one
We say, "A good father is not a good father ." Do you
understand? One who thinks he is a good father is not a
good father; one who thinks he is a good husband is not a
good husband. One who thinks he is one of the worst husbands
may be a good one if he is always trying to be a good
husband wi th a single-hearted effort. If you find it impossible
to sit because of some pain or some physical difficulty, then
you should sit anyway, using a thick cushion or a chair.
Even though you are the worst horse you will get to the
marrow of Zen.