Often people ask me how many years they have to practice zazen before it shows results. Zazen has no results. You won’t get anything at all out of zazen.
In true dharma there’s nothing to gain. In false dharma there’s something to gain.
The way of buddha means that there is nothing to seek, nothing to find [mushogu-mushotoku]. If there’s something to find, no matter how much we practice, it’s got nothing to do with the buddha-dharma. If there’s nothing to find [mushotoku], that’s the buddha-dharma.
What’s zazen good for? Absolutely nothing! This “good for nothing” has got to sink into your flesh and bones until you’re truly practicing what’s good for nothing. Until then, your zazen is really good for nothing.
Don’t whine. Don’t stare into space. Just sit!
Zazen isn’t like a thermometer where the temperature slowly rises: “Just a little more … yeah … that’s it! Now, I’ve got satori!” Zazen never becomes anything special, no matter how long you practice. If it becomes something special, you must have a screw lose somewhere.
If we don’t watch out, we’ll start believing that the buddha-dharma is like climbing up a staircase. But it isn’t like this at all. This very step right now is the one practice which includes all practices, and it is all practices, contained in this one practice.
You want to become a buddha? There’s no need to become a buddha! Now is simply now. You are simply you. And tell me, since you want to leave the place where you are,where is it exactly you want to go?
Zazen means just sitting without even thinking of becoming buddha.
In the world, it’s always about winning or losing, plus or minus. Yet in Zazen, it’s about nothing. It’s good for nothing. That’s why it is the greatest and most all-inclusive thing there is.
We don’t achieve satori through practice: practice is satori. Each and every step is the goal.
Therefore, we do not discuss intelligence as superior and stupidity as inferior. Let us not choose between clever persons and dull ones. If we make effort devotedly, that is just wholehearted pursuit of the truth. Practice-and-experience is naturally untainted. The direction of effort becomes more balanced and constant. [Nishijima]
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it is not an issue; make no distinction between the dull and the sharp-witted. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is wholeheartedly engaging the way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward is, after all, an everyday affair. [SZTP]
Kodo Sawaki Roshi
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