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To "forget the self' is to be as an unborn child.

A moment of Zazen is as if returned to a womb never departed, as a life without thought of its separate self. The unborn one, when very newly conceived, cannot ask where child begins or parent begins. It does not ask a reason for its living, where life is going. It cannot judge the host, it feels no disappointment, and it knows no fear of tomorrow. There can be no idea of past, no idea of future, no idea of present. The child is yet the mother, the mother just the child. Are they one or two? The body and mind of one merges into the other.

Yet, without the slightest break, the child is actualized, experienced and realized as a being by the mother, is given life by each organ of the mother, while the mother is made so precisely because there is a child.


To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly. When you first seek dharma, you imagine you are far away from its environs. At the moment when dharma is correctly transmitted, you are immediately your original self. [Aitken & Tanahashi]

To learn Buddhism is to learn ourselves. To learn ourselves is to forget ourselves. To forget ourselves is to be experienced by millions of things and phenomena. To be experienced by millions of things and phenomena is to let our own body and mind, and the body and mind of the external world, fall away. [Then] we can forget the [mental] trace of realization, and show the [real] signs of forgotten realization continually, moment by moment. When a person first seeks the Dharma, he is far removed from the borders of Dharma. But as soon as the Dharma is authentically transmitted to the person himself, he is a human being in his own true place.[Nishijima]


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