Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Buddhism is Realism

What is Buddhism? It is a very good question.
Zen Master Dogen said: Buddhism is the action of sitting. The action of sitting is Buddhism.
For me, a devotee of Master Dogen, the practical question, the real question, is: How to sit?
In essence, for almost all Zazen practitioners, there is only one way to sit: the way that accords with my habitual sense of myself.
But I think that the words of great masters of the past “Just to sit is to drop off body and mind ” suggest the existence of another way. So, for me, there is a search for this other way, which I believe to be related with the Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
It is an extraordinarily difficult and challenging search.
I do not know what Master Dogen’s Buddhism is, but I do know, I have experienced, how extremely difficult it is to understand what Master Dogen’s Buddhism is. It is more difficult than we are prone to assume.
To be asked to give up the way of sitting that accords with who I feel I am, is to be asked to give up a lot--much more than most of us are prepared to give up. It is to be asked to give up everything, to be one who does not know. To be a total loser. My ego doesn’t like that.