Saturday, February 17, 2007

(1d) Ascending beyond buddha

At times, when I am sitting, I deeply experience the three poisons. I am greedy. I am angry. I am lost, worried, confused. A seed of salvation at those times might lie in the middle of each line -- in the am, the are, the is.

If my response to experience of being eaten by three poisons is to try to become free of the three poisons, to aim to make myself into a buddha, then the situation really is hopeless.

There are various kinds of non-Buddhist. I don’t know what kind I am. But I do know that it is very vital for me in my practice as a non-Buddhist not to try to become buddha. Not trying to become buddha is the hallmark of a non-Buddhist -- whether the non-Buddhist is practicing his non-Buddhism in a brothel, on a bar-stool, or on a round black sitting cushion.

So should we conclude that it is in being, not in trying, that non-buddha ascends beyond?

No! That proposition sounds like the empty views of those existentialist philosophers, Alexander teachers, Shakespearean actors and the like, who have never seen Master Dogen’s ultimate teaching in a dream.

When the straight truth of sitting-meditation spontaneously emerges, it might sound more like this:

Ascending beyond trying and being, it is in sitting in the lotus posture -- putting right foot on left thigh and left foot on right thigh, and just sitting upright -- that non-buddha ascends beyond.

When I am sitting, the fact that I am might contain a seed of salvation; but ascending beyond I am, non-buddha is sitting.

Such, as I understand it just now, is the first and most important part of Master Dogen’s rules of sitting-meditation.

The secret is in the preparation.


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