Everyday Zen: Love and Work (Plus)

“Talking is just the finger pointing at the moon.”
“But when we practice in this way, becoming aware of everything that enters our life (whether internal or external), our life begins to transform. And we gain strength and insight and even live at times in the enlightened state, which simply means experiencing life as it is. It’s not a mystery.”
“Then we can attempt the next stage: an intelligent, persistent filtering of the various characteristics of mind and body through zazen. We begin to see our patterns: we begin to see our desires, our needs, our ego drives, and we begin to realize that these patterns, these desires, these addictions are what we call the self.”
“Suppose we are out on a lake and it’s a bit foggy - not too foggy, but a bit foggy - and we’re rowing along in our little boat having a good time. And then, all of the sudden, coming out of the fog, there’s this other rowboat and it’s heading right at us. And...crash! Well, for a second we’re really angry - what is that fool doing? I just painted my boat! And here he comes - crash! - right into it! And then suddenly we notice that the rowboat is empty. What happens to our anger? WEll, the anger collapses...I’ll just have to paint my boat again, that’s all. But if that rowboat that hit ours had another person in it, how would we react? You know what would happen! Now our encounters with life, with other people, with events, are like being bumped by an empty rowboat. But we don’t experience life that way. WE experience it as though there are people in that other rowboat and we’re really getting clobbered by the,. What am I talking about when I say that all of life is an encounter, a collision with an empty rowboat? What’s that all about?”
“He who knows does not say, and he who says does not know.” When we talk about practice all the time, our talk is another form of resistance, a barrier, a cover. It’s like academics who save the world every night at the dinner table. They talk and talk and talk - but what difference does it make? At the other end of the ple would be someone like Mother Teresa. I don’t think she does much talk. She is busy doing.”
“I’m not suggesting a new ideal for us to chase after. The man running away from the tiger, shaking with fear, is the dharma. Whatever you are is the dharma. So as you sit, and as you struggle and feel miserable or confused, just be that. If you are blissful, just be that - but don’t cling to it. Then each moment is just what each moment is. WIth such patient practice, we see the error of our exclusive identification with our mind and body; we begin to understand.”
“Expectation, on the other hand, is always unsatisfying, because it comes from our little minds, our egos. Starting way back in childhood, we live our lives looking for satisfaction outside ourselves.”
“Zen practice is shutting the door on a dualistic view of life, and this takes commitment. When you wake up in the morning and don’t want to go to the zendo, shut the door on that. Put your foot out of bed and go. If you feel lazy during work, shut the door on that and do your best. In relationships, shut the door on the criticism and unkindness. In zazen, shut the door on dualism and open up to life as it is. Very slowly, as we learn to experience our suffering instead of running from it, life is revealed to us as joy.”