May Sesshin Lecture: GENJŌ-KŌAN, PARAGRAPHS 5-13
Thursday, May 26, 1966
Firewood turns into ash, and it does not turn into firewood again. But do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. We must understand that firewood is at the stage of firewood, and there must—and there we find—there we find its before and after. And yet with this past and future, its present is independent of them. Ash is at the stage of ash, and there we find its before and after. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it’s—after it is ash, so does not ret- [partial word]—so a—so man does not return to life after his death.
In this paragraph, he [Dōgen-zenji] taught us the absolute independent—independency of our various existence, which covers everything. Because it include everything, it is independent being.
So here we find the absolute liberation. When we practice zazen, concentrating ourselves on each breathing, we are absolute independent being.