Sunday, April 20, 1969
It’s—it is pretty difficult, but I will try—try to speak about purpose of our practice.
Before I try to explain our practice, I think I should explain why we practice, you know—why we should practice Zen when we have buddha-nature. And this is the great problem Dōgen-zenji had. And he worked for this question before he went to China and met with Nyojō-zenji.
And this is not, of course, so easy problem, but if you understand what do we mean when we say everyone has buddha-nature, and everything has buddha-nature. What does it mean? And he explained very carefully in Shōbōgenzō, on the—in the first chapter.
When we say “buddha-nature,” you know, you may think buddha-nature is some innate nature, you know, because we say nature. In Japanese we use same words—nature—buddha-nature. But actually it is not nature like nature of human being or nature of plant—or nature of cats or dogs, you know. It is not, strictly speaking, it is not that kind of nature.
“Nature” means something which is there whatever you do. Whatever you do, there is nature. Nature is not something which is there, you know, before you do something. When you do something, you know, at the same time, nature appears. That is nature, you know. What he meant.
You know, you—you think, you know, we have buddha-nature within ourselves or innate—as a innate nature. And because of this nature, you do something, you know. That is usual understanding of nature [laughs]. But that is not his understanding. Or it is not like some seed, you know, which is there before plant come out you know. “That is not the nature which I mean,” Dōgen-zenji said. That kind of understanding of nature is, you know, heretic understanding of nature [laughs]. It is not correct understanding of nature.