SUMMER SESSHIN: FIRST NIGHT LECTURE
“I Don’t Know Zazen”
In our practice, the most important thing [is] to—to know—to know. “To know” is that we have buddha-nature. Our practice—real practice happens when realization of buddha-nature take place. Intellectually we know that we have buddha-nature, and that is what was taught by Buddha.
But to know buddha-nature—when you know that we have buddha-nature, at the same time you will know that even though we have buddha-nature, you know, it is rather difficult to accept it. At the same time, we have various evil nature. And buddha-nature is something beyond good and bad, but our everyday life is going [on] in realm of good and bad. So there is—there is two—twofold of duality. One is duality of good and bad, and the other is duality of good and bad—realm of good and bad, and realm of the world where there is no good and no bad.
And our everyday life is going [on] in realm of good and bad—the realm of duality. And buddha-nature or our absolute nature is found in the realm of absolute where there is no good and bad. Our practice is to go beyond the realm of good and bad and to realize the one absolute world—to enter the one absolute world is our practice. If I say in this way it is rather—it may rather difficult to understand.
Hashimoto-rōshi, the famous Zen master who passed away last year or 1967, I think, explained this point. “It is”—I think I told you once—”It is like a—to—to prepare a food,” you know. We prepare food—various food—you separate: rice is here, and pickles are here, and soup is in middle bowl. We don’t cook like a gruel all the time [laughs]—soup and rice and everything in one bowl. Even though, you know, to cook—to prepare food separately, you know, in each bowl is the—our usual world—world of seeming. And—but when you eat it, you know, in your tummy, you know, soup and rice and pickles and everything—goma-shio—and everything [gets all] [laughs] mixed up and you don’t know what is—which is goma-shio or rice. That is the world of absolute [laughter]. As long as goma-shio is goma-shio, and separately prepared on the plate, it doesn’t work—like your intellectual understanding of Buddhism. It doesn’t work. [Laughs, laughter.] That is book knowledge.