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“Sometimes we talk about our clothing; sometimes we talk about our body. But neither body nor clothing is actually we ourselves. We ourselves are the big activity. We are just expressing the smallest particle of the big activity,that is all. So it is all right to talk about ourselves, but actually there is no need to do so. Before we open our moths, we are already expressing the big existence, including ourselves. So the purpose of talking about ourselves is to correct the misunderstanding we have when we are attached to any particular temporal form or color of the big activity. It is necessary to talk about what our body is and what our activity is so that we may not make any mistake about them, so to talk about ourselves is actually to forget about ourselves.Dogen-zenji said, “To study Buddhism is to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves.” When you become attached to a temporal expression of your true nature, it is necessary to talk about Buddhism, or else you will think the temporal expression is it. But this particular expression of it is not it. And yet at the same time it is it. For a while this is it, for the smallest particle of time this is it. But it is not always so: the very next instant it is not so, thus this is not it. So that you will realize this fact, it is necessary to study Buddhism. But the purpose of studying Buddhism is to study ourselves and to forget ourselves. When we forget ourselves, we actually are the true activity of the big existence, or reality itself. When we realize this fact, there is no problem whatsoever in this world, and we can enjoy our life without feeling any difficulties. The purpose of our practice is to be aware of this fact.”
– Shunryu Suzuki – from Hardcore Dharma’s January 16th 2009 reading selection of Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind.
Dear Shunryu Suzuki,
I surrender. I know that the reason you lead me through these rhetorical hoops is to express the inexpressible. I admit that I am the smallest particle of the biggest activity and I admit that any grasp of comprehension that I hold on to from your words is actually a reinforcement of my small-mind. Because there’s nothing to hold on to, not even comprehension of concepts. Therefore I understand that the minute I think I understand I don’t understand. And the minute it is written down it becomes even less of what it is. Check.
I am going to get a coffee now.