Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#2289 - Monday, October 17, 2005 - Editor:Gloria Lee

Unconscious people read the scriptures
like parrots saying Ram, Ram,
in their cages.

It's all pretend-knowledge.
Read rather, with me, every
living moment as prophecy.

- Lalla
14th Century North Indian mystic

  posted to Along the Way  

photo by Alan Larus      

"Realization makes
Every place a temple,
The absolute endows
All beings with the true eye.
When you come to grasp it,
You find it was ever
Before your eyes.
If you can see clear
What is before your very eyes,
It is what fills the ten directions;
When you see what fills
The ten directions,
You find it is only what is before your eyes."

    posted to AlphaWorld    

  Typed from: ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice by Shunryu Suzuki’ 

BOWING pages 43 - 461

‘Bowing is a very serious practice. You should be prepared to bow, even in your last moment. Even though it is impossible to get rid of our self-centered desires, we have to do it. Our true nature wants us to.’
After zazen we bow to the floor nine times. By bowing we are giving up ourselves. To give up ourselves means to give up our dualistic ideas. So there is no difference between zazen practice and bowing. Usually to bow means to pay our respects to something which is more worthy of respect than ourselves. But when you bow to Buddha you should have no idea of Buddha, you just become one with Buddha, you are already Buddha himself. When you become one with Buddha, one with everything that exists, you find the true meaning of being. When you forget all your dualistic ideas, everything becomes your teacher, and everything can be the object of worship.

When everything exists within your big mind, all dualistic relationships drop away. There is no distinction between heaven and earth, man and woman, teacher and disciple. Sometimes a man bows to a woman; sometimes a woman bows to a man. Sometimes the disciple bows to the master; sometimes the master bows to the disciple. A master who cannot bow to his disciple cannot bow to Buddha. Sometimes the master and disciple bow together to Buddha. Sometimes we may bow to cats and dogs.

In your big mind, everything has the same value. Everything is Buddha himself. You see something or hear a sound, and there you have everything just as it is. In your practice you should accept everything as it is, giving to each thing the same respect given to a Buddha. Here there is Buddhahood. Then Buddha bows to Buddha, and you bow to yourself. This is the true bow.

If you do not have this firm conviction of big mind in your practice, your bow will be dualistic. When you are just yourself, you bow to yourself in its true sense, and you are one with everything. Only when you are you yourself can you bow to everything in its true sense. Bowing is a very serious practice. You should be prepared to bow even in your last moment; when you cannot do anything except bow, you should do it. This kind of conviction is necessary. Bow with this spirit and all the precepts, all the teachings are yours, and you will posses everything within your big mind.

Sen no Rikyu, the founder of the Japanese tea ceremony, committed hara-kiri (ritual suicide by disembowelment) in 1591 at the order of his lord, Hideyoshi. Just before Rikyu took his own life he said, ‘When I have this sword there is no Buddha and no Patriarchs.’ He meant that when we have the sword of big mind, there is no dualistic world. The only thing which exists is this spirit. This kind of imperturbable spirit was always in Rikyu’s tea ceremony. He never did anything in just a dualistic way; he was ready to die in each moment. In ceremony after ceremony he died, and he renewed himself. This is the spirit of the tea ceremony. This is how we bow.
My teacher had a callus on his forehead from bowing. He knew he was an obstinate, stubborn fellow, and so he bowed and bowed and bowed. The reason he bowed was that inside himself he always heard his master’s scolding voice. He had joined the Soto order when he was thirty, which for a Japanese priest is rather late. When we are young we are less stubborn, and it is easier to get rid of our selfishness. So his master always called my teacher ‘You-lately-joined-fellow,’ and scolded him for joining so late. Actually his master loved him for his stubborn character. When my teacher was seventy, he said, ‘When I was young I was like a tiger, but now I am like a cat!’ He was very pleased to be like a cat.

Bowing helps to eliminate our self-centered ideas. This is not so easy. It is difficult to get rid of these ideas, and bowing is a very valuable practice. The result is not the point; it is the effort to improve ourselves that is valuable. There is no end to this practice.

Each bow expresses one of the four Buddhist vows. These vows are: ‘Although sentient beings are innumerable, we vow to save them. Although our evil desires are limitless, we vow to be rid of them. Although the teaching is limitless, we vow to learn it all. Although Buddhism is unattainable, we vow to attain it.’ If it is unattainable how can we attain it? But we should! That is Buddhism.

To think, ‘Because it is possible we will do it,’ is not Buddhism. Even though it is impossible, we have to do it because our true nature wants us to. But actually, whether or not it is possible is not the point. If it is our inmost desire to get rid of our self-centered ideas, we have to do it. When we make this effort, our inmost desire is appeased and Nirvana is there. Before you determine to do it, you have difficulty, but once you start to do it, you have none. Your effort appeases your inmost desire. There is no other way to attain calmness. Calmness should be found in activity itself. We say, ‘It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness.’

After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet, but as you keep walking you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, ‘Oh, this pace is terrible!’ But actually it is not. When you get wet in a fog it is very difficult to dry yourself. There is no need to worry about progress. It is like studying a foreign language; you cannot do it all of a sudden, but by repeating it over and over you will master it. This is the Soto way of practice. We can say either that we make progress little by little, or that we do not even expect to make progress. Just to be sincere and make our full effort in each moment is enough. There is no Nirvana outside our practice.
Published by WEATHERHILL New York & Tokyo

posted by Ben Hassine  

    To divide and particularize is in the mind's
very nature.  There is no harm in dividing.
But separation goes against fact.  Things
and people are different, but they are not
separate.  Nature is one, reality is one. 
There are opposites, but no opposition.

                          - Nisargadatta Maharaj

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

"I Am That"
Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The Acorn Press, 1973

posted to Along the Way

photo by Alan Larus      

One instant is eternity;

By Wu Men (Hui-k'ai)
(1183 - 1260)

English version by Stephen Mitchell

One instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.

top of page