Harmonising, simplicity and daily ordering
In living with Zen, and with a regular practice, we’re acknowledging and respecting our innate Buddha mind, our individual Buddha hearts and of course our own Buddha nature. So the essence of our life becomes in regularly placing ourselves in a silent, simple place of harmonising with humanity.
Living simply and in the moment becomes the daily ordering principle which brings not only a peaceful tranquil mind, but also the tremendous joy of being able to bring the sacred into life on a daily basis. Sounds more than sane to me.
Maybe I should have called this blog: “sanity by zen“. Not such a crazy thought, as much of life is about man’s struggle with himself [when reading “man’s”, read “humanity’s”].
So, zen has simply always been about this struggle with ourself and trying to find inner peace and harmony. And my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a regular routine have on us, is “Zenity”. These are 3 steps with this simplicity at essence.
I’m always re-reading “You Have to Say Something” Dainin Katagiri’s book, and Master Katagiri talks so well with the beginner in mind, about daily routine.
Beginner’s mind is what is valued in practising living simply with zen, because it means you have an open, innocent and enquiring attitude to life every day. Bring this mind into your daily routine.
So, the daily routine, here is the essence of what Master Katagiri says: “Getting up is only a tiny activity. It is not unusual – everyone does it. Although there is nothing outstanding about it, the goldenness of the earth is found in just such activities in everyday life.
“But instead of attending to such details, we form habitual ways of behaviour by attending to our desires. This is no way to live. We will never satisfy ourselves through such means. If you really want to please yourself, just forget your longing and attend to your daily life.
“In this we find ‘goldenness’.
Awaken to Each Moment
“Taking hold of the tiller of the boat of life, grabbing an oar, is called living in vow – aspiring to awaken each moment. To live in vow is to take care of all the little details of life. Like getting up in the morning. When it is time to get up, just get up.
“Free your mind from the thinking about having to get up. This is the way to enter the doors of a golden, peaceful world.”
“Sweet milk of the long rivers”
I have precis’d the above but in essence what Master Katagiri was referring to is a saying of zen master Dogen Zenjo, the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan: “the wind of Buddhism makes manifest the great Earth’s goldenness, and makes ripen the sweet milk of the long rivers.”
Dogen likened life to riding in a boat.
Most people just ride the boat of the Universe, but this is actually just drifting. And in order to sail across the ocean of human life, we must see the earth as golden and taste the rivers as sweet milk.
Take hold of the tiller of the boat of life, grabbing an oar, and aspire to awaken each moment.
So much of Zen is simply beautiful and sweetly poetic.