Sometimes questions and answers arrive together. There have been interesting discussions in both the Practice Committee and Senior Staff meetings this week, touching on our priorities at City Center, where we put our energies, how we manifest practice, on the one hand in regard to work practice for residents, but also about how we present it to the people who come to the temple. Was it, for example, too much of a scary proposition to tell people that the way to practise is to make it your life, and not just something to dip into?
A phrase from the Harada Roshi book came to mind yesterday when we were talking about this: "To speak of 'Everyday Mind' is to look upon your whole life from morning until evening as the way and as your practice". And then Blanche last night started her talk by quoting from a 1966 lecture on the Genjo Koan, given by Suzuki Roshi, in the days before City Center or even Tassajara:
"What I noticed here, you know, in observing your practice, you are not completely involved in practice—our practice. Your practice is part of [laughs] you—just a small part of your life. One hour or two hours in 12—24 hours [laughs]. That is your practice. So instead of practicing zazen here two hours, you think you can do something—if there is something good, better—it may be better to do something [laughs]—something else instead of practicing zazen. This is—I think you [laughs]—still you have this kind of attitude.
But Buddhism is not—our practice is not like that. Our practice—if we are not completely involved in our practice, that is not our practice. It is not one hour of 24 hours. So if you—if I scold you, you may [laughs]—you may go out. If I give you some candy, you will stay here [laughs, laughter]. I dare say you are impossible [laughs, laughter]. You are just like child [laughs], because, you know, you lack in—you lack in your confidence to study it as a whole life study. Actually, you cannot get out of Buddhism. It is impossible to get out of it, but still you think you can, you know, go out from Buddhism, go out from Zen—from this zendō. Actually, once you enter, that’s all [laughs, laughter]. Some day you’ll have to come back. I know that [laughs]. I myself tried to get out of it many times [laughs], but I couldn’t".