Saturday, April 10, 2010

Give What's There a Chance

In his “Song of Zazen,” Hakuin Zenji wrote “All beings by nature are Buddha.” How should you give Buddha a chance to prove himself as your nature? By clearing away the rubbish that obscures him. How do you clear away the rubbish? You cultivate his ground of zazen. Like Australians who clear the original ground of rubbishy exotics to give indigenous plants a chance, so settling into “Zhaozhou’s “Mu, Mu, Mu . . .” give him a chance to slip on your jacket. I don’t know of any  other way.


  1. Thank you Aitken Roshi, this is a very timely post. I'm so grateful to have had you for a teacher.

    It's so easy to be captivated by exotic weeds that destroy the ancient path, toxic words that lead to paths of ignorance.

    Zhaozhou is always welcome to share my clothes because we inhabit the same body. The body of Buddha.

  2. thanks so much for caring. all my best, michelange

  3. Dear Aitken Roshi,

    Thank you for this teaching.

    While I am reluctant to cite a poem without being able to recall the poet, perhaps Roshi, or one of the other readers here can supply the name--the poem seems so apt:

    Faces do not carvers make,
    But that away,
    Which hid them there,
    Do take.


  4. As perchance, carvers do not faces make,
    But that away, which hid them there, do take:
    Let crosses, so, take what hid Christ in thee,
    And be his image, or not his, but he.

    It is a clip from John Donne's "The Cross"

  5. Dear Aitken-Roshi,

    You have a blog! That's so cool! I met your niece, Kristi, on Facebook after I created a Valley House, Kauai, page! The internet is incredible.

  6. These "exotics", seem to be our basic sustenance...we count on them to show us the way...everyone else does too. The person who wants relief is actually an exotic themselves, so we may need to question the cultivator itself! Otherwise we may be fertilizing our exotic garden rather than pulling out the roots!