In the Fukanzazengi, Dogen says that the secret of zazen is non thinking [hishiryo]. This is neither thinking [shiryo] or not thinking [fushiryo].


By way of comparison, we can examine non doing. In the Chinese tradition there is wu wei, the watercourse way. Just as the water will respond appropriately to its environment, in non doing we act appropriate to our actual situation, and that acting comes from a position of non dualism, not ego. It is spontaneous fitting action.


Applying that to non thinking, we can envisage a state whereby thought is liberated from thought, language is liberated from language and the world, liberated from both, becomes vivid and alive. And this liberated thought and liberated world are no longer separate.


Time is the cornerstone of delusion. Because there is persistence, things can exist. Because there are things, events can occur in time, they can occur in the world, they can occur in your life. And so, the original wholeness of our experience is stretched and dualised.


For Dogen, what is primary is exertion, expression, full dynamic functioning; the exemplar of which is zazen. It is not that time and space do not exist. Rather, they are aspects of full dynamic functioning.


It is our duty as Buddhists to save the beauty of this from being crushed under the railway tracks of linear time.


The Buddhist way has both practice and study. Practice is primary but study is necessary. Otherwise, we are likely to be blown about by our unexamined assumptions.


But theory can be a trap. One wall provides shelter, but four walls can be a prison.


I must have chanted the Heart Sutra several thousand times, perhaps more.


If I imagine that these have occurred within my life, and my life occurs within time, suffering can never be alleviated.


Although it may sound absurd, if we say the heart Sutra is chanting me, is chanting all practitioners, in all times, at this time, then something which we have held tight and concealed can start to alter.


And it is not just the Heart Sutra.


We have to understand that we are not the container of life, we are its’ expression.


The Net of Indra is one of the most beautiful images in Buddhism. We are asked to imagine existence as an infinity of infinitely faceted jewels, in infinite space, each reflecting everything.


We can speculate that the image could be derived from looking up at the star filled sky, endless and infinite.


Of course, we now know that some of these stars are no longer there. We are just seeing their light. From the perspective of the star’s ego, it no longer exists. From the perspective of the universe, it does.

The teaching is like this.

Life – and – death is like this.

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