What would it be like to be truly content with what we have? You can understand that in regard to material things, of course, but I also mean it in regard to our life in total. What would it be like to walk down the street like that? Not imagining what you’re going or where you’re coming from but being content with whatever the street, the world, has to offer at exactly that moment in time. Dogen said it would be like this: “The mind and the externals are just thus. The gate of liberation is open. What? Let me explain.
At the Zen center we have a few beautiful tea bowls made by a Japanese potter, all of which are chipped now, because people wash them and stack them in the metal racks and they’re very fragile. Suzuki Roshi had the same problem with the teacups in his own Zen center. A student complained to Suzuki about the cups. He smiled and said, “You just don’t know how to handle them. You have to adjust yourself to the environment, not vice versa.”
This is what Dogen was saying, too. The gate of liberation is always open. Liberation from what? Liberation from waling around in a dream, like a zombie looking for contentment outside your immediate and precious life. If only you could actually recognize and receive what is here in front of you, rather than what you wish were here instead. What is that so hard? I don’t know but I do know that I certainly have a tendency to want to adjust my environment to myself, not the other way around. Instead, is it possible for us to constantly give thanks for whatever our life gives us? This is how to practice being truly content with what we have- even when it seems impossible.
~Koshin Paley Ellison
where did you lose sight of what is clear?
inquiry for today~ maybe then- it’s a fresh new day.
When setting out on a journey,
do not seek advice from those
who have never left home.