On the occasion of the New Year greetings ceremony, the abbot of Eiheiji wrote:
Buddha’s blessings are like clouds.
They rain down on all living beings.
Our individual lives are supported, nourished by the life of the universe. We receive our life from all that surrounds us. We grow up continuously absorbing, feeding on the life of the universe; this is how our own life, that we believe is independent, develops.
Yesterday, during the Repentance ceremony, someone reminded us of the essence of our practice: “I promise not to follow my thoughts any longer, but rather to attain my Buddha dimension, my innermost heart. I promise not to keep turning over my failures.”
In the end, if we are not careful, we spend all our life in the world of thoughts. We think about our past mistakes, we think about our future mistakes. We try to find a solution in our thoughts, while the root solution is to come back to Buddha, to come back to silence, to come back to a vast mind, free from all points of view.
True love is to be present to the world, to be open to the others. Often people come to me and ask me: “Just tell me what you think, and then I’ll tell you what I think. We could exchange our thoughts…”
True love is to open our innermost heart. To want still more thoughts is the attitude of a thief. Because we identify with our thoughts, we think that our wealth is our thoughts. Our wealth is our Buddha heart, our unlimited mind, our presence to the world. We receive our life from the life of the universe. There is no discontinuity between our life and the life of the universe, no separation. True love is to keep our heart open in front of the myriad of existences, it is not to lock ourselves up in our agitated thoughts. Zen masters say, in a somewhat abrupt way: At the slightest consideration, you ramble.”
The Abbot of Eiheiji ends his greetings by writing:
I am determined at the beginning of the year to endeavour in every way
to make this year a wonderful year on planet Earth.
Too often, we like to rub our points of view against the points of view of others. It is a way of warming each other up. But this way to warm one another up is the way that sets the universe in fire. The warmth of the patriarchs is totally different; it comes from our innermost heart, from opening our heart, from unconditional love for all existences.
Don’t be mistaken about what true love, true warmth are. Heated discussions, continuous distinctions bring neither peace, nor the profound warmth that humankind so greatly needs.
The true mind is clarity itself. Do not mix up the productions of the mind with the mind itself – Master Dōgen speaks of the excretions of the mind. He even talks about the excrements of the mind. Don’t exchange your excrements. Meet the others with an open mind. Such is the warmth of the patriarchs.
If we understand that, we contribute to a happy life on planet Earth.
In a very famous teaching, Buddha Shakyamuni said: “What human beings can do best is to gather, wait and be quiet.”
Taiun JP Faure, January 2023