Each of us is a world; in this sense, we are sacred.

From the moment we are born, we construct our world. All our experiences, all our encounters at each moment with reality, participate in the creation of our world. So, each of us has our own world, made of our experiences, encounters, conceptions, memories, and traces.

Buddhist practice is to make the world of the absolute compatible with our own world, that is, to practise the alliance between the absolute and the relative. Some would say to harmonise the innate and the acquired, the world of the absolute, of unity, and the world of the relative, of infinite distinctions. This is what is said in the Sandōkai[1], which is a condensed version of Buddha’s teaching: to harmonise unity with diversity, non-thought with thought. Master Dogen tells us that a thought should last as long as the time it takes for a snowflake to melt upon contact with embers. No relative truth can last. It is their very nature to be impermanent, whereas the absolute is eternal. We must marry these two aspects.

Our subjective world and the world of the absolute exist, they respect each other. As in zazen, where an infinite number of phenomena burst to consciousness at the same time as we don’t move, we don’t comment, we don’t analyse. One foot in the absolute, one foot in the relative.

This is the true religion.

Yes, I have come to his temple to worship the eternal[2] His temple is life in all its forms, it is everyone’s world. It is in this temple that I come to worship the eternal, that I make room for the unknowable, that I put the absolute in first place. So please, stop telling yourself stories, stop inventing superstitions, stop fabricating illusions. Harmonising the absolute and the relative means letting go, dying at each moment… and being born at the same time, at each moment.

Taiun JP Faure, January 2024

[1] Buddhist sutra of the Sōtō Zen school, written by the 8th Chinese patriarch Sekitō Kisen (700-790). Translation: “Sutra of the harmony between the different and sameness”.

[2] Quote from the poet and playwright Jean Racine.

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