To study the Way, to practice the Way, is to study oneself. To study oneself is to forget oneself. To forget oneself is to become one with all beings.
To practice the Way is to forget oneself.
To study the Way is not to study in the academic way, in books. To study is to confirm the teaching of Buddha by the practice, through the practice. It’s like learning to swim: you don’t learn it in a book, you learn it in the swimming pool or in the sea.
To study the Way is to practice selflessness at every moment, to practice impermanence, to practice interdependence, to take the others into consideration. This has nothing to do with studying the teachings at your desk. Some people study the sutras like we study a novel, a writer, at school. All the sutras, all the teachings of Buddha come from zazen and all invite us to sit zazen. All the teachings point at the practice, urge us to practice. All the teachings need to be studied in practice, through the practice.
Some people tell me: “I’m afraid of becoming a Buddhist. I’m afraid that the teaching might not be right. So I ponder.” It’s only by putting the teaching into practice that you will know whether or not it is right.
You can’t spare yourself to have to go through the real thing. When the Master points at the Moon, when the Master, through his teachings, invites people to experience awakening, the fool looks at the finger, the fool studies in books, studies words. All the finger does is to point at the Moon. The teachings of Buddha point at Awakening.
Some people could be tempted to study the teaching of Buddha to shine in company. The sole purpose of Buddha’s teaching is to urge us, to encourage us to experience pure existence, impermanence and interdependence.
To someone who was asking: “What is the use of your teaching?”, the Master replied: “To soothe the crying baby.”
In the end, the teaching tells us: “As you are, you are Buddha.” There’s nothing to do, there’s nothing to fabricate, all there is to do is to accept reality without running all over the place, without complaining, without asking other people to practice in our place. Don’t remain at the superficial level of words, don’t remain at the surface of thing, don’t remain at the level of the wavelets of your mind, but go deep down in the boundless ocean.
Taiun JP Faure, january 2022