or how to become a true human being

Our social life is governed by codes: codes of good behaviour, codes of decency, codes of politeness… The important thing is to live out these codes with a sincere, open, pure heart. The form must be in accordance with the substance. You can’t come with a big smile to a person and deep inside, not respect this person. Our practice is to unify form and content, that everything is done wholeheartedly, that the form is the expression of our heart.

We often say in Zen Buddhism that the form must not be the guest of the heart, something coming from outside to clothe the heart – this is the true practice. At first, when we are children, we are told:  “Be polite, say hello, say thank you…” But the adult form must be the expression of the Buddha heart deep inside us. This is the true spiritual practice.

When you bow in gasshô[1] in front of somebody, you come back to reality, with mind and body in unity. You bow out of respect for this person, without any weapon, without any evil thought about this person. The right behaviour is neither theatre nor formalism.

At first, the child mimics good manners. He is taught forms, but it’s up to him to fill these forms with his deep heart, with his open heart, this is the practice.

You cannot say something and think the opposite. We must be careful not to fall into the world of entertainment, the world of appearances, of images. Some people only live by the image they give, they live in the eye of the other. We must go beyond, become a true human being. So that there is unity from deep inside us to the surface. It’s something intimate, only we can cleanse our deepest mind, keep our heart open; no one else can do it for us.

To go forward in the world with an open heart, unarmed and unarmoured… difficult but so necessary!

Knowing the path that leads straight to the heart, practising that path, nurturing it, preventing brambles from invading it, returning to our deepest nature, to our pure heart, to our Buddha dimension – some would say to our divine dimension.

Forms are not the guests of the heart, they are the expression of the heart, they must come from deep inside us. Therefore we have to go deep down inside ourselves, go to the end.

Taiun JP Faure, July 2023

[1] Gasshô : Bow with the hands joined at the level of the face

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