my own body, looking for Buddha elsewhere is to lack the realizationthat my very own body is Suchness itself. If I realize that Suchness and Iare one and the same thing, Š„kyamuni, Amit„bha, Bhai¤ajya-guru, andall the myriad Buddhas of the ten directions, Samantabhadra, Mañjušr‡, Avalokitešvara, Maitreya, and the myriad bodhisattvas are not apart frommy very own body.
Therefore, we are the body of Suchness: as one thinks thus, in theevening and in daylight, in action, standing still, sitting and lying down, without forgetting, and keeps it in one’s mind, there is no doubt aboutthe fact that this very body itself is the Buddha. If so, then, believing inthe teaching of the Esoteric (Shingon) sect, wherein one is enjoined tothink: “I am Mah„vairocana,” this very body itself is Buddha. All my actions and movements become the sign of Suchness. Therefore, every utterance of the tongue, every word, is itself true mantra. Every form of the body, every movement, is itself the secret mudra. Every thought andevery memory is the Central Point of Veneration (
). Every delu-sive idea and thought is itself Esoteric contemplation. Have this mind in you, do not forget: keep it in mind, this very body itself is Buddha. Imyself am Suchness. I myself am Mah„vairocana.
The doctrine of originary enlightenment expressed in its most extremeform is an af³rmation of
ordinary human being
, full of desiresand delusions and imperfections, as nothing less than the perfection of Buddhahood itself. In other words, it af³rms that
this very selfis Buddha
,that there is nothing that is not Buddha, and that what is called “attain-ment of Buddhahood” is nothing but realizing the fact that one already isBuddha
just as one is
. Consequently, to aspire to Buddhahood in the con- ventional sense, that is, by leaving home, entering a monastery, taking uprigorous discipline and religious practice of meditation, is to pursue a mis-guided ideal if one does so thinking that one could thereby become whatone is not (that is, a Buddha).On the basis of this logic, Š„kyamuni—the historical Buddha who was born in India and who attained enlightenment after years of arduouspractice, who taught the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path andestablished the sangha—is considered only a “provisional” Buddha, as with the other Buddhas named in the sutras. This very body, here andnow—
is the real Buddha.This extreme form of the doctrine of originary enlightenment couldeasily (and has) become an excuse for religious laxity or the abandonmentof practice altogether, or could lead to rationalizations of immoral or irre-
RUBEN L. F. HABITO