One Teisho

by Kyozan Joshu Roshi
edited by Shunko Clarke and Sōkō Humphries

If we ask, "What is it that Buddhism is teaching us?" we can answer that Buddhism is teaching us how to correctly view the "I am" self. On the one hand, Buddhism teaches that we must discard the "I am" self; on the other hand, that it is very important to correctly manifest our "I am" selves. Science is an important field of study, but it is generally based upon the "I am" point of view. Academic or scientific study is done by the "I am" self. No matter how much we study, however, the "I am" self does not disappear. If we study religion from an academic point of view, we can never move away from the "I am" self point of view. Buddhism teaches us that to the extent that we start from the "I am" point of view, we will never come to the understanding of questions such as: "What is man?" or "What is woman?" This is because we are doing our investigation from the "I am" point of view. As long as we hold to an academic point of view, we meet up with the human way of looking at things–the human point of view. No matter how much we go into our studies, since we are doing it from an "I am" point of view, we never can reach the conclusion of our investigation into the "I am" self. In this regard, we must be careful because our studies can influence our view of the state of being human. Buddhism teaches us that the state that brings us true happiness is the manifestation of the completed self. This distance is the start of the No matter how much we study, we will never lose our "I "I am" self: where does this am" selves. No matter how much we study the "I am" distance come from? self – and to the extent that we do that from the perspective of the consciousness of a limited self – we will never manifest the true self. Buddhism teaches us that we will never be successful if we try to catch the true self through our thinking. The true rescue, the true state of salvation, comes about when we dissolve the thinking self. In what way, then, does true ease of the mind and true salvation appear? I have been teaching you that "knowing" is a very important stage in being human. If we take man to be the state of "being," then we can call woman "the state of nonbeing." I have been teaching you that being and nonbeing are opposite from each other, yet inevitably they will meet. Tathagata Zen teaches that the male activity can be 1

said to represent one half of the world and the female activity to represent the other. It is inevitable, moreover, that they will encounter one other. If we personify these activities, we can imagine them saying when they meet, "Oh, I am very happy to see you." In meeting one another, however, neither can claim the whole of the experience. Zen practice also tells us that plus and minus, or the activities of male and female see and meet one another without intention. Buddhism teaches us that if there is a God, that God must contain two parts, one male, the other female. Buddhism does not recognize a creator God. Buddhism rather teaches that God is an activity which contains the character of both male and female qualities. Buddhism teaches that God is the activity of plus and minus. In Buddhism we don't use the term God; rather we use the term, Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya is comprised of the activities of plus and minus. The activity of Dharmakaya operates following a natural principle, and for practitioners new to Zen practice, it is taught that they must study and investigate the way in which the Dharma activity functions. Tathagata Zen teaches that it is not enough to simply learn about the workings of the activity that comprises the Dharmakaya: In addition to deep contemplation of plus and minus, we must also put them into practice. The Dharma activity manifests the state of sitting still without moving. However, in the human world, we cannot always just be sitting. We can not call it Zen practice if we are attached to just sitting; that activity of sitting must be broken up. Tathagata Zen teaches that the state of just sitting will be broken up, and that from that state of just sitting, what we can call the left world and the right world will appear. And when the left and right world appear, a space is created in between. So, we ask, "Why does it happen in that way? What principle is at work?" Buddhism teaches that this space or distance is the basis of everything. Now a question arises: if distance or separation is the basis of the "I am" self, where does the distance come from? Does it come down from heaven like rain, or does it rise up from the earth like water in a hot spring? How do you answer this question? Tathagata Zen teaches us that the first person who understood clearly the working of the universe was Siddhartha, the historical Buddha.
But God, or the Dharmakaya, divides into plus and minus, and in between these parts, the "I am" self arises.

What is the Tathagata? It is made of the two opposing activities of tathagata or the plus activity, and tathagata or the minus activity. Buddhism teaches that when plus activity experiences minus activity and when minus activity experiences plus activity, that from this, perfect space will arise. We have the koan which asks: "How do we manifest our true self when we see a flower?" Over the centuries, people have looked into koans in many ways, but now you should understand that a koan allows us to see the "I am" self in the proper way. How should we see it, then? In the state of the Tathagata, when plus and minus meet and unify, past and future disappear; the distance disappears and the true self is manifest. When plus and minus meet each other, they at once say, "Oh, I am happy to see you." Simply meeting however, is not the manifestation of the perfect world. The true easing of pain comes when the plus activity goes beyond the point of encountering and reaches the source of the foundation of minus activity. The minus activity does the same, passing through the encounter and entering the source of plus. When plus reaches the source of minus and minus reaches the source of plus, then the true easing of pain, a true peace of mind, is manifest. Buddhism teaches that this state is called th e manifestation of true love. In Buddhism, true love is also called Nirvana. Simply encountering one's opposite, however, does not imply salvation. In this regard, Buddhism teaches us that we must be 2

careful. When the place of encounter is broken through, plus then goes forward to reach the source of minus and in the same way, minus reaches the source of plus. But each in their turn have only experienced one half of the total world. Buddhism teaches that the activities of plus and minus desire to experience true love, but that they have not yet experienced authentic, true love. Buddhism teaches us that when we are saying, "I like this but, I don't like that," it is not the real manifestation of true love. It is often said that human beings cannot live without love. We need to experience a true love affair; we will never reach enlightenment unless we experience true love. So, to return to the essential point: male activity reaches the source of the female activity. The female activity likewise goes beyond mere encounter and passes through into the source of plus. Plus enters the foundation of minus while minus enters the foundation of plus. These activities, however, are working in opposition. This is very important; you must contemplate carefully that when plus and minus are separated from each other, distance is created in between. Plus experiences minus and minus experiences plus, but this is not an experience that arises free of limiting conditions. What kind of space is created? What kind of distance is created? If we are talking about a People fixate God and believe that God man and a woman, they arise with a distance is in heaven. But if God were to keep separating them and they appear in himself in heaven, how then could the opposition to each other. Where does the human world arise? distance come from? This is a koan which you might receive in your study of Zen Buddhism: "This distance is the start of the "I am" self: where does this distance come from?" It will perhaps sound strange, but at one time it was thought that men have white blood and women have red blood. Nowadays, people would laugh if you were to say this, but in the past, people struggled and tried very hard to make sense of the world. They came to this conclusion as a way of understanding that the qualities of male and female are different. It is no laughing matter, in any case, that distance arises when plus is at the source of minus and minus is at the source of plus. Buddhism teaches that when plus and minus separate from each other, they each receive a minute fraction of substance–we might say of "blood"–from the other. Buddhism teaches that this is the distance, this is the beginning of one's self which receives an infinitesimally small particle of white and red blood. Everyone can understand that 0.001 unit of plus combining with 0.001 unit of minus creates zero. Please try to understand this very carefully. If 0.001 unit of minus and 0.001 unit of plus combine, it makes zero, that is, it is the imperfect zero. Perfect zero has perfect plus on the inside and perfect minus on the outside, so it is the case that these two zeros are different. Buddhism teaches that you and your parents are born at the same time. We all tend to think that our parents' births precede our own, so when we hear the Buddhist explanation we say to ourselves, "How could that be so?" However, if you understand the creation of the world by God, or, as we call it in Buddhism, Dharmakaya, then you will understand that even within God are functioning the activities of plus and minus. If God did not split into two, the human world would never arise. But God, or the Dharmakaya divides into plus and minus, and in between these parts, the "I am" self arises. So Buddhism teaches us that when God divides into two parts–plus and minus, the world of past, present and future, and you and your parents– all of us arise. I think this kind of logic is unique to Buddhism. Only Buddhism teaches in this way. People fixate God and believe that God is in heaven. But if God were to keep himself in heaven, how then could the human world arise? Buddhism addresses this problem by saying that if one is not 3

fixating one's self, then that self is with God. When God is in heaven, then I am in heaven as well. If I go to hell, then God will come along with me. If I do some stupid thing, then God does the stupid thing with me. From the beginning, Buddhism emphasizes the importance of not fixating God.

The Dharma which forms all has never had a persona, but when we look upon it as a perfect personality we must look upon it as an activity which has no will or desire and hence as an activity free from the concepts of good and evil.

The Dharma is always manifesting a single body without birth or death.

The manifestation of the oneness of subject and object is not an object of thought. So it is called, in Japanese, ‘hishiryo’, the place of no thought.

From ‘Shin Jin Mei: The Song of Manifesting True Self’; an interpretive translation into modern Japanese by Joshu Sasaki Roshi. English translation by Shinzen Young. ©2004 RinzaiJi Inc.


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful