If we’re already
innately buddhas, why practice
so hard, for so long? The answer is practice must
be done to be real. This is what separates the sheep
from the goats (those who read about Buddhism). Direct
personal experience shapes ones life.
All beings, the Buddha
recognzed with his enlightenment, share
the innate wisdom and perfection and goodness of the
Buddha; but they don’t realize it. And so we
practice first of all so that we can integrate this
we find we can dispense with — and grow into
a personal, palpable experience of what the Buddha
taught. To go beyond intellectualizing and superficial
understanding, we practice as a way of manifesting
the fact that we are already Buddhas.
This is the confluence of practice and realization
Not as two separate things but as a unity: practice
is realization, realization is practice. And we observe
Enlightenment: the goal?
Do we practice to "become enlightened?"
You may hear or read that the prupose
of Zen practice is to have a consistently clear
and deep enlighrenment. You may also hear that we practice
to realize — that is to recognize personally
— the enlightenment that has been our essence
Neither of these perspectives is wrong. Nor do they
contradict each other. Our task is to penetrate
this seemingly dichotomy and to understand.
Enlightenment is Buddha nature. How will
you know this? Practice.
of our practice is not to become something
other than what we already are, such
as a buddha or enlightened person, but
to realize or become aware of the fact
that we are intrinsically, originally,
the Way itself, free and complete. If
we practice to become something else,
we simply put another head on top of
our own, making ourselves ghosts. One
head is enough! Taizan