HOW TO GROW A LOTUS BLOSSOM: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg


Section XXIV
The Eyes of the Spirit

If you cannot see Him all through your life, you must be an undutiful being--already you were, are and will be the children of Buddha but, if you are undutiful, a thousand Buddhas cannot help you.


--Great Master Keizen
Denkoroku (The Transmission of the Light)

 

Faith

When I first began meditating, and later when I became a monk, I was following a deep intuition and conviction that this is what I needed to do. I did not have a clear idea why I was beginning to walk the Path of the Buddhas and Ancestors. Now I know much more clearly why I began meditating and why I became a monk. Yet that knowledge does me no good unless I continue to exercise the same faith with which I began training.

That faith has nothing to do with opinions, theories, "isms", worldly wisdom and knowledge, dogmatic belief, sceptical doubt, competence, privilege, adequacy or inadequacy. I did not acquire faith: I was born with it, as is every other human being. I can turn my back on it or treasure it, but I cannot create it. And I cannot destroy the seed of faith that is within me, for its origin lies in the Buddha Nature Itself, and this True Nature is not subject to my personal will.

For me, Buddhist training is, above all else, the exercise of my own innate capacity to manifest faith.

For me, to insist on depending only on the physical senses and the brain, while refusing to actualize my innate potential for faith, would be to wilfully blind myself to what is Real. Faith is my spiritual eyes.

I treasure the forms of training that have been Transmitted to me because they help me exercise faith. Yet always it is important to remember that looking up in faith does not depend upon any particular external forms. It is a volitional act of the mind.

Trip-wires

If I blind myself spiritually by wilfully ignoring spiritual intuition I stumble immediately over the trip-wires of good and evil.

Rev. Master so often cautioned, "Do not see evil where evil does not exist." Human life is the perfect arena in which to practice recognising Buddha in all beings and all situations. To be born as a human being is the perfect form of rebirth for practicing not seeing evil where evil does not exist.

If I would avoid the trip-wires of good and evil, I must take everything that happens as being for my good. This means bowing; and it means being willing to look for the Teaching in all beings and all situations.

The Precepts have been Transmitted down through the ages in order to help those who wish to take everything that happens as being for their good. The real evil is evil-mindedness--creating clouds in a clear sky. The real good is to recognize Buddha: "Wherever I go, I am able to meet Him: I am not Him; He is all of me." (Great Master Tozan)

The Eternal

Can an ordinary human being do this?

An ordinary human being can do it when that ordinary human being remembers to pause and turn within; when he remembers to look up rather than down; above all, when he remembers to ask the Eternal for help with the naive mind of a child.

When I make room in my mind and heart for faith, I know that there is the Eternal. When I do not make this room in my mind and heart, I blind myself. When I blind myself, I suffer. Suffering eventually reminds me to remember to turn toward the Eternal, to rely upon the Eternal. And thus, the compassionate working of karma, which is in no way separate from the Compassion of the Eternal, helps me at all times.

What the Buddha is to me, what Rev. Master is to me, is embodied in this living reality of the Goodness beyond good and evil that lies at the very heart of existence. The Great Immaculacy flows on and on. Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett pointed the way for me to find It and know It as she found It and knew It. Only by my own training can I show my gratitude.

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