Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Calculating The Difference

Sawaki Roshi: During World War Two, I visited a colliery and went into a coal mine in Kyushu.
Like the colliers, I put on a hat with a lamp and went down in an elevator. For some time, I thought the elevator went down steadily. Then I started to fell as if it were going up. I shined my light in the coal shaft and realized, "Oh! It's still going down." When the elevator starts going down, you actually feel that it's going down, but once the speed becomes fixed, it's possible to feel as if it were going up. That's the other side of the balance. In the ups and downs of life we are deceived by the difference in balance.
Saying, "I've got Satori!" is only feeling the difference in the balance. Saying, "I'm deluded!" is only feeling another difference in the balance. To say it's delicious or it tastes terrible, to be rich, to be poor, all are just feeling about the differences in the balance.
In most cases, common sense only shows a difference in the balance.
A human being puts his "I" into everything without knowing it. "Oh, that was good!" he sometimes says. What is good? It's just good for him, that's all.
The reason that we human beings are often exhausted is that we do things with personal profit in mind.

Uchiyama Roshi: Usually, we are terribly concerned about luck. Are there really such things as good luck and bad luck? There aren't. There are only calculating measures. Only when expect to make things profitable for ourselves, is it possible to feel that we didn't make it. Only when we compete with others, is it possible to feel the difference in the balance as loss.
True religion takes no notice of the human desire to make things profitable for ourselves or our calculating measurement. If we throw away our ordinary expectations and take an attitude of settling down on whichever side of the balance we fall, it is right there that a truly peaceful life unfolds. Doing zazen is to stop being an ordinary person.


  1. Holy cow this was such an inspiring post, Al. Thank you very much. I have a stupid section in my blog's sidebar called "Hot blog posts right now" and this post of yours is flying in there right away.

    Thank you once again. Great stuff, Dharmabro.

  2. Markus,

    No problem. I knew you'd like it. Balance. Very Nishijima-ish.