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Being yourself is Being: Itself.
If the bottom-line question is “Who am I?” ultimately, the answer has to be:
      “Here I am.”
What is ‘here?’” We must answer,

You, I, and everything are the expression of here-and-now.
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The Zen teacher Eihei Dogen famously said, “To study Buddhism is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self; to forget the self is to realize your self in each and all of the myriad things.” Whether you call it Buddhism, the Way, God, or just this, you find your true self not in ideas about who you were or fantasies of who you might become, but in being the simple things you do every day: how you hold a teacup, how you kiss your lover, how you interact with your family around the dinner table and the supper dishes, how you cooperate with the people you work with and how you work with the politicians who represent and misrepresent you in your nation and the world.

Cultivating the roots of
this means becoming intimate with all the parts of ourselves within and without, our organs and our organizations. At that point we realize we are more than just people; we are a family, a community, a nation, and the world. Better put, the world is us.

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Enlightenment is nothing special; ordinary mind is the Way. We meditate not to become enlightened, but to express how each of us already was, is, and will be enlightened together with every sentient being, every clod of mud, every bird and brick and tree.

There is no more and no less in enlightenment. You and I are each as enlightened as each other, as enlightened as our ancestors and our issue, profoundly ordinary and simple as uncarved wood.

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When we meditate in the shikantaza practice of Soto Zen, we return to ordinary mind. We do not try to stop thoughts or feelings or perceptions; we do not try to control them but we also do not let them control us. We just make room for everything. People are sometimes disappointed that this meditation does not have esoteric techniques to foster ecstatic mental states or enlightenment experiences. If you have some kind of enlightenment experience and tell a Soto Zen teacher about it, she is likely to reply, “That’s nice. What now?” It can be a little deflating to the ego to not have anything special to cling to.

Chuang Tzu says, “If a man [person] follows the mind given him and makes it his teacher, then who can be without a teacher?” When you let go of self-centered views and stop worrying about your rights and your wrongs, your set views of good and bad, everything and everyone becomes a teacher re-minding
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you of your true self. Then you can respond to all with a clear heart and a gentle smile.

When you are able to cherish everything in the world as the raw material of yourself, and cherish everything in yourself as the raw material of the world, you save yourself and save others.. Good living and right action are not virtuous or noble, but simple and harmonious; they are the ordinary ways that naturally arise when we do not interpose our discriminating mind between ourselves and the needs of the moment. This is being yourself, Being: Itself, intimate and immediate.


Beings are not numbers
the Way is touching all in each.
Delusions are myself, but creased:
the Way is unfolding.
Rightness is a swinging gate:
the Way is unhinging.
Realization is unfathomable:
the Way is flowing, still