Talks on Zen Stories
Talks given from 03/01/80 am to 10/01/80 am
English Discourse series
Year published: 1982
Chapter title: The Heart of Knowing is Now
3 January 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Archive code: 8001030
Length: 0 mins
ASCENDING TO THE HIGH SEAT, DOGEN ZENJI SAID: "ZEN MASTER HOGEN STUDIED WITH KEISHIN
ONCE KEISHIN ZENJI ASKED HIM, JOZA, WHERE DO YOU GO?'
HOGEN SAID. 'I AM MAKING PILGRIMAGE AIMLESSLY.'
KEISHIN SAID, 'WHAT IS THE MATTER OF YOUR PILGRIMAGE?'
HOGEN SAID, 'I DON'T KNOW.'
KEISHIN SAID, 'NOT KNOWING IS THE MOST INTIMATE.'
HOGEN SUDDENLY ATTAINED GREAT ENLIGHTENMENT."
ZEN IS JUST ZEN. There is nothing comparable to it. It is unique -- unique in the sense that it is the
most ordinary and yet the most extraordinary phenomenon that has happened to human consciousness. It is
the most ordinary because it does not believe in knowledge, it does not believe in mind. It is not a
philosophy, not a religion either. It is the acceptance of the ordinary existence with a total heart, with one's
total being, not desiring some other world, supra-mundane, supra-mental. It has no interest in any esoteric
nonsense, no interest in metaphysics at all. It does not hanker for the other shore; this shore is more than
enough. Its acceptance of this shore is so tremendous that through that very acceptance it transforms this
shore -- and this very shore becomes the other shore:
This very body the buddha;
This very earth the lotus paradise.
Hence it is ordinary. It does not want you to create a certain kind of spirituality, a certain kind of
holiness. All that it asks is that you live your life with immediacy, spontaneity. And then the mundane
becomes the sacred.
The great miracle of Zen is in the transformation of the mundane into the sacred. And it is tremendously
extraordinary because THIS way life has never been approached before, THIS way life has never been
Zen goes beyond Buddha and beyond Lao Tzu. It is a culm