OLD - We Are Not Perfect

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Zen Center 1881 Bush St SF, Sesshin, July 23rd, 1966 (inside box is written "Katagiri")

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66-07-23 (Same as SR-00093) Duplicate node


Before, we have been discussing about what is bodhisattva mind, to help others before we help ourselves, and this practice is four, firstly it is to give something which is dāna-prājñā-pāramit, and to kind words, to be kind to ourselves, to others, and to utter kind words,


and to help others in various ways, to give some teaching. Secondly, it is also to help others. When here we emphasize, to help others by various ways, not only several ways we pointed out, but also various ways. So here he says, even to participate industrial work, or to build a bridge for others,


various human activities we take here, to help others. That is the third one, and the last one is sympathy, or to become one with others. But bodhisattva's practice is not just four, there are many and many other practices. When we have bodhisattva mind, whatever we do is to help others. And actually we are helping with it, to realize this fact, and to behave like that, to help others.


But there will be some misunderstandings when we say, help others. But actually the point is to help others, not only to give some aid, material aid or spiritual aid, but also to give some spirit to help others, before we help ourselves. When we have this spirit, we will be completely helped by others and by themselves.


So the most important way to help others is to give some perfect understanding of how to help others, and how to help themselves. When we help ourselves, others, in its true sense it means to help ourselves. This is the most important point, and this is how to help others. But actually material help is not a perfect way to help others. When we realize we are helping always, we will know how to help others.


When we do not realize how to help others in its true sense, we occasionally try to help others. But this is a very safe point, I think, without being aware of what we are doing always. We try to help others occasionally, and this is the opposite. We should help others all day long, even though you are sleeping, and you should help others.


Because you do not feel you are helping others always, you try to help others occasionally. This is the silly way of helping others. By this help you mean some material help, to make someone happy. But happiness in its true sense is not temporal, tentative happiness. So true happiness should be with you always, even though you are in adversity, in happiness.


So this kind of happiness is true happiness, we need. So when we realize the oneness of all living beings, oneness of being animate and animate being, we will know how to help others. And at the same time you can govern yourself, you can control yourself, and you will be a good person. This is what we mean to arise the bodies of our mind.


So when you try to be some particular person or particular character, when you try to do some good things especially, you will lose your way. That is why we should have bodhisattva mind as well as buddha mind, perfect mind. Idea of nothingness, as well as to believe in nothingness, buddha, we have to believe in.


We have to find buddha mind in trivial activities we take all the time. So to know what is buddha mind is to know the meaning of trivial activities we take. There is no other way for us to know what is buddha mind. Absolute mind should be found in relative mind. But without having absolute, idea of absolute, or idea of god or buddha, to try to help with each other means nothing.


It will be endless, various, evil. Without the idea of supreme reality or perfect reality, to help others means nothing because your activity has no root to it. So as long as you have the idea of perfect being, you have to be concentrated on your everyday life, on your trivial activities.


So eternal life should be obtained in our short 60 years or 80 years of lifetime. So when you acquire, when you obtain this understanding of life, it means you obtain eternal life. When you find out eternal life in your trivial things, you find out the eternal life in its true self. So to find out the eternal life is to find out the meaning of your life,


the meaning of what you are doing. So first of all, when we say to help others, we should find out the meaning of our imperfect life. And we should know that there is no other way to be in contact with the object or the object itself. But sometimes when we try to attain some perfection in your work,


you will be left in evil. So this is a very important point. The only religion which emphasizes this point is Buddhism. Within our reach, there is no perfection. Even though you devote yourself to the truth forever, life after life, you cannot attain perfection. Because perfect one is not attainable.


Because if he is not attainable, he is perfect. If he is attainable, he is not perfect. We should know this fact. When we know this fact, this rule, this principle, you will become very sincere with what you are doing right now. And you will have enough encouragement to continue your imperfect life. So when the birds, trees, and plants are awakened,


when the spring comes, we should renew ourselves. We should improve ourselves forever. It looks like we are repeating the same thing over and over again. It is not actually so. It should not be so. When you become a perfectionist, you think you are repeating the same thing. But when you give up to become perfect one, you will become more subtle, and you will find out the subtle meaning of the changes in the universe.


So we say, we see the same character over and over again. Very generally, the past comes. It is always generally the past. But plants and trees are not the same. We think our character is repeating the same thing. But actually, everything in nature does not repeat the same thing. So when we realize this fact, you will find out what is true in its true sense. When your mind is occupied by some perfect one,


when you try to be a perfect one, your mind is like a rock, like a concrete, which will not decay and which will not develop. This is a very important point. Why I emphasize this point is I am now pretty sure about why we have wars between countries always and why they fight. Because you think you are very perfect, so you fight, and they fight.


That is because you have enemies. For perfect ones, there are enemies. For not perfect ones, there are no enemies. We are not perfect. At the same time, they are not perfect. So there is no reason why we should fight. And actually, they are fighting because of the ideal to perfect peace. There is no perfect peace for human beings. There must be some trouble. Because we have trouble, we enjoy our life pretty well. Try not to achieve perfect peace.


That is how to bring about peace in this world, in each process. At this point, it is very important to achieve the true understanding of our life. Because without having true understanding of life, it is impossible to have true understanding of the Absolute Truth. So we put this idea in this way.


The perfect one always encourages us through various facts we see. Sometimes flowers open, and sometimes flowers die. But through dying, through flowers coming up, we will realize, we will be encouraged. When you have some difficulties in your daily life, you will be encouraged by the difficulties. So a perfect one is always helping us


through everything we see, and through everything we do. So we should help others through our everyday practice. Not only Zen practice, but also through directives, to get up, to eat, to sleep. This is how to help others. So our activity will be continued as long as human beings exist,


and as long as something is gone in this world. Even though all human beings died out, something will be going. Where something is going, there it will be. As long as something is gone, someday, always, always, the true spirit of wisdom will exist. So there is nothing to worry.


When you think there is nothing to worry, there is no destruction, there is no war. When you become worried of your own life, your particular way of life, or your particular understanding of life, democracy or communism, then, because of that, you suffer. Actually, there is no such thing like communism or democracy. When we realize this truth, there is nothing to worry. When we are completely released


from everything, we will have complete... we will have, we say always complete, it's not difficult, but human word, or complete, or absolute. I sometimes say complete, but after I say complete or absolute, I ashamed of myself. Now there is the age of absolute and the age of complete. But without knowing what is complete, what is absolute, when you realize what is absolute, what is complete, you will not say anything about complete or absolute.


You have to shut up. It's much better to talk about something, some problem which we have. Right now. Because we know what is absolute. Some people just try to escape from difficulties without knowing there is nothing to worry. This is another matter. This is, those people have no true understanding of that. So if you understand what I am saying,


I think you will have more deep understanding about young generation, generations where you call them beatniks. There are no such people as beatniks exist. Only when they become in existence, they are called, they try to escape from actual civilization you have.


But wherever you go, you have same difficulties. Even though you gather, you discuss our life in a free way, without any prejudice, still you will have same difficulties which all the human beings have. The difficulty we have is always same. It is their difference in its way of happening, in its degree of suffering.


But nature is always same. When you do not realize the point, within our meat there is no perfection. Within our human beings there is no perfection. And we have only some difficulties, and that is absolutely true. Now this point is emphasized in Buddhism, has been emphasized in Buddhism. So some people say Buddhism is very negative. It is negative because


you have just positive ideas. For people who is just positive, who is not knowing what is actual strength, there is no other way to emphasize negative and perfect truth. So for them Buddhism looks like negative, but it is not so. So to emphasize our way is to have this kind of understanding of life.


This understanding of life may be quite open to your future understanding of life. It means we are so far away from Buddhism. We have come far enough to realize we took opposite direction in our effort. So I think we will realize which way we have been taking. So it is time to go to our home


and make another, take another direction for us and for human beings. Thank you very much. Thank you.