7 Dec. As-it-is.

I got up at 3 AM like a complete fool again. I sat down to meditate at 4. I started off with 500 Nembutsu recitations, followed by 50 minutes of shikantaza. It was hard. It was easy. Suffering is caused by ego. More ego = more suffering. More humility = less suffering. This is what crossed my mind when I was sitting. This is how banal my thoughts are.

After the final bell, I sat in a more comfortable position and recited Nembutsu again. My legs were stiff. But it was beautiful to see: here is my body and there are my thoughts. Nothing special or unique about my thoughts. Nothing to get excited over. At the same time… so much suffering in thoughts. So much suffering in ego.

After meditation, I immersed myself in the sound of Amida’s name. Self-power, other power, Nembutsu, emptiness, mindfulness, jhanas. Whatever allows you to end the struggle is good.

We undergo all kinds of difficult and painful practices. We travel to all kinds of places and then discover that we didn’t have to do a thing. That things are as-they-are. It’s not that everything is as-it-is, without us having tried everything. Everything is as-it-is after we’ve broken our bones, trying everything.

Taitetsu Unno, “River of fire. River of water”

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