Friday, June 8, 2012

Study Hall

I did not finish Each Moment is the Universe before I went away, and in the latter chapters of the book, Katagiri Roshi is talking about karma: "When you ignore the fact that you belong to a group, society, or nation, and only try to develop your individual karma, you may develop your character, but that development is based on ego. For instance, if you live with another person, how do you live together in peace? How do you develop your own personality in that situation? It's not so simple. You think, 'I want to live with you, but on the other hand I want to live my own way.' Or you want to marry, but in the next moment you want to divorce. This is egoistic.
In America I am different from most people because I am Japanese. But I have to give Buddha's teaching in a way that is beyond race and culture. So I can walk together with all people and try to develop my own personality with all beings. When you develop your individual character in the broad perspective of not-individual karma, then your personality develops very gently, in a humble way.
Sometimes Americans who study Zen Buddhism don't want to follow the Japanese way of practice. Instead of following Japanese customs they want an American way of Buddhism. That is really an intellectual understanding. So I always say, 'Pat your head and go beyond your individual understanding.' We have to develop the character of an American way of Buddhism by taking care of human life, because American karma is not separate from human karma. Can we understand America separate from Europe and the East? No, there is no way. If you want an American way of Buddhism to develop naturally, pay attention to the entire cosmic situation. Nevertheless, you have to develop your own character. How? Humbly."


Melanie, Austin Zen Center said...

What an excerpt! I've often thought I don't have a well-developed, clear purpose in life, but humbly paying attention to the entire cosmic situation is probably a very worthy undertaking.

Shundo said...

It will certainly keep you busy. NIc to hear from you again.

Sierra said...

Hmm, interesting study hall. I like the idea that it's hard to live in peace with someone if you are overly self-involved. And like he said, it's hard to live with someone if you have to always have your own way. haha, and I love that when Americans aren't particularly open to the Japanese way he says: 'Pat your head and go beyond your individual understanding.' i agree that we can learn so much more by listening to others rather than assuming our way is the best or that we are better than someone else. I think travel is a good way to develop your character in a humble way?

Shundo said...

I would say that sitting still is a good way to do that, but I would, wouldn't I?