True Faith

Sometimes I hear someone grumble about not getting enough out of practice. When I hear this I realize that we need to remind ourselves every day of the meaning of practice. Although we can’t avoid the desire for material well-being and the necessity of food, shelter, clothing, and good supportive friends, it is important to remember that instead of giving us something, zazen taketh away our materialistic blinders, leaving us free from that which binds. And even though we talk a lot about wanting freedom, it is not always easy to know what we want freedom from (or for).
One purpose of practice is to free us from our addictions, of which we are often unaware. We are all in some way victims of our wants, and of our excessive needs. As we practice zazen over time, we have the opportunity to discover the joy of letting go. The effort we put into this practice is one with the satisfaction we experience. What better reward? Each moment of sincere effort is a moment of satisfaction.
The purpose of ordination for both priest and layperson is to cut off our habitual karma and to find ourself as a newborn being. We don’t have to be bound by the past. We can practice with this intention moment by moment. Even though we still find ourselves drawn to our attachments, the time we spend in zazen while letting go is a great gift that can break the spell of enchantment for that moment in time. Through continuous practice we can step back from reactivity and step forward to find ourself new and fresh in each moment, free from clinging to anger, resentment, and all other unwholesome dharmas as they arise. This is the beginner’s mind—open, unassuming, receptive, and full of vitality. It is also the life of appreciation and thanksgiving. It is the true gift, the bottomless well that never dries up.