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“On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment and nirvana, there is not a moment’s gap. Continuous practice is the circle of the way. This being so, continuous practice is unstained, not forced by you or others. The power of continuous practice confirms you as well as others. It means your practice affects the entire earth and the entire sky in the ten directions. Although not noticed by others or by yourself, it is so.” ~ Zen Master Eihei Dogen

This article is Roshi Joan’s commentary on The Circle of the Way … “… can we understand that “monastery time” is every minute we live? The vision of the circle of the way is that everything we do is practice. Underlying everything, there is a deep continuity in all our thoughts and actions and beneath our thoughts and actions. Western people find it very difficult to comprehend the continuous way. We like to separate things into pieces and take them apart. It is how science is practiced, how business is done, and how we see the world. It’s the genius of Zen Master Dogen to bring us into seeing how we don’t have to structure our lives into cells, that instead we can experience “being” in flow, and shift our perspective on time into time-being.

The Buddha says, “To practice the dharma is swimming upstream.” For Westerners, it’s not just swimming upstream—it’s swimming against a tsunami. We have to change the view from it’s my life to this is our life. As one man dying of prostate cancer said to me: “We belong to each other.” We belong to the earth, we belong to the sky. We inter-are. Wisdom, compassion, body, mind are not separate. The same applies to our very moment-to-moment experience, to our experience of time, which is not separate from being. Each moment is causally intertwined with all other moments. We are intertwined with each other in a causal flow of multiplicities and multiple processes that Dogen calls time-being.

Dogen teaches, “Continuous practice is the circle of the way.”…. ” ~ excerpts from her commentary

This article (PDF) is sourced from Upaya Zen Center.


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