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Just Bow

April 11, 2012

by Stephen Damon

Just Bow

Putting my right and left hands together as one,    Image

         I just bow,

Just bow to become one   

         with Buddha and God,

Just bow to become one    

        with everything I encounter,

Just bow to become one     

       with all  the myriad things,

Just bow as life becomes life.

Many of us who don’t have a difficult time taking our seat and staring at the wall in front for us for forty minutes, are unable to bow—to another person, to a statue of the Buddha, to anything—and yet Suzuki Roshi told us that we should be prepared to bow, even in our last moment. Even though it is impossible to get rid of our self-centered desires, we have to do it.  Our true nature wants us to. So what are we to do?

I was going to say that the essential thing we need to keep in mind, but that is not quite right.  What we need to do is contact our Big Mind where everything has the same value, where everything is Buddha himself.  Then we see that we are a Buddha bowing to a Buddha. Or perhaps we see that there is no Buddha—that is true too. We lose our sense of Buddha and our sense of ourself.  We lose everything and gain everything. We are bowing to ourselves and to everything with compassion and respect.  How wonderful!

The next time you stand in front of a Buddha on an altar you might recite these words of Katagiri Roshi:

Bower and what is bowed to are empty by nature.

The bodies of one’s self and others are not two.

I bow with all beings to attain liberation.

To manifest the unsurpassable mind and return to boundless truth.










From → Zen Buddhism

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