What we teach is that enlightenment and practice are one. My
early practice is what I call “stepladder zen.” I understand this
much now, and next year (I thought) I will understand a little bit
more. That kind of practice does not make much sense - stepladder
zen is a mistake.
When you strive to reach a goal or attain enlightenment, you naturally
have the Idea, “I am far from the goal” or “I am almost there.”
But if you practice our way, enlightenment is right where you
are. When you practice zazen without any idea of attainment, that
is actually enlightenment.
If you do not understand this, your practice will not work. But
if you practice our way in its true sense, there is no problem about
being far away from the goal or almost there. A beginner’s
practice and a great master’s practice are not in this sense any
To stay in this moment in this place is my zazen. When I am
really standing right here on my feet, I am not lost. This is how
we don’t waste time. Moment after moment we should live right
here, without losing this moment to the future. Don’t lose actual
practice for idealistic practice, trying to attain some kind of
perfection. If you don’t stay on this spot realizing your
position, then you are not practicing our way. You are wasting
your time if you lose your present practice for some future
attainment. That is not real practice.
1. Pick a step on the ladder and stop.
2. Are you okay with that step? Zen is basically being okay
with every step, no
which one you’re on.
3. Enlightenment is not about getting to the top. It’s
about how you move on the ladder.
“In Buddhism there are 90,000 subtle gestures
to practice.” Climbing a ladder is just one.
You can sit on a cushion and practice,
cut up tomatoes for a salad or climb a ladder…
4. How is each step different?
( change in perspective, the view, anxiety of
heights…) Are you okay with that?!
5. You’ll notice there’s a warning label on the step near the
top, they don’t recommend standing
beyond that point… In zen there’s a koan that
“Where do you go from the top of a 100 foot pole?!”
Or in our context I will leave you with this
“Where do you go when you reach the top of the