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  • Wilmington Zen

“KOSHO UCHIYAMA: Although Sawaki Roshi seemed manly, broad-minded, and carefree, he was also careful and behaved prudently. In contrast, although I’m his disciple and act open and undefended, I’m very nervous and anxious. I feel ashamed about almost everything. For example, in the middle of ceremonies, I often become flustered beyond control and so confused that I make big blunders. Afterward I feel so ashamed I wish I could disappear. However, because I have been very sensitive since childhood, in self-defense I finally had to settle into the stability of “Whatever happens, I am I.” After all, there’s no end to worrying about how to keep up appearances in this world, and it’s impossible to survive as such a fainthearted person. When I have butterflies in my stomach, that’s fine. When I make a big mess of something, what can I do besides accept it? There’s nothing else to do. Ultimately, the stability of “Whatever happens, I am I” is zazen as religion. Within this practice more than any other, a person like me can find salvation. I’m very grateful for this. Even if we don’t become an expert—always prepared, refined, and elegant like a veteran swordsman, virtuoso Noh actor, or tea master—we’re fine, aren’t we? What’s wrong with toddling and limping along the path of life practicing zazen?” ― Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo


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