The Shit Paper
Having entered the tiolet, close the door with your left hand. Next, pour just a little water from the bucket into the toilet bowl. Then, put the bucket in it's place directly in front of the hole...
(Shôbôgenzô Senjô)

last month * * * next month

Let the others be happy,
let the devil come to me!

If we take a look at ourselves honestly, we might realize that most of the time we do not think about much except ourselves. We do not care about the rest of the world, as long as we feel fine ourselves. To transform this attitude should be the central point of any religion, but if we do not take care, we might practice even our religion with this same egoistic attitude. We might even try to walk the "buddha way" or practice "zazen" to reach happiness for ourselves.

A common sight in Japan are people buying votive plaques and good luck charms at shintoist shrines and buddhist temples as well. You find many of these wooden votive plaques hanging at shrines or temples. They might read for example: "I have to enter Tokyo University at any price! Please help!" The future life of a young Japanese depends very much on the university or college which they are able to enter, so it is understandable that they wish to enter a good university "at any price". But everyone else who takes the entrance exams wants to enter the university too, and only a limited number will pass. So to pray that you want to pass the examination means to pray that someone else will fail. But nobody thinks about that. All I wish for is that I will pass, I don't care about the rest. It is almost as if we could not think of a different way to live our lives and interact with people.

"If you do no pass the examinations, that means that someone better than you has passed. You should be happy about that. If you pass, that means that there is no one better than you. It is not good for society to have so many bores like you sticking around." (Sawaki Kodo)

It is not easy to look at oneself in this way. In Japan, there is a custom in February to pray: "Let happiness be inside, let the devil be outside (the house)" In this world today, it seems as if the devil is waiting just around the corner. We do not want the devil to come to us. We want to be happy - let the devil go somewhere else!

Religion should be the opposite way: We should wish for everyone's happiness, and if the devil has no place to go, he should come here. We have to be willing to fall into hell all by ourselves if everyone else can go to heaven instead. Someone with this attitude is called a bodhisattva, and his motto is

Let the others be happy, let the devil come to me!