29. To you who are pleased when someone compliments the depth of your faith

Many confuse faith with a type of intoxication. There’s a type of intoxication similar to awe that’s nothing but delusion. Faith means, however, just the opposite – complete sobriety from any form of intoxication.
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When most people in the world talk about the mind of faith, they don’t think it’s anything more than kissing Buddha’s ass.
“Do what you like with the others, but at least give me a first-class ticket to paradise!” Prayers like that have got nothing to do with the mind of faith.
Faith means clarity and purity. Mind means the single mind that encompasses the three worlds. So having faith means clarifying and purifying the one mind of the three worlds. The mind of faith means truly becoming clear about your own mind.
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Faith means being clear and pure. It means being at ease. But some people get confused about this as well and think faith is about getting worked up, so they try with all their might to do so. Until they realize that it’s not so easy to get truly worked-up. Then they just act as if they were.
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In old times, people were swept up in awe when they heard that Amithaba Buddha would come to them in their last hour to pick them up. That!s the same as being misled by a fox.
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Everyone wants to go to paradise, but have you ever really seen it? If you think you have, you must have been mistaken.
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There are people who want to live as long as possible. Any religion that offers this will do. What they have to believe in doesn’t matter at all. That’s how they waste their lives away.
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When some new religious group starts picking up huge numbers of followers, suddenly everybody thinks there must be something true about it.
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The number of followers doesn’t determine if a religion is good.
If it were simply a matter of who had the largest numbers, doesn’t the club of ordinary people have the most members? No, it’s the bacteria. There’s even more of them!
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Aren’t a huge pile of crazy ideas dumped on us humans, ideas that go by the names of “faith”, “satori” and so on?
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We ordinary people have to let go of our uptight attitude. Faith means purity and clarity. Wind and waves have to calm down.
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Faith doesn’t mean praying for good health, good business, harmony in the family and well-being for your children.
Faith means pure clarity: the pure clarity in which the mud settles and the excitement calms. It means nothing besides completely coming to your senses.
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Faith isn’t something second-hand. Buddha isn’t something second-hand. If it’s not about your problem here and now, it’s got nothing to do with faith.
“Let’s put it off until later.” You can’t dismiss the problem like this. The question is whether you, here and now, truly can see Buddha’s body and hear his teaching.
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The way isn’t about asking others. It’s about returning to your self.
If you think Amithaba Buddha is hanging out way over there on the other side while you’re here running off your recitations, then sooner or later he’ll be going back to the West at the same time that you’re floating off to the East. You’ll miss each other entirely.
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Some call Buddha’s name as if they wanted to flatter him with their faithful hearts. Others believe that they practice zazen in order to get satori. As long as it’s only revolving around you as an individual, it’s got nothing to do with the buddha-dharma.
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Your little personal problems aren’t interesting. The universal whole is the problem here. No matter how big your satori is or how important, charitable or good you are, if it doesn’t concern anything besides you as an individual, it’s merely a scene in the play of self-deception.
“Namu” means taking refuge in that which lies beyond the individual.
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If subject and object are separate, it’s not the buddha-dharma.
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In the buddha-dharma, you don’t even use the word “Buddha”.

7. To you who would like to leave your rivals in the dust

We often wonder who here is really better? But aren’t we all made out of the same lump of clay?
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Everyone should sit firmly anchored in the place where there is no better and worse.
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Your whole life long you’re completely out of your mind because you think it’s obvious that there is a “you” and “the others”. You put on an act to stand out in a crowd, but in reality there’s neither “you” nor “the others”.
When you die, you’ll understand.
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Buddha-dharma means seamlessness. What seam runs between you and me? Sooner or later we all end up acting as if a seam separates friend and foe. When we get too used to this, we believe that this seam really exists.
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Poor and rich, important and unimportant – none of that exists. It’s only glitter on the waves. Still there are some who curse buddha because they’re stuck in unhappiness or because someone else is happier than they are.
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Happiness and unhappiness, important and unimportant, love and hate – the whole world makes a big deal out of these things. The world where all of this doesn’t exist: that’s the world of hishiryō.
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There’s nothing in the world we need to rack our brains over once it’s clear that our deluded thoughts and discriminations are absolutely useless.
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When the department head was sick, a subordinate jumped past him on the career ladder. He had been recovering, but with this news his fever broke out again. You really don’t need to get a fever over something like that.
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You say, “I’ll show you!” Yet you don’t even know how long you’ll live. Don’t you have anything else to do?
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In the West they say, “Man is the wolf of man.” The first step in religion must be that the wolves stop biting each other.
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What we’ve learned since our childhood days is nothing more than how to pretend we’re important. The world calls this education. And what do we try to do later in life? We fight like demons, have sex like animals and feed like the hungry ghosts. That’s it.
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The whole world sways on wobbly legs: like pushing others aside just to get ahead. In the buddha-dharma you shouldn’t be so unfair.
The buddha-dharma means having success in failure. The mind of the buddha-dharma is “sitting in zazen for aeons without achieving the way of Buddha.” [Lotus Sutra] **
People make a sleepy face if there isn’t a fight or competition taking place. They’re always wanting to gallop to the finish line. But is this a horse race? Or they swim like otters, wanting to be a nose ahead. In the end, they’ll fight each other, like little kittens over a ball of wool.
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When it isn’t about winning or losing, love or hate, wealth or poverty, people put on a sleepy face.
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In the buddha-dharma it isn’t about winning or losing, love or hate.
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Some want to show off with their “satori”. Yet it’s clear that something which you can use to show off has nothing to do with satori.