Why Practice by Nicolee Roshi
The heart of Zen practice is seeing into the unfixed nature of all things
When we really confirm that, then naturally every moment is a liberating moment. And the effect of that, one of the deepest effects, is compassion arising in a very natural way.
We use all kinds of skillful means in our practice, so that we can verify this for ourselves, in meditation, koan practice, religious service, student-teacher relationships and work practice. These help us to work on letting go of our fixed views and notions about who and what we are and who and what anything and everything else is.
One of the most skillful ways of practicing is in the community, the sangha, in our relationships with one another. When we turn around to face the wall, we see that what is generated out of our murky minds. But what happens when we are dealing with one another? That dealing with one another is a very scratchy place, a perfect place to practice, because we can see how we do not include or how we exclude. So how do we practice with one another, not just in our particular sangha but in the sanghas of our homes and families and our work and the larger sanghas of the world? How do we practice with them? How do we deal with greed and anger and ignorance? How does this greed turn into compassion? Anger into wisdom? Ignorance into liberation? And how do we cultivate respect for one another, especially when we are sure we are right? How do we include another person's point of view?
At the same time, Zen practice does not have to have any reason to do it other than to do it. And who knows what the effects are? Think of the chaos in the world, while we are meditating, trying to function in a harmonious way, being attentive to the moment, feeling the sunlight and the breeze, hearing the birds, and just being here. What a gift that is to the world.