In our training, the Roshi asks us to go into the house.  He says, “Go Straight!”

In our zazen, we must find a way in.  We all go up to the door and try to push it open.  It won’t budge.  But the Roshi told us to “Go Straight!”  So we push and push on that door.  Maybe for a long time. Maybe for years. Some people for decades, with a rigid notion, fixed ideas!,  of what practice is, what enlightenment is.

But to get into the house, we need to be creative. We need to experience differently.  Be open to life, the moment in a new way. Constantly.  We’ve tried it one way, and it hasn’t worked, so we’ve go to open our minds.  Be creative. Not just with our thoughts, but physically creative. Experiential creativity. This is called “kufu”. Creative problem solving.  It’s a way of being, not an idea.

We walk up to the door, and instead of pushing on it, maybe we pull.  Jiggle the handle. And the door opens. Or perhaps we have to go to the window and climb through it. Or maybe we’ve got to change our whole perspective, and to get into the house, we have to go in the back door.  Maybe down the chimney!  It’s impossible, yes, but it just might work, such is our openness to this present experience.  Such is our constant free-flowing mind.

And sometimes we’ll stroll on easy and the front door will be open.  Or Perhaps one day a dragon will rise through us and we’ll blow down the door. Or maybe if we become fascinated enough, we’ll feel everything down to the molecules and we’ll just phase through the solid door.  Who knows what is possible? Who knows what will happen?  Zazen, magnificent zazen, both so real and sublime.  Going straight!

Of course there’s no house. It’s just us.  Sitting on a cushion, walking through the forest, in the samadhi of kufu, losing ourselves as we swallow the ocean in one gulp.

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Happy new Year!  January first, year of the mouse, Two Thousand Twenty.

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