This was supposed to be a blog about Suzuki Roshi’s quote about making mistake after mistake after mistake. As often happens, wonderful mistakes occur when I search the Internet. First, I found this — a quote from Winston Churchill, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
He was a Zen Master.
And then I found a teisho, a Dharma talk, by Soen Nakagawa Roshi.
This talk tickled my day and you may read the entire text of the talk by clicking on the link above in red. Then, open your sense of humor and read this with a lightness of heart!
“This is the first teisho of the sesshin.” Sesshin is Japanese for “collecting the heart-mind,” as in an intensive meditation retreat held in a Zen center or monastery.
“Everything is scheduled, not only human beings. Everything, indeed. Mountain, running river, sound of wind, singing of birds — everything. Especially children, who are wonderful Zen teachers, of course.
“Everything is our teacher. This! (Bang!) This is the real one point; very easy to understand. Too clear, too easy to get This! (Bang!) Please, don’t miss this (Bang!), this most important point, okay? There are many sutras and shastras. Many, many teachings, not only about Buddhism and Christianity. There are many, many books. But when we meet (Bang!) this one point, all sutras and shastras and all philosophical and spiritual words become a mistake. Only one point. (Bang! Bang! Bang!) Only one. This is the true teaching of Bodhidharma, all patriarchs, Buddha Shakyamuni. This! Okay?
“Each of you is a wonderful bodhisattva. I’m not saying this in praise, or for encouragement. Truly, you are living bodhisattvas. Living Dai Bosa. There is a wonderful Buddha statue at the Metropolitan Museum. There are national-treasure bodhisattvas and many statues. They are wonderful, of course. I pay them gachimi, gachimi. But, you are living bodhisattvas, each of you, living! Not bronze, or wood. Sometime, something bad may happen. If something goes wrong, “Oh, I will pray to Buddha.” No, no, no! There is no such Buddha. Realize this! (Bang!) and every human becomes wonderful.”
In this spirit, I say each of us is Jizo. Each of us is Buddha. Each of our loved ones and pets and enemies and bad weather patterns and lousy drivers on the freeway are our teachers.
When asked who his greatest teacher was, the Dalai Lama said, “Mao.” Let’s pause and meditate on that.