Since I’m Chinese, I have returned to reading Asian thought, especially since Zen seems like a safe place to be in this wild and precious life that I seem to be living in. As I awoke from a brief nap this afternoon, the afternoon sun lit up the room with a soft light and I could see the tip of the tall Norway Spruce in one of the skylights.
Here is some text I read in a book from my shelves of Taoist and Buddhist books called simply, “Appreciate Your Life – The Essence of Zen Practice” by Taizan Maezumi Roshi. On page 4, the Roshi writes:
“We do not see that our life right here, right now, is nirvana. Maybe we think that nirvana is a place where there are no problems, no more delusions. Maybe we think nirvana is something very beautiful, something unattainable. We always think that nirvana is something very different from our own life. But we must really understand that nirvana is right here, right now.”
He goes on to say:
“Do not be dualistic. Truly be one with your life as the subtle mind of nirvana. That is what subtle means. Something is subtle not because it is hidden, nor because it is elusive, but because it is right here. We don’t see it precisely because it is right in front of us. In fact, we are living it. When we live it we don’t think about it. The minute we think about it, we are functioning in the dualistic state and don’t see what our life is.”
In reading these paragraphs, I begin to faintly understand what is so hard to put into words: that when we release our mind and are in the moment of that moment, we are in nirvana. In nirvana, our life and the world is just this! There is nothing extra. But it is also all.
For a person like me who reads constantly and whose mind moves around rapidly, these pages were a refreshing halt to the machinery going on in my head. After reading the pages quoted above, I looked around the room I was in, the late afternoon sun glowing on the walls and I could feel the peacefulness of those moments, even though I was still thinking about nirvana rather than being in nirvana just by being in my life.