Do Not Pass Your Days and Nights in Vain
“Practice is not a matter of far or near.” This is very important. When you are involved in selfish practice you have some idea of attainment. When you strive to reach a goal or attain enlightenment, you naturally have the idea “I am far from the goal,” or “I am almost there.” But if you really practice our way, enlightenment is right where you are. This may be rather difficult to accept. When you practice zazen without any idea of attainment, there is actually enlightenment.
Dogen Zenji explained that in self-centered practice, there is enlightenment and there is practice: practice and enlightenment are events that we will encounter in our life. But when we realize practice and enlightenment as events that appear in the realm of the great dharma world, then enlightenment is
an event that expresses the dharma world, and practice is also an event that expresses the dharma world.
If both express or suggest the big dharma world, then actually there is no need to be discouraged if we do not attain enlightenment. Nor should we be extremely happy if we do attain it, because there
is no difference. Practice and enlightenment have equal value.
If enlightenment is important, practice is also important. When we understand this point within each step, we have enlightenment. But there will be no need to be excited about it. Step by step we will continue endless practice, appreciating the bliss of the dharma world. That is practice based on enlightenment, practice beyond our experience of good or bad, beyond self-centered practice