What is out there is in me
Student: It occurred to me that one reason the thinking mind is disowned is there are a lot of things that one would rather not think about. For example, why we have so much and thousands of babies are being born in rubbish heaps every day, and why corporations control governments that have millions of lives in their hands and their only motive is profit, or, you know, whatever it is, as well as of course the more personal matters.
Roshi: These are personal matters. We can take each of those voices, like the voice of the greed that’s behind our society or the arrogance that’s behind it, and look at those same voices within our self. Because whatever the corporation is doing, I’m doing on some smaller, miniscule level. The greed, the arrogance, the ego behind it all is within me. And even though I don’t want to look at it and I don’t want to think about these things, what I suppress will come out in my dreams, will come out in my sittings, will come out in other places. So I personally think that zazen is really allowing everything to come up, to emerge, whether we like it or don’t like it, and look at it all as long as we look at it. If it doesn’t disturb us and it just goes away by itself, absolutely fine. You know, we don’t need to cling to it either, but the two things in the way — at least as I was taught and the way I sit zazen — there are two things I watch for. One is repression, of anything, and the other is attachment to it. So I’ll attach to the good things and I’ll try to repress the bad, the negative things, the negative thoughts. Both are hindrances, both become what we call makyo, devilish obstacles or obstructions in our zazen. So I would say that having that storm come up and inviting and honoring the thinking mind is a great great thing. I mean I commend you, I think it’s great.
Student: What you said about this being personal is very true, and what I felt was that all of these things were really just me multiplied five billion times and that’s exactly why the world is messed up the way it is.
Roshi: That’s exactly it. What is out there is in me. What’s in me is out there. Microcosm, macrocosm. So, you know, the way to work with it, the way to deal with it is to look within at these things that are within me. And we start with baby steps. One step at a time with our self, and then work our way out.