Nothing stands between you as you experience yourself now and a future you who is growing in kindness and compassion, calm and confidence. By nature we are neither bad nor good. The human heart is thoroughly open, unfixed, alive to the fresh possibilities for change in each moment. The idea that certain people are evil or this-or-that by nature is simply a superstition. Everything changes due to causes and conditions. This was a liberating insight of the Buddha.
Meeting Good Conditions, the Mind Becomes Good.
Dogen Zenji put it this way: “There is fundamentally no good or bad in the human mind. Good and bad arise according to circumstances. For example, When someone’s mind is aroused to enter into the mountain forests, he feels that the forest is good and human society is bad. Yet when he becomes bored and leaves the mountain forests, he feels that the forest is bad.
“Thus is it that the mind definitely has no fixed characteristics; depending on circumstances, it may turn out any way at all. Therefore, when meeting good conditions the mind becomes good, and if it comes in the presence of bad conditions the mind becomes bad. Do not think that your mind is basically bad; you should just follow good conditions.”
~ Dogen Zenji, Shobogenzo-zuimonki, translated by Thomas Cleary
There Soto Zen School has a version of Shobogenzo-zuimonki online here.
In the challenging days ahead, may we do all we can to support each other as we apply ourselves to recognizing and following the best practices and conditions available.
May you and everyone you know and love be safe, healthy, and at ease.
Visit the sweepingheartzen.org homepage for a full schedule of online practice opportunities.
Very best wishes,