…we’re all barefoot servants, joined in a joyous humility.
Right off the bat Zen is about experience. The fact. Reality. The meeting of this moment in its very core. Like getting inside the heart of the atom. Inside the force that makes this moment – with all its contents unified, and with each of its contents individual and unassailable in itself. The praise and awe and reverence that might be given to Shakyamuni or other teachers is here given to the moment itself. Everyone is an equal, a servant of reality.
For example, the Zen tradition may revere Bodhidharma even as much as it does Shakyamuni. But both are in effect functionaries of the real reality, which is just this moment. So when Setcho, the compiler of the Blue Cliff Record, speaks of Bodhidharma, he calls out to him: hey old man, come here and wash this old monk’s feet (meaning his own feet).
We reverence the ancestors. Yet we also know that none of them is more than a servant of this infinite moment. They knew that too. So we’re all barefoot servants, joined in a joyous humility.