All things and I have one and the same root. ~ Jo Hosshi
The Way invites us to turn our “situation” into a PATH. Instead of things being a certain way, they are merely a step on a path. We are on a journey. All things are on a journey. As we are is not a static thing at all. It’s always evolving. As things are is also not at all static; it too is always changing.
As Nansen told his assembly: “All we do is teach you monks to go on a journey.”
The growth of things and the growth of who we think we are – these are in fact marvelously related. As Jo Hosshi said in his Hozoron: “All things and I have one and the same root.”
So what is this root shared by all things and by “I,” a root that allows both to be in a constant state of flux and change and evolution? What is “I” made of? What are all phenomena made of? What is this path that we are not so much on, but areourselves? And what does it mean, to be the path? Where does that leave the one who thought he or she was on a path?
The discovery of the path is also the discovery of our home. “Going and coming we are never elsewhere,” said Hakuin Zenji. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, it is always our home. Tozan was so sure of this that he said because of what he knew, he would be happy to spend eternity in the third level of hell.
What had he found? What was this path that was also his true home, and was everywhere, and inescapable?
I don’t know if there is as clear and direct a way to realize the answer to these questions as sitting on a Zen cushion and breathing Mu in the quiet and stillness of a day of Zen practice in the zendo.