Posted inDharma, Dogen, Valerie's Messages

Message from Valerie: The Backward Step

June 21, 2023

In his “Universal Instructions on Zazen,” Dogen advises practitioners: “Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backward step and turn the light inward.”
Sitting in straightforward zazen, we let the activity of our discursive minds settle, stop the incessant search for something outside ourselves – the grasping after something we imagine to be lacking – and come home to the intimacy and immediacy of this moment. Here and now, in this body, is where experience happens. Allow the light of zazen to illumine it.
Dogen’s fundamental instruction resounds with the Buddha’s first teaching: “Stop and see.” A radiant world awaits our discovery. One indivisible shining.
As we make the turn towards the summer sesshin at Mountain Cloud (June 26-July 2), take this opportunity to till the soil of your practice. Allow it to deepen so the seeds of the backward step can take root and grow, filling the earth and the sky. Breathe in the bodhisattva vow of resolving all suffering and let it be so.
With gratitude for each one’s practice and love,

Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

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