Posted inDogen, Henry's Messages

Messge from Henry: Where are we going?

September 20, 2016

Existence itself is still a great mystery. When we sit we let that mystery express itself..


When we gather for a retreat we take our places in the zendo, a bit like passengers on a vessel. The question naturally might arise: where are we going?

One “Zen” answer might be: nowhere, we already arrived, the journey is over, there never was a journey, etc. But on the other hand, what if we are going somewhere?

When sitting, just let the nature of being rise up and show itself. It happens quite naturally. All it seems to take is for us to lower the volume on our sense of how we should be, how sitting should be, how things should be, and just let things as they are quite naturally show themselves.

Existence itself is still a great mystery. When we sit we let that mystery express itself, and we both receive its expression and also, in our very selves, are that expression, fully and without reservation. It’s both a passive and an active process.

But maybe this all sounds a bit heady and abstract.

How about this: Let the categories in the mind dissolve as if all that had ever kept them apart were mud walls and now the rain of the Dharma is falling. The walls dissolve and wash away in the rain. Let there be rest, a spacious, lively sense of rest.

There is breathing, there is seeing, there is hearing and feeling. Now and then there is thinking. But most of all there is being — just the wondrous fact of being.

Who is it, being? You can’t say and you don’t care. That’s a trifling matter. You are touching the hem of a garment that covers the whole earth and all its beings. How could the question really matter?


It’s a bit like living in the aftermath of a war. The contents of the war, its causes and rationales, its bitterness and rages, are remembered vaguely, not in detail. They have all come crashing down. A great absolution of the earth has happened. Eihei, Dogen called it: “great peace.”

That’s on the human side. On the Dharma side: an unconquerable energy is now known to be operating with infinite freedom, limitless potential. All is possible. But at the same time, all is quiet and still. All is fulfilled as it is.

Message from Henry taken from our September 19, 2016 Newsletter
Image: Hollow Woods 1, by Dark Horse Style,CC BY-ND 2.0, from

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