Posted inHeart Sutra, Other Teachings

Progress / Regress

August 22, 2015

…this Way is a path: every moment is a path.


One of the marvels of the Zen way is that you can actually never regress on the path. You can’t lose ground. You can’t fall back or drop back or reverse the progress. But it can surely feel like it.

We could look at this two ways…

First, whatever is arising at any moment is always the path itself, the Way. How could there be such as thing as backsliding or regression? The Way is just this, now, here, just as it is. All my experience as it is at this moment.

Second, our Dharma eye, to whatever extent it has opened, cannot reclose itself. It may feel like it at times. We can feel like we’re being troubled by things we thought we had resolved or let go of years ago. But the eye itself can never re-close. Though it can get covered by the “dust” of concepts once again. But one sharp puff and the dust will be dispersed again.

Third, the Diamond Sutra says,  Dwelling nowhere, mind comes forth. So where could any notional progress really abide anyway? And Nansen said, The Way is perfect like vast space; how could it be a matter of right and wrong? Do we ever go “forward,” do we ever go “back”?


…this Way is a path: every moment is a path.

All that it asks is to be met and welcomed with an open heart, just now, just as it is, right now.


Written by Henry Shukman, from our newsletter archives.

Image Credit: Countryside, by BarnImages, CC0 Public Domain, from
Featured Image Credit: Corridor, by cattalin, CC0 Public Domain, from

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