Go Straight on a Road of 99 Curves

May 19, 2015

Life after life, birth after birth
Never Falter.
Do not let die the Wisdom seed of the Buddhas and Ancestors.
Truly! I implore you!

These are the last dharma words of Maezumi Roshi. This is the Inka poem for Roshi Bernie Glassman. Usually these words are private, only for the recipient, but because they were the last Dharma offered by Maezumi Roshi before he died May 15, 1995, they became a teaching offered to all of us, to each of us. How do we receive and live it? How do we best care for this Buddha life with which we have been entrusted? Can we nurture this question in our hearts and keep it alive?

What does it mean to promise never to falter? On first entering a zendo to practice zazen with others, we are usually encountering an unfamiliar setting. We are self-conscious and concerned about making mistakes. And at the same time, from the very beginning, Maezumi Roshi’s dharma words are intended for us all: “Never Falter.” Do not hesitate! Go forward with confidence in your inclination to seek and in your inherent identity as buddha nature. That being so, your whole life must be included, without picking and choosing. Go forward without hesitation, and with trust in your life. In the living of  practice-awakening, continue to go straight also at the places you call crooked. Do not hesitate. Go straight, with clarity and love.