I would like each of you to individually investigate and thoroughly study the Self. And then, I would like you to awaken to the essential true Self that is, in other words, Emptiness—a condition that transcends the comparison between true form and formlessness. I would like you to realise this and that is why I have come to Europe. I would like each of you to awaken to your unlimited, big Self and attain great peace of mind.
In Japan we write the word for ‘religion’ with two Chinese characters—’source’ and ‘teaching’. ‘Source’ is the essence of all things. Those who have awakened to the true nature of all things in the universe, or the Dharma-nature, are called Shakyamuni Buddha or the Tathagata or the Dharma. Buddhism is the teaching which sets forth the Way whereby you can awaken to Buddha-nature. With regard to religion, we tend to think of it as belief in something outside of ourselves. But please understand and accept that in Buddhism, the person who conveys the teaching as well as the person who hears and listens to the teaching are both you. Consequently, even if people who have different ideas or religions practise zazen, which is the study of the Self (clarification of the Self), and awaken to the essential big Self, it means that they could then really bring to life and make great use of their own religion, scholarship, ideas, and knowledge.
The condition where Buddhism prospers signifies a world where peaceful coexistence is possible, because rather than seeing the world through the small window of the ego, a succession of people appear who can really function in a totally free manner.
Buddhism Now August 2003
Other articles from Harada Sekkei Roshi.
[Extract from Harada Sekkei Roshi’s inaugural speech in Milan on taking up the position of General Director of the Soto Zen sect’s European Office for Administration and Teaching. Reprinted from the Fall 2002 issue of Hosshinji Newsletter with their kind permission. Harada Roshi is also the Abbot of Hosshinji in Japan and is the author of The Essence of Zen.]