Ideas vs. Practice

by -
A Wolf Had Not Been Seen at Salem for Thirty Years (1909), Howard Pyle

Excerpts from
To you
by Sawaki Kôdô Rôshi

Translated from Japanese by Jesse Haasch and Muhô

“Ideas are based on how things would stand if everything were already settled. The buddha-dharma is about that which hasn!t settled yet. Things are still in motion.

Religion isn’t an idea. It’s practice.

Religious practice can be called a “fact”. That means it’s a matter of fact. It’s not some medicine that promises relief.

What an experiment is for scientists is what real practice is for us. In the same way that science is meaningless without experiments, Buddhism is meaningless without practice.

Don’t get lost in thoughts about the buddha-dharma.

Be careful that you don’t handle the buddha-dharma like some canned good which has nothing to do with reality.

Your explanations and your anecdotes are foolish like everything that comes out of your mouth. The expression on your face has already said how it really is.

You can express reality completely freely with words. Yet these words are not in themselves reality. If reality were in the words themselves, we would burn our tongue whenever we said “fire”. And whenever we talked about wine, we would get drunk. In reality, it isn’t so easy.

What isn’t real is useless, no matter what we call it. And no matter how we use theories, we don’t make any progress through them. Words are nothing more than words.”

 

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