Seeking the Dharma

In the Genjokoan (Actualizing the Fundamental Point), Zen Master Dogen writes:

When one first seeks the dharma,
one is far away from its environs.

When one has already correctly transmitted
the dharma to oneself, one is one’s original
self at that moment.

Dogen Zenji’s teaching reminds us of our initial separation from what is ours. When we begin to seek the dharma, there is an “I” that looks for it over “there.” But the dharma is already alive in us and requires only that we realize it, which is what he means in the second sentence: having “correctly transmitted the dharma to oneself,” one is one’s real self in that moment.

I think all of us yearn to experience ourselves as whole and complete, to live our lives fully and freshly in each moment. But something blocks us, and Zen training is one way to see that, all along, we have what we need. This is called the realization of the original self.

– Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, “An Introduction to Zen.”

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