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Wash away the discriminating shadow...
Harada Roshi


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What is the role of faith in Zen? I see that if I don't have faith that my practice will produce something positive doubts and anxiety easily overcome my efforts. When you were a young monk how did you develop faith in your practice?


There are two types of religions. Those that find truth outside of themselves and those who realize truth inside themselves. The religions where you realize truth outside of yourself are based on faith, while experiencing truth inside of yourself is called belief. Because you actually have experienced your own mind. In Zen the important point is to awaken, the self awakening to the self. This is a mind where not even a speck of a shadow neither any decorations remain. Simply returning to our originally empty mind. That is why in Zen we throw any kind of seeking away. This sounds scary to someone who is finding truth in something outside of themselves, they feel unsettled just hearing this. They imagine that this kind of mind must be like a black hole you will fall into. Yet we do have our six senses and thus our mind is not simply empty and melancholic but we are like a mirror reflecting the world around us. If this mirror becomes cloudy, we cannot see this world clearly anymore. To experience the pure working of this mirror is what is called Zen. Thus it cannot be a mirror that only reflects what it likes and ignores the ugly. A pure mirror does not even go to the dualism of like or dislike, yet can perceive things just as they are. If our mind is pure, we see god in everything.


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