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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Attainment

Thank you very much for listening to my tedious lecture. If you have questions, please ask me. Hai.
Q: You were talking about Dogen Zenji's saying that eventually everyone will attain enlightenment. We hear the word "attain" often, but in chanting the Shingyo we say, "No attainment because of no attainment". I find myself clinging constantly to the idea of attaining something, or imagining that something is going to happen. It seems that what the sutra is saying, "no attainment", and what Dogen is saying, "Don't worry, because you will all attain enlightenment," are very different understandings.

SR: Yeah, very different. But when we say "attainment", the meaning is actually very different from the usual connotation of the word. By attainment we mean not even the result of practice, but that everything is attainment. What we see is attainment of something. If you say this is the result, that is the result. If you say this is the cause, that is the cause, you know. So even though I call it attainment, it may be the practice. We understand in that way. So we say "tongueless tongue, wordless word". Words beyond words. Somehow, we must say something. So, sometimes "attainment", sometimes "practice". That is our way. That is how you should listen to or read our scriptures.

 -------------------------------- Excerpt from Shunryu Suzuki lecture on the Meal Chant - 68-02-00-F as found on shunryusuzuki.com. Edited by DC