Bodhi: How do we know that it exists?

Supreme Truth of Bodhi

Expressions of truth are actualized by the skillful and creative application of the subjective energy and volition of the practitioner. Obviously, such skill could hardly be cultivated and developed by turning away or detaching from the world. As a Buddhist master, Dogen understood and taught that authentic practice-enlightenment demanded practitioners to engage in a sustained effort to perceive and comprehend real experience by engaging in the systematic training of observing, cultivating, and exercising their own perceptual capacities. Authentic expressions of truth, being real dharmas, are and must be eternal forms (i.e. real instances of existence-time). As it is the nature of human experience to ceaselessly advance, continuously casting off the “objects” of sense-experience without a moment’s rest, expressions of truth, which manifest or exemplify reality, can only be executed underway, so to speak.

The situation of this supreme truth of bodhi is such that even the whole universe in ten directions is just a small part of the supreme truth of bodhi: it may be that the truth of bodhi abounds beyond the universe. We ourselves are tools that it possesses within this universe in ten directions. How do we know that it exists? We know it is so because the body and the mind both appear in the universe, yet neither is ourself. The body, already, is not “I.” Its life moves on through days and months, and we cannot stop it even for an instant. Where have the red faces [of our youth] gone? When we look for them, they have vanished without a trace. When we reflect carefully, there are many things in the past that we will never meet again. The sincere mind, too, does not stop, but goes and comes moment by moment. Although the state of sincerity does exist, it is not something that lingers in the vicinity of the personal self. Even so, there is something that, in the limitlessness, establishes the [bodhi-]mind. Once this mind is established, abandoning our former playthings we hope to hear what we have not heard before and we seek to experience what we have not experienced before: this is not solely of our own doing. Remember, it happens like this because we are “people who are it.”

Shobogenzo, Inmo, Gudo Nishijima & Mike Cross