We have all received a self. We received a self from our parents. We are receiving ourself from our breakfast. But how many of us truly accept our self?
To begin to see the extent to which I, in my vestibular dysfunction and associated perfectionistic control freakery, fail to truly accept myself: this might, in the end, be the best I can do in the way of self-acceptance. If complete self-acceptance is no vestibular dysfunction and total elimination of vestibular-based perfectionistic control freakery, I may as well give up sitting-zen practice here and now and take up something less demanding -- maybe mountain climbing or professional boxing, for example. Or perhaps pursue the career of a concert pianist.
We all have continued since before being born to use ourself. But generally we use ourselves unconsciously, unthinkingly, unattentively. We end-gain.
To limit JI-JU to autonomic receiving of the self, as opposed to conscious acceptance of the self, might be a mistake -- like sitting in lotus with the body. To limit JI-JU to conscious acceptance of the self, as opposed to autonomic receiving of the self, might also be a mistake -- like sitting in lotus with the mind. To limit JI-YO to reflex use of the self, as opposed to conscious use of the self, might be a mistake -- like sitting in lotus with the body. To limit JI-YO to conscious use of the self, as opposed to automatic, unconscious, reflex use of the self, might also be a mistake -- like sitting in lotus with the mind.
Egged on by the Luetchfords, Gudo perceived that I wanted to identify Master Dogen's teaching with that of FM Alexaner. And so Gudo poisoned our relationship forever and broke my heart. But no, that was Gudo's mistake. It was never my intention to identify A with B, only to clarify A more deeply.
I wanted to understand Master Dogen's teaching with the help of FM Alexander, and that is what I did. For 700 years nobody understood Master Dogen's instruction to sit in lotus with body, with mind, and as body and mind dropping off. But, with the help of two dead men, Master Dogen and FM Alexander, and the living pratice of sitting-zen, in the end, I could not fail to understand it. I arrived at that understanding eventually. But it cost me a lot of grief, which I haven't managed to process yet. The truth may be that I have been suppressing my grief, for a long time.
The translation of JI-JUYO-ZANMAI that appears in the opening paragraph of the Nishijima-Cross Shobogenzo translation, "the samadhi of receving and using the self," was a mistake. Furthermore, the title of this post, "Samadhi of Accepting and Using the Self," might also be a mistake.
I have received myself, but I do not always accept all of myself. I use myself ceaselessly, but often unthinkingly, badly, unharmoniously -- creating unwholesome karma within and without. Those two kinds of mistake are probably the most fundamental mistakes that I make every day.
Now I am going to France for three or four weeks, mainly in order to make those two kinds of mistake. If the stillness catches me, if the sound of the forest stream washes away all cares and body and mind drop off, so be it. But I don't expect that. What I do definitely expect, from repeated experience, is that after three or four days of karmic detox, I will awake wearily in the early hours, plagued by regrets for past mistakes large and small, and will sit alone in a cold pre-dawn, sitting in lotus with the body, like a being in hell, or a hungry ghost, or a dumb animal -- waiting for the first bird to tweet. I am looking forward to it.
Not only will I enjoy it; by sitting wholeheartedly in lotus, I will also be able to defeat miscellaneous pests. Even as a being in hell or a dumb animal, by sitting in the full lotus posture I will defeat the likes of Yoko and Michael Luetchford, James Cohen, and miscellaneous other celestial demons, at a stroke. Irrespective of me, the virtue of sitting in the full lotus posture is like that.