If Enlightenment is possible here and now and in this lifetime regardless of prior knowledge or practice, the question remains whether Enlightenment happens by grasping it or by letting it go. Zen Master Dogen, in speaking to his assembly during the celebration of the Enlightenment of the Buddha tells us that there are two causes and conditions for accomplishing the Buddha Way.
Approaching the varieties of religious expression and trying to make sense of them can be daunting to the casual observer. The World’s Religions are a peacock’s feathers display of color. There are differences in language, ceremony, and religious attire, as well as customs and histories making it all very confusing.
The Soto school of Zen is not concerned with whether we have some special experience or an “aha” moment or insight. Shunryu Suzuki Roshi says, “These forms are not a means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this [zazen] posture is itself the right state of mind. There is no need to obtain some special state of mind.”
Many are familiar with the yin-yang symbol, but few of us know what it means or how it is applied to real life. In Zen Master Dogen’s time this symbol was taken for granted. Not just Dogen Zenji, but all of Japanese culture connects the solstice with the yin-yang energy that fluctuates depending on the time of year.