When we fall down

A student asked master Sozan, “The teachings say that everyone who falls down on the ground must stand up again by relying on the ground. What is the meaning of to fall down?”

Sozan said, “If you affirm the situation, that is the answer.”

The student said, “What is the meaning of standing up?”

Sozan said, “Just stand up!”

“What is it to fall down?”

Sozan, Chinese Chan/Zen master, died 606 AD

We think hitting the ground, knocking over the barrier is a mistake, but the ground we hit, the failure we experience is not a mistake. The world is endlessly mysterious, experience is profound to a degree that will always surprise us. But it is never a mistake. To foster even a meager appreciation of that (and when we’re in the midst of a fall, meager is pretty big) is to begin to practice… It is the decision to stop complaining and to start paying attention. Contained in the fall is exactly what we need to stand. Everything we need is available, but we have to invite it. What is it to invite reality? 

Bonnie Myotai Treace Sensei M.R.O, Dogen Cubed

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