Zen Master Suzuki Roshi once looked out at his students and said, “All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement.” That’s how it is. You don’t start from the view of “I’m fundamentally messed up and I’m bad, therefore I have to get myself into shape.” Rather, the basic situation is good, it’s sound and healthy and noble, and there’s work that we need to do, because we have ancient habits which we’ve been strengthening for a long time, and it’s going to take a while to unwind them. From Pema Chodron’s book Practicing Peace In Times of War
I woke last night to rain on the roof. I have lived a long while in places that aren’t constructed in a manner that allowed me to hear the rain. It was wonderful and sweet to listen to it. Today the light feels both soft and strong, as if it caressed my eyes. It is full of deep green and brilliant yellow from the maple turning outside, the leaves glistening in the soft overcast day.
There’s traffic noises from outside. I was thinking that I have spent much of my life hoping for silence instead of just being where I am and embracing the sounds of the world.
I have been working with a Buddhist chant that honors an aspect of the Buddha that listens to the sounds of the world. Today, I am listening to the sounds of the world and thinking that it is heavy…and also cheerful…industrious and that this very road full of traffic brought Remus to have lunch with me. Sometimes the sounds hold love in it you see.
This perspective is a shift in viewpoint from wishing the world were silent.
This is what Zen Master Roshi speaks of I think.
I am basically good…and there’s room for improvement.