— 2.B.2 Christian response by Piotr Sikora

(Response to 2.B.2 Hakuin’s Song of Zazen, presented by Ruben Habito)


While reading Hakuin’s song of Zazen I felt very strong resonance with what I read as the most important thoughts. Of course, as a Christian I used to use different terms than Hakuin did. However, I felt that I can, and want, to sing a similar song: “From the beginning all beings are Christ-like. Like water and ice, without water no ice, Christ is not outside. How near the truth, yet how far we seek. Like one in water crying, “I thirst!” The cause of our sorrow is ego delusion. From dark path to dark path we’ve wandered in darkness, how can we be freed from sin? The gateway to freedom is love. Beyond exaltation, beyond all our praises the pure Way, Truth and Life. Observing the Commandments, Repentance and Giving, the countless good deeds and the Way of Right Living, all come from love. Thus one act of love extinguishes evils. It purifies life, dissolving obstructions. Then where are the dark paths to lead us astray? The Pure God’s Kingdom is not far away. Hearing this truth, heart humble and grateful. To praise and embrace it, to practice its Wisdom, brings unending blessings, bring mountains of merit. And if we turn inward and prove our True Nature, that True Self is no-self, our own self is no-self, we go beyond ego and past clever words. Then the gate to the oneness of loving and loved is thrown open. Not two and not three, straight ahead runs the Way. Our form now being no-form, in going and returning we never leave home. Our thought now being no-thought, our dancing and songs are the Voice of the Gospel. How vast is the heaven of boundless love! How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom! What is there outside us? What is there we lack? Salvation is openly shown to our eyes. This earth where we stand is the kingdom of heaven! And this very body, the body of Christ”. I agree that entering spiritual life includes realization that – contrary to very popular conviction – what is Ultimate is not somewhere, far away, outside our very self. Jesus reminded his disciples that the kingdom of heaven is within us. And at the same time, the realization that the attachment to one’s self is the root of all evil I recognize as very close to my Christian heart. As Jesus said in the Gospel: “whoever is bound to her/his self loses it, whoever despises her/his self in this world will keep it for eternal life”. On the other hand, I recognize that the differences between my song and that of Hakuin are not without significance. One has many reasons that all the changes I made when transforming Hakuin’s song into mine, make them not only different but incompatible. Nevertheless, I hope – I don’t know – that all these differences are of secondary importance. When this hope has its roots? One such a root is “Mu”. The Hakuin’s song states that every sentient being has the Buddha nature. This is – as far as I understand – the common and very fundamental conviction within Buddhist tradition which constitutes the basis for the entire practice of Zen schools of Buddhism. On discursive, logical level, however, the Joshu’s answer stands in plain contradiction to that fundamental truth. However, it is a fundamental mistake to hold that one side is right and the other wrong is a mistake, isn’t it? If it is a mistake, it means that one cannot approach the Hakuin’s song on logical level. The same one can say about my song. This is why there is a possibility that despite all the discursive incompatibilities both songs may have common root and common point of reference. So, is there a barrier between us? The barrier of our ancestors. Buddha – Christ. Samsara – sinful world. Pure Lotus Land – Kingdom of God. Samadhi – Love. Mu!