What is Buddhism?
Whether we can believe this explanation or not depends on the depth of each person's relation to the Dharma (Buddhist law). Though this is unavoidable, I would like to try and explain what Buddhism is.
The basis of Buddhism, all of it, is simply expressed by this sentence.
"Realize the universe is one thing and attach it to the body."
Buddha Shyakamuni, before he was enlightened, thought that he was one small block in the universe. Then, on December 8, the moment he saw a morning star he instantly lost 'I' and the boundary between 'I and another'. He noticed a wonderful thing.
He noticed that everything in the universe has no reason, no philosophy, no religion, no name and no boundary. The universe itself, completely uncovered, is just one thing. He realized this to be 'true I'. At that time, Buddha Shyakamuni had a deep impression. He said, "Strange strange, mountain, river, grass and wood, all is enlightened."
He had realized that everything has no ego. There are no two things alike, everything is perfectly different and so it is impossible to compare them. It is impossible for us to manipulate this perfect existence. The universe is one grand exhibition of these perfect existences.
We can understand the greatness of this discovery if we have the same experience, no matter how small. (This is called Kensho.) Even if I carefully explain about this experience, you may receive a brief understanding but you cannot truly realize or experience this deep impression.
When you realize that the universe is one thing, completely uncovered, all questions will completely melt away. The universe is one thing and so it is impossible to be born and impossible to die. There is no 'other place' that we come from when we are born or go to when we die. Our form is always changing. This constant changing is 'true I'.
When alive, just alive and when dead, just dead. Death is perfect in death, life is perfect in life, and it is impossible to compare them.
When we enlighten, questions about life and death melt away. We realize that in reality, there is no contradiction between life and death.
There are no opposites in the universe. As there is no life and death, there are also no such things as discrimination and enlightenment, saint and normal, good and bad, gain and loss. This we can understand clearly when we have an experience the same as Buddha Shyakamuni did. We must have a glimpse, at least once, of this no ego universe. A monk, at the very least, must be a teacher of this realization. Without this, even a monk living a very serious life is not a true monk. Zazen is the best way to reach this realization. Sesshin is a useful practice to touch this no ego universe.
Currently, we are completely confused by the theories humans have made. When we understand this, our whole life completely changes. We can escape theory and abandon all of our discriminations. We must become one with this no ego universe, and attach it to our body. The roots of our human discrimination are so strong and deep. Even if we realize the truth, it is difficult to pursue, as our body is deeply bound to our brain and cannot easily escape from our discriminations. We feel that we are separate to another. We move by the desire of 'I'. Because of this we must make a deliberate effort to continue Zen practice, abandoning ourselves and becoming one with everything. Some people think that if we abandon 'deliberate' practice we will become 'true I'. This is a mistake. If we abandon deliberate practice we will remain a common person. No one can escape from hard practice.
Like this, abandon yourself and continue until finally and completely you can live a no ego life while continuing practice. This is Buddhism.