When Nansen, a teacher, was asked, “What is Buddhism?” he answered, “Everyday life.” This is one of the many ways to point out the essence of Buddhism. In Buddhism we talk about the “way” or “path.” In Chinese it is called “Tao,” in Japanese, “Do.” “Do” is the path or the way we live each day. What is this path? What kind of path do you walk? We make many pretensions, and we represent things as we want them to be. We do not see things as they are. We do not understand life “as it is.” Buddhism is the most natural way of life where every little thing we do is the way.
Without pretensions or artificiality, each path is uniquely an individual’s own. Each way is different and yet there is the Great Way that everyone walks. It is the same path but different to each individual. It can be difficult to understand that the universal Way is one’s own way. This is the difference between the true way and the not-true way. Just as freedom is different from lawlessness, freedom is always one with law. Freedom exists when law is lived. What this means is that one must find the way deep inside oneself. Yet at the same time the way does exist “out there.” Outside and inside become identical. The universal and particular become one. You live your own life and there is no pre-established pattern. Yet your unique pattern forms the same way the universe forms. This is life’s path. It is a flower blooming, the wind blowing. You live; I live.
When you live the universal Way, you see life expressing itself everywhere. It is such a tremendous, noble life that you cannot help being inspired. Life is art when lived this way. Art means it is absolute. There is creativity in life; imitation has no value. Art must be original and unique. The art of haiku, Japanese poetry, is the Buddhist life expressed in poetic form. Each moment in life is a poem in itself. When each action is an expression of life itself there is beauty and fulfillment. This is the universal path. It is the way that Nansen pointed to when he said, “Buddhism is everyday life.”
By Gyomay Kubose, from his book The Center Within.
The Center Within by Gyomay Kubose is a book that will always remain on my bookshelf. At the time of this post I’ve read all or parts of it at least 4-5 times and wanted to share it with you.
This book consists of short articles written by Gyomay Kubose, if you are interested in purchasing this book you can cut and paste this link into your browser or go to the Buddhist Church of America website and check out their bookstore.
I hope you enjoyed the article!