Tosui's Wisdom

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

Or how to give up manipulating reality to live it directly.

Tosui had become Hoganji's abbot. After many years of study, and in a very recalcitrant way, he finally agreed to teach those who came to ask him. He didn't feel like he was any wiser or different from the rest, there had to be someone to perform the rituals and conduct the ceremonies, take responsibility for looking after the affairs of the community, and even if all this bored him deeply, he did not show it. He saw it only too well, his own stupidity was glaring to him, for a long time he had adopted Master Dogen's adage: “Those who awaken from their own illusions are called Buddhas; those who delude themselves about their Awakening are ordinary beings”. So taking the full measure of his own bewilderment, seeing clearly in his troubled mind was in his eyes much more important than taking advantage of his position or his wisdom. The bare seat on the platform was essentially that: an exercise where one was facing oneself, in a great intimacy devoid of ordinary games and calculations. Always dressed in the same light robe, summer and winter alike, the abbot paid little heed to coquetry and other outward signs. Unlike most other temple leaders, he was available to everyone, regardless of rank, age, or gender. In his eyes, each was the living and touching expression of the Buddha. But a day came when a young monk named Ejo asked to serve and study with the master. Tosui saw little objection, especially since the priest seemed to have a strong will to understand and practice and he put a lot of heart into the work.

After a long year of service and intensive practice, and before leaving the monastery to roam like cloud and living water, Ejo asked the master to write a gatha, a rhythmic poem that could condense the essence of his teaching. Tosui had sniffed out the animal and knew his man, so he offered the following verses borrowed from tenderness and benevolence:

Ejo, let your wisdom and meditation shine unobstructed
And here and there, drop things
Give up, even give up the idea of ​​giving up
What will you have left to let go?
Drink the tea and chew the rice
And don't look elsewhere
Ejo let your wisdom and meditation shine unobstructed
And the ten thousand things will finally find rest

“Those who awaken from their own illusions are called Buddhas; those who delude themselves about their Awakening are ordinary beings. » Dogen

In fact, Ejo was a name that meant wisdom and meditative practice. However, the wise advice pointed neither more nor less towards the obvious: to be only oneself. The invitation was very clear: it was a question of giving up all effort, and this until the giving up itself. Ejo reading his master's cursive calligraphy had a hard time concealing his surprise mixed with disappointment: what, it was only about that? Did the old fox take him for an inexperienced hen? It took him several long years of patience and contemplation to finally understand the treasure that the old scoundrel had brandished to him, an inexhaustible treasure, an inexhaustible wealth, because it was offered at every moment.

Free yourself from outlets

We often do too much. Our rantings or the way we infatuate ourselves with chimeras and cultivate virtual paradises often provide us with an inexhaustible distraction, and the resulting dissatisfaction leads to further pursuits and the search for new derivatives. This vicious circle of an addictive nature, of which virtual reality would today be a paradigm and a paradise, is a source of suffering. The “ifs” brighten up our hours and offer us false hopes. Our reflexes lead us and lead us astray from click to click, from thought to thought. In doing so, we miss the real or wish it to conform to our desires. The wish that Tosui forms for his student is to see him free from these outlets: to give up manipulating reality in order to live it directly, without any opacity or gap between being and action. Live life as it is given to us without looking for doors and exits, without dreaming of better worlds and more favorable situations. For us, this could mean abandoning the use of laptops and tablets, no longer throwing ourselves at screens or rather considerably limiting our use of them. Invite the boredom and idleness dear to Montaigne to our table, dare to have nothing to do and no one to talk to.

Ce non-action this action devoid of intention, this moment without before or after, without motivation or goal, such is the very simplicity to which we do not subtract or add anything, and we then arrive where we have already arrived. . There is no other place or time than this. You could call it the present time and place. On a station platform, at lunch break, in transport or even at work, you are still and always the only and true kingdom.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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