Friday, July 10, 2009


"Gratitude" number 101 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

When we talk about gratitude, it's easy to get confused.

That's because there are two kinds of gratitude. The usual kind is the kind we learned about in Kindergarten. We solemnly express thankfulness for receiving something. That something could be a thing, or a constellation of non-material stuff.

The other type of gratitude comes not out of some personal action, but is the feeling/tone that grows out of resting the thinking brain. This resting of the thinking brain is referred to as "nonthinking". It is a very tricky thing. As soon as we think we're "thinking not-thinking", we're thinking. We have to be on constant guard, but it is worth it. Here we get to touch the gratitude that permeates the universe. Gratitude that confirms unity. 

"We always measure things by our personal yardsticks. For example, if you experience a great feeling from your "not-thinking," you may say, "Wow, this is great!" But this is already measurement. Finally, neither "not-thinking" nor "thinking" hits the mark. So instead of measuring something by your yardstick, just try to be right in the middle of the world. This is called "nonthinking." It is nothing but practice; sit down there, peacefully, harmoniously. But watch out. Every day, from moment to moment, watch out, because egoistic consciousness is always coming up."
Katagiri Roshi

Yes indeed, watch out! Express the first type of gratitude and make yourself available to the second.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.

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