" Little by little, day by day, your practice will deepen, revealing a mind that is open, free and receptive. The more we sit zazen, the more we come in contact with our lives and the way our minds work. We will never find complete and lasting peace in this life until we realize personally the inherent perfection of our own life, an inherent freedom that all of us are born with.
From birth we have been conditioned by different events and people - our teachers, parents, country, culture, neighborhood, friends, and peers. Everything we cherish - our positions, attitudes, opinions, all of our attachments, all the things we think give our life identity - are found in our conditioning. Now here we are, decades later, trying to live our lives out of this random programming we call "my life." We feel so strongly about parts of the program we are ready to die for it. And it's all created in our own mind.
There is no escaping the fact that getting beyond this accumulated conditioning is a long process. Thirty or forty years of programming takes time to work through. We look at the thoughts, acknowledge them, let them go, coming back to breath. Day by day, we uncover what is underneath all of the conditioning. What we discover is called freedom. It is called human life. It is called wisdom and compassion. It's the nature of all beings. We don't need a rule book to go by. We've come into this life fully equipped as a Buddha, and we'll go out fully equipped as a Buddha, realized or not. Some will realize, some will not, and whether we do or don't is up to each one of us. It depends on how much we are willing to practice our life, how willing we are to search deeply enough to realize it directly.
Once realized, all the questions dissolve. Differences merge and a whole new reality, a whole new way of understanding ourself and the universe begins to develop. [All of this study is a drop in the ocean] If you use that drop, practice that drop, then it will eventually be the ocean that covers the earth, encompasses the heavens, reaching everywhere, touched by everything. That is your life." - John Daido Loori