“One by one, each thing is complete
One by one, each thing has it.
It and dust interpenetrate, it is already apparent in all things.
So without cultivation you are already complete.”
I read this quote once at a zen retreat as I was instructed to by Zen master Dae Kwang and it opened a door in my mind. Without cultivation, I, everyone, is complete. We are always judging ourselves to be short of the mark in some way. As a therapist, people come to me because there’s at least one place in their life that they need to work on to improve themselves, their lives. It is our thinking that leads us to feel this way. We set up ideas of who we should be or how the world should be and then we don’t measure up—we are incomplete. If you go back to the root of the word translated as “sin,” it means to miss the mark, which, of course, assumes there is a mark to miss. And we, as humans, are always missing our mark. When humans developed the thinking mind, that threw us out of the garden of completeness. Each moment is complete just the way it is, but then we start thinking about it.
This is the starting point of Buddhism. Gautama looked up at Venus, the morning star, and said,” No problem,” or something like that.
Years later at another retreat I had a deeper experience of that completeness. We were doing a meditative walk in the snow and the line of zen students was snaking up the hill. I looked around at us walking on the snow covered hill, and in the moment it all seemed perfect, complete. And ultimately that is how each moment is, but our mind is not in the place to receive that. We practice meditation, bioenergetics, yoga, Qi gong, go to therapy and many other things so we can learn to rest in that more and more, however “without cultivation we are already complete.”