05/6 Soku-shin-ze-butsu



Mind Here and Now Is Buddha

Soku means “here and now.” Shin means “mind.” Ze means “is.” Butsu means “buddha.” The principle of soku-shin-ze-butsu, or “mind here and now is buddha” is very famous in Buddhism, but many people have interpreted the principle to support the beliefs of naturalism. They say if our mind here and now is just buddha, our conduct must always be right, and in that case, we need not make any effort to understand or to realize Buddhism. However, this interpretation is a serious mistake. The principle soku-shin-ze-butsu, “mind here and now is buddha,” must be understood not from the standpoint of the intellect, but from the standpoint of practice. In other words, the principle does not mean belief in something spiritual called “mind” but it affirms the time “now” and the place “here” as reality itself. This time and place must always be absolute and right, and so we can call them the truth or “buddha.” In this chapter, Master Dogen explained this meaning of soku-shin-ze-butsu, or “mind here and now is buddha.”