Our intrinsic Buddha Nature is right here now, in this very place, and there are endless ways to awaken to this fact. The Zen tradition is full of stories about the different ways teachers have provoked a realisation with their students, In the Fukanzazengi Dogen Zenji talks about how teachers used “a whisk, a fist, a stick or a shout”. There are accounts of people awakening by hearing the sound of a pebble or by seeing the morning star. You can just as well realise profound enlightenment by stubbing your big toe! Anything can work because the Truth is the essence of everything and permeates everywhere. Our senses can lead us to believe otherwise. We look at other people and may not see their true nature. We look at ourselves and may only see our incompleteness. We easily perceive all sorts of forms and colors, we experience all kinds of emotions and thoughts but we don’t see the essence that connects all phenomena. Maybe that’s why we don’t appreciate this life- we only look at the surface of things and end up missing the heart. The surface will never bring lasting satisfaction. Remember, the word shin points to the way things really are: it can be translated as heart-mind and as essence. Reality, or the essence of everything, including ourselves, is heart-mind, Buddha Nature.
Excerpt from a recent teisho given by Tenkei Roshi on Fukanzazengi, 2005