Q.: Roshi, what is the meaning of this Japanese word you sometimes use to describe the natural way of Zen, Reiho? Also, I feel so unenlightened, so deeply afflicted and confused! Tell me: how can I remain in the sublime states I sometimes reach through doing Zen, and stop being so lazy in my everyday life? How can I breakthrough my tiresome normal everyday habits and patterns?
A.: The deep meaning of Reiho is that it is the correct and universal way of doing things. It is a matter of showing respect and treating every event as a teacher of your self. That is, of your heart. So everything in life is an occasion for practicing Reiho. It is also a term used for the Buddhist Law in the profoundest sense, that is for what Shakyamuni realized when he saw the morning star.
It is true that all beings are enlightened, and it is also true that all beings are afflicted and confused. This is your wonderful freedom. When you look straight at a star, it can seem to disappear, and when you glance away it magically appears again. The same is true of the sublime states. As soon as you look at them, they seem to vanish. But in reality a sublime state is just the expression of the thought-less state of your heart when you are absorbed in oneness and in one activity.
When Bodhidharma taught Hui K'o he simply said "No! No!" every time Hui K'o came up with some explanation for it.
Everybody is lazy compared to the ideal of somebody who is never lazy, but breaking through normal patterns is not what's needed. So what's needed? Just loving attention to Reiho.
One goes through the forms without any special insistence and acts in a minimal and correct way. It's a lifelong effort to master this, but it must also always be a joy and satisfaction right now or it's not Reiho -- which is a kind of Shibumi, or unforced elegance.
Sitting, standing, bowing, lying down -- just make each action complete in itself and do everything in a relaxed and heartfelt state of mind without giving rise to distracting thoughts. Affliction comes from trying to get ahead of or beyond yourself or look at yourself from outside with a judging attitude. When you're in doubt or in trouble learn how to put energy into your gaze and change your sadness into delight by letting it settle in the blazing clear space right in front of your eyes.