Q: What makes you a Buddha? Is it true that you’re not a Buddha until the moment you realize it?
A: In Zen the word "realization" does not refer to some kind of intellectual idea of understanding. It is a matter of shedding body and mind, then shedding that shedding. That's what results in "realization." It is often called 妙悟, or the "mysterious," "subtle," "unfathomable," "profound" realization or understanding.
Once you attain This, you will have no problems. Until you attain This, you will have every possible problem!
Q: I've been reading this book called "Radical Zen." Here (and I quote) it says,
"True" nature implies the existence of a "false" nature. Joshu [is] suggesting [instead] that "everything is real [or true]" -- [so] there is no need to look for anything special, the "true" as opposed to the "false."A: The author of this comment has misunderstood. Joshu himself says there is a True Self, distinct from the "false" self made up of material elements, and once you realize it, that's "the One in Charge."
This nature existed before the appearance of the world. If the world ends, this will not end. From the time I saw my True Self, there hasn't been anyone else. There's just the One In Charge.Even though This Nature exists before the universe appears, and does not end even if the universe ends, there is still "a moment" when you see your True Self, just as there was for Joshu. Unless you experience that "moment," which is Sudden Enlightenment, you are still lost and wandering in Samsara. Once you have experienced that "moment," you are free to come and go as you please. If you meet the Buddha, you kill the Buddha, and so on. But if you try to kill the Buddha before you have attained 妙悟, the Buddha will kill you first -- with extreme prejudice.