This life of mine is perfect and complete Buddha nature; the teachings state this directly. So this should be easy—just live as an enlightened being. But what is that, really? We come to practice to be completely liberated from suffering, but the old habits of solving problems, finding adjustments or applying ‘the fix’ aren’t the same as taking up the bodhisattva vows. The Buddha and his early followers wandered and practiced together, seeking the true path of awakening, and that’s where we all begin. This Buddha nature is innate, and it has to be verified personally, with one’s very own evolving experience.
“Beginning Mind,” the theme of this Mountain Record, explores the Way-seeking path that calls on us to be wholehearted, attentive, unbiased—to bring forth a mind of beginning, again, and again. Shugen Sensei describes the importance of preparing one’s mind through ancient, traditional Buddhist practices such as prostrations, making offerings, and atonement. Zuisei Goddard explores the wisdom of starting by aligning one’s perspective with the Buddha’s teaching through Right View, and Joseph Goldstein describes the expectations and impatience we bring beginning practice as well as the humbling and softening that can happen over time.
Beginning Mind includes curiosity, appreciation, and the use of all our sense faculties. Hojin Osho explores this in her piece on art practice, and Robin Wall Kimmerer through her fresh observations of the natural world. Returning to openness time and again, Hogen Sensei leads us through a koan on zazen. National Buddhist Prison Sangha members contribute their voices in Sangha Reflections, describing what is truly helpful for living our lives with integrity on the bodhisattva path.
May we all do our best to meet reality with a spacious, engaged, questioning mind, and practice all of life, even when it’s difficult, and offer our heart-felt curiosity, lovingkindness and vitality to all beings.
Suzanne Taikyo Gilman
Mountain Record Editor