How to Concentrate in the Midst of Daily Affairs

In this “shortie" I'm offering another passage from Dahui's Shobogenzo (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye) that brings up the key issue for many dharma practitioners: How to concentrate in the midst of daily affairs.

This is from Master Zhenjing, a 19th generation successor in China in the Huanglong branch of the Linji succession. His answer to the question is (essentially) to awaken to the subtle truth of the buddhadharma and then to practice awakening with your whole heartmind.

Here it is:

[369] Zhu Shiying, edict attendant, once asked Master Zhenjing in a letter, “The buddhadharma is extremely subtle—how does one concentrate in the midst of daily affairs; how does one study? Please be so kind and compassionate as to point this out.”

Zhenjing replied, “The ultimate subtlety of the buddhadharma is nondual, but until you have reached the subtlety there is comparative superiority and inferiority.

"When one reaches the subtlety, then the person who understands mind actually knows one’s own mind is ultimately originally enlightened, is actually independent, is actually at ease, actually liberated, actually pure, and in daily affairs just uses their own mind. If you can take hold of the transformations of your own mind, then use it, without asking if it’s right or wrong.

"If you set your mind to thinking, already you don’t know. If you don’t take on an attitude, it is naturally real in every particular, clear and sublime in every particular, in every particular like a lotus blossom to which water does not adhere. The purity of mind transcends that, so if you’re confused about your own mind you are a common creature, while if you understand your own mind you’re a Buddha.

"So common creatures are Buddhas, and Buddhas are common creatures—it is due to confusion or enlightenment that they are one or the other."