Inmost Request

In 1965 Suzuki Roshi talked about what he called one’s inmost request, he said:

What is your basic intention? Sooner or later, you will reach inmost request or enlightenment or buddha-nature. Then you will find out all [that] you do is based on your inmost request. Before you know that, you are just wandering about. But after that, you will know the oneness of wandering about and enlightened life. Once you know what it is you will find out the meaning of practice.

What is our most basic intention in practice? What is our deepest vow? We will find our true intention rooted in our daily lives. If we try to follow some idea of the Bodhisattva Vow that is not grounded in daily life, we will not be able to find our place in such a large field.

We chant: “Beings are numberless, I vow to save them; delusions are inexhaustible,  I vow to end them; Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them and Buddha’s Way is unsurpassable, I vow to become it.” We ask, which Dharma gate? Who do I save? How do I find Buddha’s Way? Suzuki Roshi gives us a clue when he said ‘you will know the oneness of wandering about and enlightened life.” Our wandering is wandering in this moment, struggling with this problem or this relationship. That is where our vow or inmost request will come forward and guide our practice.

We ask, what do I really want? The answer to that question must be specific to our situation. Perhaps you want to be more patience or generous, or less controlling or more compassionate. For example, when we find ourselves caught in anger, and we don’t want to apologize or back down, then we must remember our deepest intention to cultivate patience. At first we don’t want to be patient because we think that we will be diminished, but we keep bringing ourselves back to our intention. What do I really want? How in the midst of this deep suffering can I let go, drop the self and allow this intention to come forward? We have to really want this, because if it does not have true meaning to our specific situation we will not do the hard work it takes to enact transformation.

When we are willing to make this leap into actualizing this inmost request that we make of ourselves, then true practice begins. No matter how much we wander about, we will be guided by this true inner light of our Buddha Nature.

For more information on Suzuki Roshi at David Chadwick’s site, click here.

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