The bodhisattva is deeply concerned for all life. Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them. As Mahayana Buddhists we understand sentient beings to include all beings, sentient and insentient, animate and inanimate, seen and unseen, recognizing that every creature has chi, the miracle of aliveness. Every creature also possesses Buddha nature, the real truth of each being's own completeness and mutual identity and interpenetration with all things. Dogen says that no thing in the whole universe ever falls short of its own completeness. In other words, it's never, in the slightest bit, insufficient. It is always completely itself, true to itself and to its world. To understand this directly, experientially is what Daido Roshi called being born as the earth.
To recognize the rights of the earth, and increasingly to live in harmony with its Way, is the work of an increasing number of people around the world. It is also our work within this sangha, through the Green Dragon Earth Initiative. A deep concern for the natural world is an implicit part of the Buddha's teaching, and as Daido Roshi said many times, recognizing all that is nonhuman—as well as the earth itself—is part of our study of the dharma. He taught that we must understand true wisdom as a state in which our actions and understanding are identical with the effect that they have on the earth.
As practitioners in the twenty-first century, we can no longer study, practice or realize enlightened wisdom and compassion as something that only concerns our human relations. We need to see it as something that includes every relationship. And so, just as when we are under the influence of fear, anger, greed, ignorance and arrogance and affect those around us in kind, so do we affect all other creatures and the earth. Our present world is a testimony to this fact.
So how do we address our deeply held beliefs, entrenched patterns of thinking, the words and actions that have created and are actively creating today's world?
Fusatsu is a way of recognizing and addressing all actions that arise from selfclinging and lead to the disregard of others. We begin with the gatha of atonement, to understand where we are, what we have done, what we are doing and the effects of those actions. Then we have to bring all of that understanding fully into our awareness so we experience it directly, and for this we must be unafraid. We have to open our eyes, study our minds, our speech and our acts, see their source and recognize that when they arise they do so from a perceived sense of insufficiency that leads to greed. They arise from resistance or conflict, which brings forth anger. They arise out of a false understanding that manifests as ignorance. Then we practice atonement.