Everywhere life is sufficient in its way. Let’s not miss those three little words: in its way. In the way of this life. Recognize that this is nothing other than the life that’s sitting exactly where you’re sitting. It is sufficient precisely and completely as that life. What is its way? What is the way of sitting and receiving this talk? What is the way of taking care of your child, your parent, your partner, your neighborhood, this world? Because within that, life is sufficient in its own way.

And then the qualifying statement: No matter if one is not as clever as others. Notice how Hongzhi clarifies what that its way is all about. Stop comparing this to anything else. No matter if one is not as clever as others, no matter if one is cleverer than others. No matter what. Regardless of difference, measuring, comparing—it is here that we discover the way of this life.

Frequently we speak about Buddhism as a natural religion, meaning that the teachings of the buddhadharma are not contrived. They are embedded in the very nature of reality. They are natural, and when we take them up they expose the unnaturalness of our self-centered behavior and attitude. Zazen is a perfect manifestation of natural activity, as natural as it gets, as natural as your breath. Zazen, when recognized for what it is, is your breath. It is the ease, the dignity, the wisdom of your body. It is the intrinsic clarity of your awareness.

Fouquier