Hey to Brad & all,
As you know, Dogen opens “Fukan zazen gi” by wondering why, if the whole being is far beyond defilement, anyone could believe in a method to polish it.
I think you’ve left that out of your discussion, and that’s the hardest part of Buddhism to comprehend, which is why it was Dogen s question on the way to China and the first thing he sought to address when he got back. That is, if the end of suffering is accessible to all and a part of daily life, then why a practice like zazen?
I wrote toward this question in my “unauthorized and incomplete guide to zazen”, and the answer I found was that our postural activity comes largely out of the stretch of fascia and ligaments, yet the activity out of stretch doesn’t begin until the stretch is almost uncomfortable. So if we are averse to the painful (or attached to the pleasant, or ignorant), consciousness no longer takes place spontaneously, no longer occurs where it needs to occur in order for the activity of the body to balance naturally, and we experience a separation from ourselves and everyone else that is suffering. A key point being that everyone can and does witness activity out of the impact of consciousness on stretch, and everyone can and does experience the ability to feel generated by impact, but only those who seek an end to suffering realize the significance of the experience.
yers truly, Mark