To change your life, change your mind,
which changes your speech and actions,
which changes others’ experiences of you,
which changes their responses to you,
which changes your experiences of them.
A passing glance at a phrase from the holy teachings will lead the eye on to read the words surrounding it, and before you know it, you may have right years of error. Had you not opened the text just then, you might never have had that realization. This is an example of the virtue of contact [with the Buddhist sutras].
Even if you lack all faith, simply to seat yourself before a [Buddha] image, hold a rosary [prayer beads] and take up a sutra book is to perform a virtuous act, however perfunctory; even seated on your meditation chair [or cushion] with distracted mind, you will sink into meditation before you know it. Phenomena and their inner essence are intrinsically one. If outward actions conform, inner realization will naturally follow. Do not decry a lack of faith – such [so-called by some] ’empty gestures’ in fact deserve our reverence.
Essays In Idleness [徒然草: Scribbles In Vain]
Translated By Meredith Mckinney