286.

 

The dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham said dance is the fleeting moment of feeling totally alive

But you feeling totally alive is the small miracle.  Experiencing the great fabric of all things as totally alive is the great miracle.

Allowing all this experience to flood through you: like light, undiminished by love, or by hate, or by comparison or by analysis. The great miracle is like a vast clear river which leaves no residue. Great, because although manifested fleetingly, even so

the world will not fall into nothingness.

 

 
285.

 

Issho Fujita described our practice as “One Piece Zen”. That is, rather than the individual striving of this person, our practice expresses the dynamic unity of all beings, all being, all space.

The trap is to picture a cosmos, with us within it. To escape that trap, we need to feel this dynamic unity as something real, not imagined. That’s why the posture is so important.

In our posture, we have the actual experience of dynamic wholeness and aliveness with our liberated spines. We have the actual experience of vast dynamic space with our liberated breath.

So, our posture, from the perspective of the self, is the symbolic enactment of the two facets of this dynamic unity, and the unity itself. And, when body and mind is dropped off, this enactment is no longer just symbolic, but real.

 

 
284.

 

Buddhism is full of apparent opposites: Form and Emptiness, Language and Silence, Samsara and Nirvana, and the temptation is always to posit one of the pair as fundamental, and the other as inhibiting our access to it. But really, we need to understand these pairings as like the wings of the bird of our radical wholeness and aliveness.

Take the second one, for example. When we sit, it’s very common to think of whatever arises as obscuring silence, and we need to get rid of it. But if our language is superficial, why would our silence be profound?

What we need to understand is that language and silence are completely interwoven. Where one goes, the other follows. The real question is: What language? What silence?

They are like two people swimming across a stormy sea. Neither can reach the shore by their own efforts alone. But when one is exhausted, the other carries them. So neither drowns.

 

 
283.

 

In Chapter eleven of The Lotus Sutra, there is the story of a stupendously large tower, many miles high and wide, containing both the remains and the living body of an ancient Buddha, which has lain concealed within the dynamic ground, and which emerges when it appears that the Buddha is about to preach The Lotus Sutra, hovering in mid air. Shakyamuni Buddha then joins the ancient Buddha in the tower, a Buddha alone, together with a Buddha.

It seems unlikely that anyone has ever taken this scene literally, so what is it trying to say?

It is extremely rich and potent obviously, but I would wish to draw attention to the depth of the ground and the height of the sky. One is reminded of the Buddha’s enlightenment, where he touches the ground, and sees the morning star, shining through vast space.

The ground - Being - is not static or passive. It is dynamic, full of expression. Likewise, space - Emptiness - is not ‘empty’, it is the location of the liberation of Being into full expression.

And when you sit, you are the dynamic ground. You are the plenitude of space. And when you breath and move, you are Emptiness, made real.

 

 
282.


Within our strand of Buddhism, the most important sutra, by some distance, is The Lotus Sutra.

The sutra depicts a universe of unimaginable extent and duration, within which a large group of characters ebb and flow through an unimaginable number of lifetimes. The central message of the sutra, which is gradually unfolded, is that each being, at some point in the unimaginably vast future, will become a Buddha.

Think about this. Within this perspective, you are the past life of a future Buddha. Not only that, each event, each thought, each feeling in your life, no matter how apparently painful or useless, is part of the vast karmic tapestry which leads to this future Buddha. Were any of it to disappear, everything would unravel, so everything matters. Matters more fundamentally than we can properly express.

This future Buddha is holding your present, karmic self like a mother would hold a fitfully sleeping baby, and each dream, each flicker of that baby matters. Matters.

It’s a mythical presentation of the classic question in Chinese Buddhism: if everything is perfect, why doesn’t it seem so? And in its answer, nothing is excluded, nothing is to be harried into nothingness. It evokes a feeling through the creation of a magical world. The feeling is the important thing, not the myth.

What if you kept it?

 

 
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