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Sunday, 28 July 2019 17:12


The last time my first teacher Nancy Amphoux came to Scotland we sat in a dusty room in Glasgow Street.

In the afternoon while we were sitting, bright sunlight shone into the room, illuminating all the dust hanging in the air. 

The light was still, the dust was still, neither obstructed the other.

The smoke from the incense moved amongst both, the dancing of a life.

In Buddhism we keep coming across, in a slightly disguised way, the idea of a person.

Who or what is walking the Way if not a person?

Who or what is balanced, if not a person?

And indeed we can see walking as a kind of dynamic balance. The integration of apparent dualities within a living whole, ‘opposites’ reconfigured as two aspects of something which is dynamic and alive.

We need to find this true person. And our mind cannot find it. All it can ever find is a person who has been cut in half, and no matter how hard we try we cannot restore that person to life.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 July 2019 17:18
 
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Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:32

 

We don't sit facing the wall because zazen is an individual practice; it isn't.

We are always practicing together. Not practicing, together. Practicing Together.

We sit facing the wall because we are sitting with all beings.

If we were facing each other we will be sitting with these beings, not necessarily all beings.

And when we sit, one more person sits with us. You could call this person Vast Compassion Space.

It is as if the door of the tiny room of the Self is unlocked, and the prisoners there are released into this vast space, to express, to change, to live, to go.

Were this person not to appear, the door would remain closed. Each prisoner would remain locked into their repetitive forms and gestures.

You could also call this person Faith Mind.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:35
 
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Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:30

 

Why do we sit facing the wall?

We can say that we’re following Bodhidharma who, after his encounter with The Chinese Emperor, went to Shaolin Temple and “sat facing the wall” for 9 years.

Classical Chinese is very terse. The characters simply say “ wall gazing”. This can certainly mean gazing at the wall, or, slightly less literally, facing the wall, but they can also mean, amongst other possibilities, gazing like the wall.

And how does a wall “gaze”? Steadfastly and with non discrimination, allowing all things to be, maintaining the room of the world.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:32
 
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Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:20

One of the most significant innovations of the Mahayana is the Dharmakaya; the idea that the whole universe is the body of the Buddha. It is a radical re-imagining and enlivening of our normal view, changing our picture of the universe from a collection of objective, separate and largely inanimate things, from which we are somehow separate, to one where everything is “alive” and expressive, within a greater, alive whole.

 

I believe it derives from our actual experience in zazen. When we sit, we are not within the primary alienation, which thinks of the body as an object, distinct from, yet controlled by, the self. Rather, we experience ourselves as activity  and expression - aliveness - and there is no clear boundary between this body, and the great body of all being.

 

It is not that this small body becomes the great body, nor that this small deluded person becomes a great person, because this would simply be ego inflation on a grand scale. But rather, we are taken back into the heart of all being.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:27
 
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Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:16


I asked my first teacher if the purpose of practice is to become enlightened.

She said 'No. The purpose is to become a human being.'

But what does this mean?

It's like a person who is a counterfeit painter, painting pictures of the world in the style of great artists. These artists are variously called Compassion, Wisdom, Presence, Enlightenment.

But the person knows that no matter how convincing the paintings appear to be, they are fake and will always be at risk of being seen as fake.

Yet what the person doesn't understand is that these ‘great artists’ are demons. Falseness is the whole point.

This pictured world is flooding out of us at each moment; vivid, perfect. If we wish to be like human beings, we only need to be like small children: fearless, whole.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2019 10:19
 
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