Kusen
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Thursday, 22 March 2018 10:03


When we sit, we soften our eyes. Everything becomes very near, intimate. In softening the eyes, we become bodily aware, first the head, then the rest of the body. It is as if the whole body becomes an eye.

But because we don’t force the eyes to stay relaxed, the eyes, and the other sense organs, can suddenly, as it were, come into focus. So, we see the wall, hear the birdsong, smell the incense.

Sitting with our softened eyes, our mind is softened too. It is as if we are very aware of this intimacy, this underlying being-ness, prior to the emergence of objects, emotions, perceptions, formations. We might call this ‘not thinking’.

And, like the eye suddenly focusing, we suddenly get fragments of perceptions, mental formations, feelings. We might call this ‘thinking’.

We should not think one state is good and the other is not. It is of paramount importance that we accept everything.

Accept everything, uncontained by a self.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2018 10:06
 
235. PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 March 2018 09:59


Within the dream of the self, although the deaths of others are regrettable, they’re not fundamental: the primary issue is the death of this person. The Buddhist writer David Loy says the fear of death is itself a repression of a more fundamental fear: the fear that the self doesn't exist, now. The fear of non existence is pushed away into the imaginary future.

What if each death, each birth was the fundamental thing?

We do not practice within the dream of the self; we practice with all beings. Not this person, with all beings, but with all beings. Within all being. When we soften the eyes we see more clearly. Not the landscape of the self, but uncountable worlds. When an eye closes a world closes. When a hand opens a world opens. This unexpressibly vivid expression.

everything matters

 

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2018 10:02
 
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Sunday, 25 February 2018 15:47


“A special transmission outside the scriptures
No reliance on words or letters”

"Words and letters" means spoken and written language. What does “no reliance” mean? It doesn’t mean that language is anathema to authentic practice.

There is no reliance on language because everything - including language - is ceaseless expression and ceaseless activity; so everything, language as much as birdsong, is proclaiming the Dharma. 

The problem arises when we appropriate this expression and activity to the self. If we can keep dropping off the self, then the wholeness of everything, the aliveness of everything, which otherwise is just an ideal, is expressed. Not in some future life, some ideal life, but now.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 February 2018 15:50
 
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Wednesday, 21 February 2018 18:35

 

Because zazen is entirely outside the dream of the self, it is ceaseless enquiry. Not from a position of insufficiency or acquisition, but faith.

At the moment of gratitude, doing prostrations, we strike our head three times on the ground, and raise our hands. At the moment of enlightenment, the Buddha touched the ground. Is it the same ground, or not? If the same, how? If different, how?

When we raise our hands, we are symbolically lifting up the Buddha’s feet. Of course, we aren’t really lifting up the Buddha’s feet, nor the self. Rather, we are lifting multitudes

Multitudes

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 18:44
 
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Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:49


Master Dogen’s poem ‘Special transmission outside the scriptures’ (adapted)

The Dharma, like an oyster,
Thrown, onto the cliff peak
Waves crashing against the wall of bone
Like words
May reach but cannot wash it away

In the common usage, Zen is:

A special transmission outside the sutras
No reliance on words or letters.

When we are sitting, sometimes we are like a cliff. And in that way, sometimes we experience vast space, sometimes tranquillity. Sometimes storms, sometimes faraway birds. Sometimes, as if the weight of the whole ocean pushes against

this faith cliff, this practice cliff.


 

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:55
 
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