237.

 

Whether we are practicing zazen or kinhin, we are always walking The Way. And yet, we are never balanced. Because of this, the Dharma will not perish.

Within our own practice, and within the practice of all practitioners, it is as if this practice is a real person, walking through time. The function of a teacher is not to embody the Buddha, but to fully embody themselves, in all their vivid expressed unbalancedness. And the function of the student is not to replicate their teacher, but to fully understand that they are

the other foot

 

 

 
236.


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.

 

 

 

 
235.


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

 

 

 

 
234.


“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.

 

 

 

 
233.

 

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

 

 

 
More Articles...
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>