198.


The practice of allowing thoughts to come and go freely and not attaching to them is an ancient practice. It goes right back to the origins of Buddhism.

But if we think the aim of this practice is just to make 'the mind' still, to make 'consciousness' empty; then our practice lacks compassion.

It's for this reason that when Buddhism went to China and the Chinese truly made it their own, they changed the emphasis from emptiness to suchness. The unstatable state when we are no longer conceptually grasping experience, fabricating self and object, when everything is vivid and whole.

Not Nothing, but nothing that can be described. No-thing, because Everything.

 

 
Kusen Practice Instruction


There is a general instruction in many meditation schools that we should allow our thoughts to come and go freely, but what is meant by "thoughts"?

We are aware - all too aware - of what we might feel as the noise of our mind, but what we are less aware of is what lies behind this noise. If we reflect carefully, it appears that there is a 'something' which - as it were - endeavours to keep us in a familiar state, and usually a negative one : fear, dissatisfaction, boredom, dissociation, dullness.. the list is endless, and different for each of us, but it's there. There, but difficult to see.

Rather than focus on purifying consciousness, what is essential for us is to be thoroughly grounded in the dynamic, living body, which means to be grounded in the breath, and to experience the breath as permeating the whole body. Everything moves with the breath: the bones of the pelvis, the bones of the head, the face, the legs. That movement from 'mind' to body loosens and liberates us, and is "beyond thinking".

 

 

 

 
197.


In Buddhism, the teachings are often referred to as 'expedient means'. One might imagine, wrongly, that you are being told something helpful and partially true today, in order to be told something wholly true tomorrow.

They are expedient because they help us escape from the truth/falsehood dichotomy, which lies atop our alive expression like a collapsed tombstone.

It is as if, in a dream, you picture yourself in a tiny windowless room, alone except for a doll, endlessly repeating the same nonsense. Which do you kill: the doll or the room?

 

 

 

 
196.

 

The most common metaphors in Buddhism revolve around space. Enlightenment is compared to space. Likewise the teachings. Likewise the Dharmakaya, the universal body of Buddha. It is important that we understand what is meant by space. For us it implies vacuity, or absence. This is not at all how space is used in Buddhism.

Its use is more akin to brightness, or liberation, and the closest analogy is with water. Just as the fish does not realise he is in the ocean, the bird does not realise he is 'in' space. But there is a critical difference. If an object is placed in water, the water is displaced.  If an object is placed in space the space is not displaced. Because space is everywhere, there is nowhere for it to be displaced to.

When we come into this room and sit, space is undiminished. And this place where we are sitting now contains both 'us' and 'space'. If we examine our actual experience carefully, we can see this to be true.

So each 'thing' is both itself and space, both particular and universal, and one does not obstruct the other. We can in this way understand what Fujita means when he talks about practice as being 'one piece Zen'.

 

 

 
195.


The verses of faith mind starts:


The Great Way is not difficult

Only avoid picking and choosing. 

When love and hate do not arise,

Things cease to exist, in the old way.



It is not that things cease to exist, but that they cease to exist 'in the old way', that is, dualistically. Me here. The world way out there. Each of us, looking for ropes, looking for snares.

When we sit we relax our gaze; the world isn't 'out there' any longer. It is not sliced up into this and that. Any longer

If our gaze is relaxed, then our gaze includes our eyes, and the whole head and the whole body. The gaze encompasses everything

Is this not ceasing to exist in the old way?


 
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