251.


“The Buddha's true body is just like space.

Manifesting its form according to circumstances,

It is like the moon in water”



So what is this ‘just like space’?

The Indians and Chinese didn't have our modern idea of Newtonian space.

For them, space meant emptiness.

So, when we come into this room and sit, is the space less than before we enter, or not?

If less, where does the space go?

If not, where does the space go?




 
250.


We compare this life to a dream because, amongst other things, dream illuminates suffering, no-self and impermanence.

Our desire - attraction, aversion - is inescapable. But we don’t need to escape. We just need to experience. Just experience.

In dreams, we cannot say there isn’t a self, but nor can we locate it.

And rather than beings within time, there is just vibrant impermanence; a changing, kaleidoscopic whole.


 

 

 
249.


Before we sit down we bow to our cushion and bow to everyone.

How so?

In this place of practice, everything has equal and absolute value.

It is not that the person is great and the cushion is menial.

No!

It is not that the cushion, the mat, the floor, the incense, the Buddha are here to facilitate my practice.

No

Everything in this place is conducting this practice.

Because this is so, even though this room is only 12 foot Square, it is the whole universe.


 

 

 

 
248.


Bowing.


1. It is like the heart is a very clever person, a brilliant person, who can only express himself through an infinite number of stupid persons. The stupid person of bowing, for instance

But each of those stupid persons, in that expression, becomes a brilliant person. An infinitely faceted person.

Until skewered on words.

2. When students ask the teacher about bowing, the teacher will often reply that it’s an expression of non-duality. We bring 2 apparently separate things - the hands - together. I’ve done this myself.


It’s not that the answer is wrong, but it’s incomplete.

We could equally say that when we bow, we de-centre the head. When I bow to you, I de-centre my self; I make myself an object in your world. And so, bowing is leaving the prison of the self and entering a cascade of lived, shared worlds.

This answer isn’t wrong either, but it’s incomplete. Because bowing’s expression is limitless.

3. How we view Ritual is the canary in the coal mine. If we misunderstand it, if we imagine that Ritual is language put into physical form - I bow to express gratitude, for example - then we cannot prevent that view gradually seeping everywhere.

Which is our end.





 

 
247.


The Self asserts itself twice : first openly, then by stealth.

We are often told that zazen is not meditation, and that’s true, if meditation is seen as a way of controlling the mind, expanding consciousness, increasing compassion and similar egoic drivel.

But we also need to be alert to a different form of self assertion: imagining that there is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ experience. So, when we are sitting, we might imagine (good) raw experience to be somehow dimmed by the (bad) experience of judging, commenting, associating and so on, which our ‘mind’ seems to be doing automatically. But who is it who wishes to get this (bad) experience out of the way?

Our practice is to experience everything in vast open awareness.

 

 

 

 

 
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