Kusen
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Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:02

All Buddhist teachings, no matter how apparently esoteric, refer to our actual experience, particularly during zazen. If we cannot find them in our actual experience, then we cannot accept them.

 

The Second Noble Truth is that the origin of suffering is our attachment to desire, which is defined as greed, ignorance and hatred.

 

If we examine our actual experience during zazen, where is greed to adhere? Or ignorance? Or hatred? And if they have nowhere to adhere, surely this is the liberation of all things, all beings. Not at some imaginary future time, but this time.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:03
 
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Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:00

The foundation sutra for Zen is the Prajna Paramita Sutra, the teachings on Emptiness. The Heart Sutra, which we chant after sitting, is a very abbreviated version. In it we say that “form is nothing other than emptiness, emptiness is nothing other than form”. Emptiness is thus not another world, or something to aspire to. It is a way of describing this world, this experience.


It is infinitely faceted. One can say that it is dependent origination; nothing exists separately and independently of anything else. Equally, one can say that because emptiness cannot be grasped – one cannot seize space – it is a way of describing the ineffability of all being. The world eludes the web of words. And one can say that it is a way of describing our experience when self consciousness drops away. The world is empty of you, and so, is luminous.


The teachings on emptiness are themselves empty.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:01
 
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Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:58

Buddhism is full of metaphors of space. And space is not conceived in an abstract way, but rather as the absence of obstruction. Hence Buddhism being described as a path, or a way.

 

We are free, but not lost.


Likewise Emptiness.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:59
 
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Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:55

The bodhisattva vow “All living beings, I vow to save them” at first blush seems impossible. Surely it is much more practical to vow to save ourself?

 

But we cannot save ourself. The ego is the fulcrum of dualism. A fist cannot unclench itself.

 

We can however liberate all beings from us. And this liberation is “All living beings”.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:57
 
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Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:46

In zazen, do we rely on ourself, or do we rely on Buddha?

 

In some schools of Zen, there is a plain reliance on the self. Sitting is the means by which we accumulate the capacity to experience enlightenment. Equally, in other Japanese traditions, particularly Pure Land, reliance is on the other, on Buddha; faith, devotion, surrender feature prominently.

 

Dogen’s view is that we rely neither on self or other. We do not sit to become a Buddha and we do not sit in devotion to something other than ourself which we call Buddha. Sitting is Buddha.

 

We are lifted up by the same ground.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:54
 
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