Kusen
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:09

Dogen described zazen as ‘dropping off body and mind’. In other words, as thoughts, feelings and sensations arise, and we realise we’re holding on to them, we let them go. That’s it.

After a while, we may start to feel a remarkable steadiness, coupled with a sense of great spaciousness, like a mountain, like the sky.

And we may imagine that dropping off body and mind is just a preliminary to this state, which we can let go. And we might further imagine that thoughts, feelings and sensations are just momentary obstructions to this state, like clouds. But that would be a fundamental error.

Just as there is no original language, there is no primordial Emptiness. It does not underlie or precede form. Emptiness and form arrive together.

The clouds bring the sky.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:10
 
271. PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:06

Blue Cliff Record, Case 42 (adapted)

The Case:

When Layman Pang left Yao Shan’s monastery, the Abbot ordered ten of his senior monks to accompany him to the temple gate. As they approached the gate, snow started falling. Layman Pang said, “These are good snowflakes. They only fall here.”

One of the monks asked him, “Where do they fall?”

Layman Pang replied, “Even though you are a zen monk, the King of Death won’t let you go”


Commentary:

In Suchness, it is not that we disappear. Rather, boundaries disappear. Separation disappears. Without erasing difference, all things participate in the wholeness of this moment.

The King of Death appears in many forms. If it were just one form, we could see him easily. In this case, the monk takes Layman Pang’s simple statement of wonder and gratitude - the snowflakes do not fall on the monastery, they do not fall on the temple gate, they fall here - and misunderstands it, as a game, as an invitation to dharma combat, or something similar.

It is not just the snowflakes, obviously. Everything is falling and rising here, and the mind which places this here within a greater everywhere does so from a dream.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:07
 
270. PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:01

When we sit, our aim is to manifest vast unitary awareness - unitary like space.

This awareness is not the property of the self yet the self appears within it, along with all beings and all phenomena.

If this awareness becomes fractured or partial, we return the attention to this body and this breath.

Not because this body and this breath is the subject or the object of zazen, but because this body and this breath is simply the most accessible to us, like a mountain in its upliftedness, feeling it is a part of the great Earth

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:03
 
269. PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 21:59

The experience of most practitioners, until they have sat for quite a long time, is that they have very little moment to moment awareness of the body, except when they experience discomfort. Their awareness is primarily on the frozen mass of thought and emotion.

But after a while, we can understand practice, not as the liberation of the mind from thoughts, but as the liberation of the whole body from the mind, the relocation of the mind as an incidental activity within the whole body. Then the thoughts don't matter.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 22:00
 
268. PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 21:47

This practice is not your individual practice carried on together with other people. We are practicing together.

That being so, you are not a great person, and never will be, no matter how much effort you expend. But you are part of a great person. And you always were.

Sometimes this person is teacher and student. Sometimes, this person is the whole network of practitioners, in all times. Sometimes the entire universe. Sometimes the tree in the garden.

When we come into the dojo, this person comes in with us. When we leave, this person leaves. Were practice to cease, this great person would fall into nothingness, leaving only bones and fragments.

But it will not.

 

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 December 2018 21:49
 
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