Kusen
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Monday, 27 May 2019 14:55


The kesa and rakusu are symbols of interdependence, and its reality.

Before we put the rakusu or kesa  on, we place it on top of our heads and chant the Kesa Sutra.

So, as it were, we are placing interdependence above the self.

The first line of the sutra has the character ‘datsu’, the same datsu within Dogen’s description of zazen: shinjin datsuraku, dropping off body and mind. That is, dropping off, from moment to moment, the belief that this experience is my experience.

So we are putting something on, interdependence, and dropping something off, our separateness.

That being so, our focus when we sit is not to bring anything about, or exclude anything, but to welcome everything. Because we are not just the symbol of interdependence, but the reality

which is not something which happens to us, or something we see, but what we are.

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2019 14:56
 
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Monday, 15 April 2019 16:38

 

The dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham said dance is the fleeting moment of feeling totally alive

But you feeling totally alive is the small miracle.  Experiencing the great fabric of all things as totally alive is the great miracle.

Allowing all this experience to flood through you: like light, undiminished by love, or by hate, or by comparison or by analysis. The great miracle is like a vast clear river which leaves no residue. Great, because although manifested fleetingly, even so

the world will not fall into nothingness.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 16:38
 
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Monday, 15 April 2019 16:35

 

Issho Fujita described our practice as “One Piece Zen”. That is, rather than the individual striving of this person, our practice expresses the dynamic unity of all beings, all being, all space.

The trap is to picture a cosmos, with us within it. To escape that trap, we need to feel this dynamic unity as something real, not imagined. That’s why the posture is so important.

In our posture, we have the actual experience of dynamic wholeness and aliveness with our liberated spines. We have the actual experience of vast dynamic space with our liberated breath.

So, our posture, from the perspective of the self, is the symbolic enactment of the two facets of this dynamic unity, and the unity itself. And, when body and mind is dropped off, this enactment is no longer just symbolic, but real.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 16:36
 
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Monday, 15 April 2019 16:32

 

Buddhism is full of apparent opposites: Form and Emptiness, Language and Silence, Samsara and Nirvana, and the temptation is always to posit one of the pair as fundamental, and the other as inhibiting our access to it. But really, we need to understand these pairings as like the wings of the bird of our radical wholeness and aliveness.

Take the second one, for example. When we sit, it’s very common to think of whatever arises as obscuring silence, and we need to get rid of it. But if our language is superficial, why would our silence be profound?

What we need to understand is that language and silence are completely interwoven. Where one goes, the other follows. The real question is: What language? What silence?

They are like two people swimming across a stormy sea. Neither can reach the shore by their own efforts alone. But when one is exhausted, the other carries them. So neither drowns.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 16:33
 
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Monday, 15 April 2019 16:24

 

In Chapter eleven of The Lotus Sutra, there is the story of a stupendously large tower, many miles high and wide, containing both the remains and the living body of an ancient Buddha, which has lain concealed within the dynamic ground, and which emerges when it appears that the Buddha is about to preach The Lotus Sutra, hovering in mid air. Shakyamuni Buddha then joins the ancient Buddha in the tower, a Buddha alone, together with a Buddha.

It seems unlikely that anyone has ever taken this scene literally, so what is it trying to say?

It is extremely rich and potent obviously, but I would wish to draw attention to the depth of the ground and the height of the sky. One is reminded of the Buddha’s enlightenment, where he touches the ground, and sees the morning star, shining through vast space.

The ground - Being - is not static or passive. It is dynamic, full of expression. Likewise, space - Emptiness - is not ‘empty’, it is the location of the liberation of Being into full expression.

And when you sit, you are the dynamic ground. You are the plenitude of space. And when you breath and move, you are Emptiness, made real.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 April 2019 16:29
 
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