I must have chanted the Heart Sutra several thousand times, perhaps more.


If I imagine that these have occurred within my life, and my life occurs within time, suffering can never be alleviated.


Although it may sound absurd, if we say the heart Sutra is chanting me, is chanting all practitioners, in all times, at this time, then something which we have held tight and concealed can start to alter.


And it is not just the Heart Sutra.


We have to understand that we are not the container of life, we are its’ expression.


The Net of Indra is one of the most beautiful images in Buddhism. We are asked to imagine existence as an infinity of infinitely faceted jewels, in infinite space, each reflecting everything.


We can speculate that the image could be derived from looking up at the star filled sky, endless and infinite.


Of course, we now know that some of these stars are no longer there. We are just seeing their light. From the perspective of the star’s ego, it no longer exists. From the perspective of the universe, it does.

The teaching is like this.

Life – and – death is like this.


Zen teachers frequently talk about ‘the non dual dharma’, and we are all familiar with the standard dualities: mind/body, self/world, and so on.


Less attention is given to a very pervasive dualism: the container and the contained. So, our life occurs in time, the leaves fall from the tree in autumn, experience occurs in consciousness, and so forth.


For master Dogen, our lives do not exist in time, but in our lives, time exists. The container/contained duality is replaced by a sense of each thing being the full dynamic functioning of everything, The Whole Universe pivoting on each thing.


The body is the ground of being. Our task as practitioners isn’t to change or empty the contents of our consciousness, but to fall backwards into the actual feeling, momentary state, which is prior to words, and prior to both thoughts and the type of thinking we call emotion.


The fog of the self collapses back into the ground, actualising space.


The ground upholds all things. Space contains all things. Thus are all things liberated from our love and hate, and so cease to be provisional and limited. Thus each thing is everything, and has absolute value.


In our practice, we are continually drifting in and out of delusion. The delusion isn’t the intermittent noise, rather, it’s when our attention focuses on a kernel of thought/emotion, and our breathing becomes shallow. It’s a kind of trance state. In response, we throw the breath and attention wide open, unentrancing ourselves. This learning to fall out of self enchantment is giving life to all things.


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