17.

Nancy said that when we practice, it is as if we become aware of a huge underground river running through our lives. The desert does not bloom. The mirrors do not shatter. Yet something both very deep and very simple manifests itself.

 
16.

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.

 

 
15.

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.

 

 
14.

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.

 

 
13.

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”.

 

 
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