Thursday, December 20, 2012

it means to stop

Section 22-23
Hello All, I am off to NYC tomorrow morning to spend time with my siblings and parents and on Christmas eve with the maha-clan. It is a Christmas eve gathering which I have been attending for 60+ years and it has been going on even before my dad was born. I am not sure the coming-together will continue past my dad's and his sibling's lives, but I keep my fingers crossed. These gatherings are a rare and beautiful thing in a culture that moves too quickly and doesn't value the most plain and obvious.

In Section 22, Red Pine uses the words delusion, ignorance and envy. We say hatred, ignorance and greed. I don't think the translation difference here matters too much. The point of purification is to not be tied up by pure and impure, good and bad, moral and immoral. Hui-neng says, "In this dharma teaching of mine, repentance means to stop once and for all." This means to stop chasing after things; to stop making subjects, objects and activities. It means stopping the notion that 'I am here' and 'you are over there'. Finally, it means to stop making separations. In this way, there is no gap which is reality! If you have a problem with the concept of Purification, please take a look at the last few lines of Aitken Roshi's translation of Kanzeon. This is the other way to talk about and participate in the purification ritual that is so essential to our practice of cultivation.

In Section 23, Hui-neng uses the words enlightenment, truth and purity while we say Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. These are the Three Treasures and Hui-neng is again emphatic that you take refuge not in something outside yourself but in the Three Treasures of your own nature. He says, "If you don't take refuge in your own nature, there is no other place of refuge."

"We take refuge in the buddha, in enlightenment". Sesshin means being touched by, touching and manifesting the great matter and it is a lovely way- station, a place of rest for 7 or 8 days, on the ancient path of enlightenment. Yet sesshin is happening every moment of your life too. It is not only a special event that occurs at a specific time with a set of ritualized forms and patterns. Sesshin is your life because you are continually touching, being touched and manifesting. Pay attention. There is no way to avoid it.  Please continue to cultivate and clarify your own path of realization.

"We take refuge in the truth or dharma." In classical times this meant to take refuge in the words of Shakyamuni buddha.Over time, it meant to take refuge in the words and actions of his successors. I would say, 'please enjoy the teisho of the grey squirrels and winter thrush. Take pleasure in the songs of wind and rain, in the colors of clouds and sky, and in the smells of incense and early morning green tea.'

"We take refuge in the sangha or purity." Some might think sangha and purity are not synonyms. Yet true purity, the purity of the mind without walls, includes conflict, disagreement and upset but is never stained or sullied by such things. Zen buddhism is not espousing a Pollyanish view of the world or behavior. It is not waiting for lambs to lay down with lions. It is utterly realistic, yet forgiving of our inadequacies, fears and tremblings. But these things--conflicts, disagreements and hurt feelings--are known as circumstances and conditions which simply change as the wind shifts directions. The original purity of mind is unblemished like the blue sky is unfazed by the flapping of wings as geese move south. Things arise, move across the sky of mind and dissipate but the sky is unerring, never lessened and always exactly as it is. What a relief, no? The sky, you and me, always exactly as it is.

Enjoy the holiday and a peaceful new year to all...

1 comment :

  1. "It means to stop"...This stopping is crucial, but can it be parceled out? There is only one is the stopped here and now, the effortless stopped, the stopped of knowing who you are not. Thank you, R.Rose


Please comment using an account or a name from the 'Comment as' menu. Your comment will be published after it is approved (anti-spam process), usually within 24 hours.