Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Training in Wholeness

The Clouds in Water Zen Center Monthly Mindfulness:

Honoring my life as an instrument of peacemaking, I take up the way of not thinking ill of the three treasures.  (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha)

The 16 Bodhisattva precept ceremony is a central practice in Zen.  We acknowledge this practice by our monthly full moon precept recitation and “Jukai” the formal “receiving of the precepts” ceremony which Clouds will celebrate in October.  These ceremonies start and end with taking refuge in the three treasures.
That’s how important the refuges are!  But what does taking refuge mean?  We could say:
  • ·      I take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
  • ·      I trust in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha
  • ·      I have faith in Buddha, Dharma and sangha
  • ·      I become one with Buddha, Dharma and sangha.
Bodhidharma’s version of this precept is:
Self-nature is inconceivable wondrous.
In the one dharma,
Not giving rise to the dualistic view of sentient beings and buddhas
Is called the precept of refraining from reviling the three treasures.

The line: not giving rise to the dualistic view of sentient beings and buddhas, is very important.  It means that we do not separate an “ordinary person” from a “Buddha”, and that we are not compartmentalizing that which is sacred from that which is ordinary.  We can see the “wholeness” of the absolute and relative.  We see “the whole works” dynamically working together in each moment and in each form.  We practice in the training of wholeness. (Krtsnayatanabhavana, training in entering the whole.
Master Yun-men said:  “All sounds are the buddha’s voice; all shapes are the buddha’s form.”

But our human egotistical minds naturally censor the interrelatedness of life.  We naturally feel we are separate from Buddha, dharma and sangha.  We see ourselves as:
  • ·      Solid and permanent instead of constantly changing and impermanent
  • ·      Unitary instead of part of a larger whole
  • ·      And independent instead of inter-connected.

And we believe the stories of our life as concrete.  Sometimes we don’t see what’s happening beyond our stories.  When we truly see Buddha, dharma and sangha, we can be liberated from our anxieties about life even while we are in the midst of life’s stories.

Please practice this month with “training in wholeness” and opening to the total dynamic functioning of the three treasures.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dragon Stability

“Dragon stability is a technical term for stabilization so profound that it is not destabilized by activity in the world.  The image comes from the idea that a dragon is physically an animal yet mentally dwells in an elevated state.  Thus it is used to represent the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of transcending the world while in the very midst of the world.”
From Huineng Sutra translated by cleary.  Page 158

Stabilization is another word for concentration.  To have a stable mind is to have a mind that can be placed where it is most wholesome. A mind that is a tool for functioning, not the Master. To have a concentrated mind also means to feel connected to the true reality- the one interconnected body (of the Buddha) (of the whole world functioning together) (of Zenki – total dynamic working).  A concentrating mind is a mind that doesn’t possess anything and doesn’t grab on to anything, and is comfortable with space, and no-thing-ness.  It is a huge vast mind.

“Stabilization so profound that it is not destabilized by activity in the world.”
This brings deep and surface practice together.  To feel the interconnectedness, the composure, the quiet vastness of life in all the forms we meet as they arise.  To see Buddha in the energy of each moment and each form.  In order to do this, I have to let go of all my previous ways I have constructed my life and my story.  I have to deeply let go of control, and receive the life of this moment exactly the way it is.