As I drove down to Hokyoji Zen Monastery to lead sesshin, I
was filled with gratitude for Zen practice in my life and for this particular
monastery. I have been coming to
Hokyoji since it started around 1977.
It has been a place of many 7-day sesshins and practice periods. It is a beautiful environment for
practice, in the bluffs of the Mississippi River and very intimate with nature,
the weather, the birds, trees, tiles and pebbles. We are studying Dogen’s Jijiyu Zanmai here and you can really
feel all the dharmas intimately and
imperceptibly assisting each other.
Grasses and trees,
fences and walls demonstrate and exalt the deep, wondrous dharma for the sake
of living beings, both ordinary and sage;
And in turn, living
beings, both ordinary and sage, express and unfold it for the sake of grasses
and trees, fences and walls.
This brings up for me how lucky I am to have had an
opportunity to study Zen and Buddhism and to practice in these special places. They have taught me how to seize the
day and seize my life. As I am
getting older and as my children are leaving the nest, I look over my life and
see how much Zen teaching and practice has allowed me to live with vitality and
without too much regret. Zen
practice has continuously brought forward for me the fragility and impermanence
of my life span. We have many
admonitions to understand this fragility and therefore to take great care of
our life, our specific karmic life with its ups and downs, its beauty and
difficulties. We take equal care
of both sides of the coin, success and failure.
From the Sandokai:
I respectfully urge you who study
not pass your days and nights in vain.
Or the evening message:
beg to urge you everyone,
and death is a great matter,
things pass quickly away
use of your precious life.
I am feeling profound gratitude.
Which leads me to take care of the next sequential issue?
Zen is an unmistakenly handed down tradition. …..This is because each teacher
and each disciple has been intimately and correctly transmitting this subtle
method and receiving and maintain it true spirit.
Some of the Zen Centers in the twin cities are in a
transition with their buildings and teaching, (including Clouds in Water Zen
Center where I teach). Hokyoji is
currently running a capitol campaign.
Ryumonji, another monastery in the Katagiri Roshi lineage, has just
finished their building project.
There is a great flux and organic urge to allow the next generation of
teachers to flourish and the next generation of young people to find the
teachings and the dharma.
When I look around the world, when I look at my son’s
generation, when I look at our electronic life, I feel more and more that the
world needs Zen, meditation and dharma teaching. There are many of us who have gotten so much from the
teaching. Now our job is to turn around and take on the responsibility to
provide this for the next generation.
If we take Zen life and temples for granted, if our attitude of service
is lackadaisical, then I think, what I have so graciously received in my life
from Zen practice will eventually not be available for others.
With this in mind, I have become inspired again. The work we do for Zen Centers is not
in vain. Teaching, scrubbing the
floors, cooking, real estate, mortgages, fundraising; all this is not in
vain. It’s for a very good
purpose. The purpose is to allow
the practices and teaching to have a forum for the next generation. This is our lineage and the world needs
it. The world needs us to continue
to make places for people to come and experience this!:
“At this time, because
earth, grasses and trees, fences and walls, tiles and pebbles, all things in
the dharma realm in ten directions, carry out Buddha work, therefore everyone
receives the benefit of wind and water movement caused by this functioning, and
all are imperceptibly helped by the wondrous and incomprehensible influence of
Buddha to actualize the enlightenment at hand.”
Labels: evening message, impermanence, Jijiyu zanmai, life and death, lineage, monasteries, practice places, service, transmission