Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words.
Take the backward step and turn the light inward.
Your body-mind of itself will drop
off and your original face will appear.
If you want to attain just this,
immediately practice just this.
- Dogen (1200-1253)
Monk In The World
To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.
...our life is always happening right here while we’re hoping for something else to happen.
Blacker, Melissa; Ford, James Ishmael (2011-03-17). The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan (p. 207). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. Blacker, Melissa; Ford, James Ishmael (2011-03-17). The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen's Most Important Koan (p. 212). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
May 14, 2013 Yesterday I zipped off a quick email to my zen teacher saying,
"Did you ever or do you ever get to the point where you wonder if any of this stuff matters.? Maybe I am just going through spiritual fatigue."
Then on the way home, the weather being so nice,
I opened the sunroof on my car and put some nice quiet piano music on my pandora station. I stopped at a traffic light. I then casually looked up through my open sunroof and beheld the most beautiful green leaves glistening in the sun and shimmering from a slight wind.
I didn't want to leave that place. "To carry yourself forward and esperience myriad things is delusion. That myriad things come forth and experience themselves is awakening." Dogen
In my home I'm the one who is always reading about the spiritual life. I'm the one who tries to maintain my zazen practice in an honorable way. I'm the one always wanting to have deep discussions about life, about death, about what matters. I'm the one who loves to write about these matters on this blog. I'm the one who wants to know what it means to actualize this spiritual life, right now, in this moment.
Then there is Susan Moon:
Parents must worry about all the nuts and bolts of their children's care,
but grandmothers, says Susan Moon, can reflect on everything in the background---the water, air, stories, and love. It seems to me that this "grandmother mind" is exactly what the world needs more of.
taken from The Best Buddhist Writing 2008
Grandmother Mind by Susan Moon, pg.247
Thenthere is Eihei Dogen:
You can understand all of Buddhism, but you cannot go beyond your abilities and your intelligence unless you have robai-shin,grandmother mind, the mind of great compassion
Thenthere's my wife, Laurie, affectionately known as Lala by our granddaughters.
This afternoon she came home all excited about the blocks and books she had bought for our youngest granddaughter Alice.
I would have come home showing her some new book, new shirt, new pantS or something like that, which I had bought for myself.
ACTUALIZED RIGHT IN FROM OF ME ALL THIS TIME
Maybe it's time to burn all my books and just watch my wife.
VINE OF OBSTACLES: ONLINE SUPPORT FOR ZEN TRAINING I read David Loy’s The World Is Made Of Stories a couple of years ago and there is a story that comes back to me at this point (we are always on the point whether we realize it or not) in my journey. Here is the story. And then I will comment about how it speaks to me.
“According to a Hindu myth, the world is upheld by the great elephant Maha Pudma, who is in turn supported by the great tortoise Chukwa.
An Englishman asked a Hindu sage what the great tortoise rests upon.
‘Another turtle,’ was the reply.
And what supports that turtle?
‘Ah, Sahib, after that it’s turtles all the way down.’
Stories all the way down.”
(I (alan) want to say it another way: It’s Questions all the way down!
And therein is my point.
It seems to me we can so easily get hooked on breaking through MU, breaking through the koan, breaking through, breaking through, thinking we will get to the last turtle (which does not exist) and have all the answers. The answer to what, I don’t know. The most important place we can be, and the only place we can be is standing on top of the present turtle. There is no other place to be.
Good stories create great questions not answers.
As Rilke said, “live the questions…” Even if we come up with any kind of answer, my guess is it will create another question.
Enjoy your turtle.
By the way, I think the loggerheads are laying their eggs on the east coast now, so don’t step on the eggs. Life would be so boring without turtles.
Working through some training with Dosho Port online. Part of that training is coming up with a Gatha about arousing the way seeking mind.
Here’s what I came up with:
Arousing the Way Seeking Mind
Vowing with all beings
To possess Don’t Know Mind
That I might see.
So this past weekend I was having a conversation with my daughter-in-law about a difficult situation we had both been aware of regarding some friends of mine. During that conversation she was very open about the conundrum of why her life at present had been going so well when somebody else’s life became so very difficult.
She acknowledged her being grateful for her life at present. And we both acknowledged having this other life to compare it with certainly helped raise our consciousness about how different our lives could be at any given moment.
So here was my Daughter-in-law, looking into the Great Matter.
And then I became a stumbling block for her, even if she did not recognize that.
I quickly tried to provide some answers for her in regards to certain ways she was struggling with what we both were aware of regarding these other lives.
True compassion would have let her struggle with that without a lot of input from me.
I took something away from her in that.
My “don’t know mind” was not to be found.
I could have been of much greater help to her had I simply let this situation be her koan.
I could have simply said, “So what do you think this means for you?”
Bless my ego!
I report all this to raise our awareness of how important our practice is to our real life situations, which in fact is our practice.