work toward emptiness and openness


 

Work toward 

emptiness and openness. 

Cultivate stillness. Breathe harmony. 

Become tranquility. As the ten

thousand things rise and fall,

rise and fall, just witness

their return to the

root.

 

Everything

that flourishes dissolves

again into the source. To dissolve

back into the source is to find peace. 

To find peace is to recover your true nature. 

To recover your true nature is to know the constancy

of Tao. To know the constancy of Tao is insight. Insight

opens your mind. An open mind leads to an open

heart. Open heartedness leads to justice. 

Justice is an expression of divinity. 

Divinity is oneness with

Tao. 

 

Oneness

with Tao is freedom

from harm, indescribable

pleasure, eternal

life.

 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 16

 

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Heartbreak

asks us not to look for

an alternative path, because there

is no alternative path. It is an introduction

to what we love and have loved, an inescapable

and often beautiful question, something

and someone that has been with us

all along, asking us to be ready

for the ultimate

letting

go.

 

David Whyte

 

like phrases written on water

After offering a convincing response when Kaso later challenged the validity of his awakening, Ikkyu went on to admit that he had practiced for a decade “seething with anger” only to find that as the raucous cawing of a crow shattered the evening’s silence “an enlightened disciple of the Buddha suddenly surfaced” from within the mud of his emotional torment.

Ikkyu continued practicing under Kaso for another four years, earning the deep respect of his master as well as a reputation for eccentricity. According to a biography completed by Ikkyu’s disciples not long after his death, when Kaso offered Ikkyu a “seal” of his enlightenment (inka) — a document essential for anyone seeking advancement in the Rinzai hierarchy — Ikkyu refused to accept it. Later discovering that Kaso had given the document to a laywoman for safekeeping, Ikkyu took possession of the inka, tore it to shreds, and asked his disciples to burn it. 

On another occasion, when Kaso was hosting a memorial ceremony for his own master, Ikkyu spurned the custom of wearing ceremonial raiment and showed up in patched robes and grass sandals, drawing the considerable ire of the rest of the community. Questioned by Kaso about his behavior, Ikkyu said that he was dressed simply, as a monk should be, while everyone else was prancing about in sumptuous “shit covers”. At the end of the service, when Kaso who was asked who would be his Dharma successor, he reportedly surveyed the gathering and said, perhaps with some reluctance, “the crazy one”.

…Ikkyu had devoted himself to Kaso precisely because he carried the torch of Daito’s personification of a “true person of no rank” — a rigorously ascetic approach to Zen exemplified by Daito having tempered his own enlightenment by living under a bridge with beggars and other outcasts for five years.

 

Peter Hershock

 

Having

realized understanding

kindness and the excellent nature

of opportunities and dangers, one ably

breaks through the net of doubts snaring all

sentient beings. Departing from ‘is’ and ‘is not’,

and other such bondages…leaping over quantity and

calculation, one is without obstruction in whatever

one does. With penetrating understanding of the

present situation and its informing patterns,

one’s actions are like the sky giving rise

to clouds: suddenly they exist, and

then they don’t. Not leaving

behind any obstructing

traces, they are like

phrases written

on water.

 

Ikkyu

 

make enlightenment your standard

 

Fundamentally, this great light is there with each and every person right where they stand — empty clear through, spiritually aware, all-pervasive, it is called the scenery of the fundamental ground.

Sentient beings and buddhas are both inherently equipped with it. It is perfectly fluid and boundless, fusing everything within it. It is within your own heart and is the basis of your physical body and of the five clusters of form, sensation, conception, motivational synthesis, and consciousness. It has never been defiled or stained, and its fundamental nature is still and silent.

False thoughts suddenly arise and cover it over and block it off and confine it within the six sense faculties and sense objects. Sense faculties and sense objects are paired off, and you get stuck and begin clinging and getting attached. You grasp at all the various objects and scenes, and produce all sorts of false thoughts, and sink down into the toils of birth and death, unable to gain liberation.

All the buddhas and ancestral teachers awakened to this true source and penetrated clear through to the fundamental basis. They took pity on all the sentient beings sunken in the cycle of birth and death and were inspired by great compassion, so they appeared in the world precisely for this reason. It was also for this reason that Bodhidharma came from the West with special practice outside of doctrine.

The most important thing is for people of great faculties and sharp wisdom to turn the light of mind around and shine back and clearly awaken to this mind before a single thought is born. This mind can produce all world-transcending and worldly phenomena. When it is forever stamped with enlightenment, your inner heart is independent and transcendent and brimming over with life. As soon as you rouse your conditioned mind and set errant thoughts moving, then you have obscured the fundamental clarity. 

If you want to pass through easily and directly right now, just let your body and mind become thoroughly empty, so it is vacant and silent yet aware and luminous. Inwardly, forget all your conceptions of self, and outwardly, cut off all sensory defilements. When inside and outside are clear all the way through, there is just one true reality. 

…Let no one be deluded about cause and effect. You must realize that the causal basis of hell and heaven is all formed by your own inherent mind. 

You must keep this mind balanced and equanimous, without deluded ideas of self and others, without arbitrary loves and hates, without grasping or rejecting, without notions of gain and loss. Go on gradually nurturing this for a long time, perhaps twenty or thirty years. Whether you encounter favorable or adverse conditions, do not retreat or regress — then when you come to the juncture between life and death, you will naturally be set free and be not afraid. As the saying goes, “Truth requires sudden awakening, but the phenomenal level calls for gradual cultivation.”

I often see those who are trying to study Buddhism just use their worldly intelligence to sift among the verbal teachings of the buddhas and ancestral teacher, trying to pick out especially wondrous sayings to use as conversation pieces to display their ability and understanding. This is not the correct view of the matter. You must abandon your world view and sit quietly with mind silent. Forget entangling causes and investigate with your whole being. When you are thoroughly clear, then whatever you bring forth from your own inexhaustible treasure of priceless jewels is sure to be genuine and real.

So first you must awaken to the Fundamental and clearly see the essence where mind equals buddha. Detach fro all false entanglements and become free and clean. After that respectfully practice all forms of good, and arouse great compassion to bring benefits to all sentient beings. In all that you do, be even and balanced and attuned to the inherent equality of all things — be selfless and have no attachments. When wondrous wisdom manifests itself and you penetrate through to the basic essence, all your deeds will be wonder-working. Thus it is said, “Just manage to accept the truth — you won’t be deceived.”

Make enlightenment your standard, and don’t feel bad if it is slow in coming. Take care!

Yuanwu