‘If you are somewhat familiar with the Heart Sutra, you can hear this all being played out with the two bodhisattvas talking to one another, Shariputra and Avalokiteshvara. Well, that’s a belief, and that can seem remote, irrelevant, or not. Then there is the difficult stuff about form is emptiness and emptiness is form. That can be dismissed as just too difficult, or it can be filed. What does that mean? Then there is a long section about taking apart everything – nothing: no teachings, no person, nothing, nothing. Then the last section is this great BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, the drumbeat of THIS IS THE GREAT MANTRA, THIS IS IT! So, what do we do with that?
So we all have, I believe, beliefs with which we operate, and the question is how do we hold the beliefs and how do the beliefs help us to connect with one another and the world? And how do we use the beliefs so they don’t separate us from experience? The teaching is that we hold the beliefs somewhat lightly on the basis of prajna paramita, this non-dual understanding.’ (from the Arcata Zen Group website)
Recently I have been listening to some talks from the Berkeley Zen Center archive; there are many talks by Mel, of course, and it is nice to hear Norman, touching to hear Blanche and Lou from twenty-five years ago. I think the talks I have enjoyed most have been by Maylie Scott – I find her style lively and down to earth. Hers was a familiar name; I know she was a part of Blanche’s group of women teachers (and teachers-to-be) who traveled to Japan together when I first came to Zen Center, or perhaps just before, but then she died in 2001 before I had a chance to meet her or hear her speak. I’m glad of the chance to hear her now.