‘The dharma that I would come to taught me everything I already knew about life – that it is indeed suffering, and the path of liberation is paved with pain and joy but always near when you know you’re just looking to return to you and have to leave the home of Me behind.
Enter here. It’s everywhere and in everyone.’ (Radical Dharma)
‘In the practice of charity, Buddhists distinguish three kinds of gifts: material, emotional, and spiritual. Material gifts include such things as food and clothes and medicine. Emotional gifts include comfort and protection. And spiritual gifts include guidance and instruction. In terms of their benefits, material gifts put an end to greed; emotional gifts but an end to anger; and spiritual gifts put an end to delusion.’ (Commentary on the Diamond Sutra)
I had a flicker of a thought that I needed to apologise for having many posts related to the six perfections. How interesting! It made me realise that I am being drawn to them as a way to meet these particular times more skilfully.
There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it; It has no voice for ears to detect;
To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way,
It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.
It is Dharma truly beyond form and sound;
It is Tao having nothing to do with words.
Wishing to entice the blind,
The Buddha has playfully let words escape his golden mouth;
Heaven and earth are ever since filled with entangling briars.
O my good worthy friends gathered here,
If you desire to listen to the thunderous voice of the Dharma,
Exhaust your words, empty your thoughts,
For then you may come to recognize this One Essence.
Says Hui the Brother, “The Buddha’s Dharma
Is not to be given up to mere human sentiments.”
‘You should know that we unquestionably lack nothing of unsurpassed bodhi, but although we receive and use it endlessly, because we cannot fully accept it we mindlessly make our arising views habitual and think of this [buddha-dharma] as an object, thus vainly stumbling on the great way.’ (Bendowa)
‘Certain people would like to use technology to live longer, or forever… To such people I humbly propose a far more parsimonious way to live forever: to exit the trajectory of productive time, so that a single moment might open almost to infinity. As John Muir once said, “Longest is the life that contains the largets amount of time-effacing enjoyment.”‘ (How To Do Nothing)
Or, as Dogen once said, in the same spirit, “the zazen of even one person at one moment imperceptibly accords with all things and fully resonates through all time.” I will be adding my own spin on these notions in my upcoming class.
‘Although a great bell is impressive, it makes no sound unless it is rung. Nor does a sage respond in isolation.’ (Commentary on the Diamond Sutra)
Which reminds me of how Buddha frequently refered to himself as a physician, curing ailments according to the condition.
‘Dharma helps us develop a relationship to the nature of the thing itself. So when people and communities are saying “We’re all ultimately the same; there’s not such thing as race,” ultimately of course, that’s truth, and you want to thank them for their dharma teaching. We all need to be reminded of that, but then we have to bring our focus back to the way in which we still relate to one another as if race and skin color has this inherent meaning.’ (Radical Dharma)
At time of writing, I still hadn’t received my pre-ordered copy of Lama Rod’s new book (perhaps because I went for the cheapest shipping option), but I have been dipping back into Radical Dharma for a refresher. It occurred to me that this passage might help illuminate Reb’s words from Monday.
‘What happens to the individual down the street or across the world affects each and every one of us. And how each of us responds affects everyone else. So, more than ever, it’s imperative that as individuals we do what we can to cultivate our deepest human inclinations.’ (Deep Hope)
Something that was written before the pandemic, but whose truth is brought home under the current circumstances. And, to have faith that our deepest human inclinations are towards healing rather than division. I think how that works is through trusting that love is deeper than fear.
‘By wholeheartedly opening to and embracing provisional truth, the ultimate is revealed. Within this revelation, we see provisional and ultimate as one and the same. Then we can let go of the ultimate and reenter the provisional. We join hands with all beings and walk together through birth and death on the endless path to buddhahood.’ (Entering the Mind of Buddha)
I dipped back into Reb’s most recent book, and these lines jumped out at me. Partly because I knew they would fit with the material I am gathering for my online class on Dogen’s Bendowa next month, but also because it tied in with the conversation we had been having in the Hebden Bridge sangha. I noted that he didn’t say exactly how we get to see provisional and ultimate as the same, but I also know that these things lie beyond the boundaries of conception. The important part is the manifestation of our Bodhisattva Vows as we walk together.
If it’s something, you can’t find it
If it’s nothing, you can’t find it;
In the open emptpy sky
Flying birds leave no tracks.
Hey, spin the wheel and it comes round:
East, west, north or south, let it come and go.