Saturday 30 May 2015

"The path to awakening.."

"The path to awakening.."

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei is the head of Mountains and Rivers Order and abbot of the Zen Center of New York City, Fire Lotus Temple.

He explains that ordinary mind is the path itself, and that we can only see this truth if we look through unconditioned eyes.

To understand ordinary mind,
we have to understand Tao.
To understand Tao, we have to go beyond all knowing.
So to do this, we should look to the ordinary mind,
with unconditioned eyes.

Chao-chou once asked Nanchuan, "What is Tao?"
Nanchuan answered
"Ordinary mind is Tao."
"Then should we direct ourselves toward it or not?" asked Chao-chou.
"If you try to direct yourself towards it, you go away from it."
answered Nanchuan.
Chao-chou continued,
"If we do not try, how can we know that it is Tao?"
Nanchuan replied,
"Tao does not belong to knowing or not knowing. Knowing is illusion;
not knowing is blankness.
If you really attain the Tao of no-doubt, it is like the void,
vast and boundless.
How then, can there be right or wrong in Tao?"

At these words Chao-chou was suddenly enlightened.

My next question.......

'What are we doing when we sit in meditation?"

Practice is not mechanical, it's not a method or technique, it's not blank consciousness.

Buddhist meditation emphasises quieting the mind and incisive thought.
Ultimately we realise they are inseparable.'

Wu-men's commentary says,
"Nan-chuan shows us that the tile is disintegrating, the ice dissolving and no communication is possible."
"This is true intimacy" he said.

"Hundreds of flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
A cool breeze in summer,
and snow in winter,
If there is no vain cloud in your mind,
For you it is a good season."

When Wu-men wrote this poem, he was talking about a life well lived, full and free, attending to what is needed but without a cloud in the mind.

The final question....

"What is Tao?"

It is at the very heart of Zen practice.
Tao means a passage, a path, a way. It also means the essential truth, or the underlying principle of our universe.

In Buddhism the path to awakening is not separate from enlightenment itself. As we travel the path, we practice living as an awakened person.
We tend to think of practice as a preparation for a time that hasn't arrived, however there is no future moment that we are preparing for.
Practice is living, cultivating virtue is being virtuous.
Practice is life.

Sensei tells us;
"The way is vast and boundless.
The way is not apart from this mind. Study, train, and realise your original mind, the mind of all beings, sentient and insentient."

My thanks to
The practitioners quarterly.'


Sent from my iPhone and
With love