Wednesday, March 16, 2016

All Gold

Elihu Genmyo Smith
Zazen is experiencing life – what we like, what we do not like, what feels good, what is painful, what is “ours” or “not-ours”, what “should be” or “should-not-be”. At times this is most difficult, uncomfortable and painful because of how strongly we hold to and believe or reject and despise circumstances, hold to what we like, what we do not like, what feels good, what is painful, what is “ours” or “not-ours”, what “should be” or “should-not-be”.

Ongoing zazen, ongoing zazen practice in the many forms of our life, enables and supports experiencing this life openness right now, being the emptiness of myriad forms, this always so manifesting right now in standing, sitting, talking, working, sadness, happiness, gain, loss, pain, fear.

An analogy we can use to help in ongoing practice is seeing the many forms and functioning of our life as all forms of gold – compassionate actions is gold, angry speech is gold, sickness gold, energetic strength gold, fear is gold, joy is gold. My teacher Maezumi Roshi said his teacher Yasuatni Roshi used this analogy as a way to speak of Prajna wisdom, a way to speak of emptiness that is the truth of our life. Of course, speaking of this is not the same as being this, living this.

Zazen is experiencing, is sitting still upright in the midst of experiencing as is, openness as this ongoing changing body-mind-universe manifesting in many forms and conditions.
Our habit often is to react to arising circumstance, inside outside this moment, with seemingly natural like-dislike, physically and mentally reacting, going towards or against, adding on or judging. We may refuse to accept, much less embrace, and be this intimacy life moment.

In zazen we suspend activity out of reactive habits, release this reactive habit when it arises and/or notice this, experiencing this, being arising-passing, using what supports us in sitting this open experiencing, open responding.

This opening-to is physical, mental, emotional and any of the many other ways we particularly function. This is upright stillness, whether in formal sitting or in the many forms of our daily life, standing, lying down and so forth – and is supported by the forms of daily life ongoing practice. This is ours to be, ongoing practice of many forms.

Our zazen is discovering and letting go of the particular habitual body-mind chatter reaction when we cannot accept this moment, refuse to be/do right now– enabling us to awaken right now, to be awake right now, manifesting wisdom prajna gold of life right now.

Letting go of any wisdom prajna gold, we are all together just here – there is no gold, there is no gold separate from form, there is no form separate from gold; emptiness is exactly form, form is exactly emptiness; emptiness exactly emptiness, gold exactly gold, form exactly form. Gold is ordinary, nothing special. Forgetting is manifesting this moment here.

Master Dogen says, “Mind itself is Buddha” and he says “one mind is all things, all things are one mind” (Sokushin Zebutsu).

Master Dogen also quotes the following dialogue between Masters Yangshan and Guishan – “What is wondrous clear mind? “It is mountains, rivers and the earth, it is the sun, moon and stars.”

So I say, exactly your life this moment; please take good care of this.

© 2016 Elihu Genmyo Smith