Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Abandoning Control 9/16/18

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Past, Future, Present 9/9/18

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Simple by Elihu Genmyo Smith


We are simple.

Even when life seems complex and entangled, it is a simple moment; simple moments together into a complexity that may seem difficult to embrace. When we are not open to this put-together story it seems, and therefore is, unsatisfying and even a source of suffering. It is only the unwillingness to embrace this simple moment that makes for unsatisfactory, suffering.

Right now this universe is our opportunity. This, here, is where responding is our opportunity of joy and satisfaction; even this that is hard to let in. We can knock on closed mindedness, be open mindedly closed minded, be open heartedly closed hearted. This experiencing, this life, is ours to allow to flow through us, to seemingly flow through, in each simple moment facet. This is zazening.

Do conditions of the world feel like a threat – maybe as a result of being bound up in thoughts, judgments, beliefs or emotions? What hinders (for us) this moment open heartedness, this seeing what is and responding?

Sometimes, changing conditions feel like a personal attack. Does body, mind, words of others or circumstances of this universe feel like a personal attack? Please notice if and when this seems so. It is a good reminder, a good practice support if we attend to this. How is it to embrace bodily, experientially, “personal attacks”? When this arises, can you notice this? What are appropriate efforts when changes manifests in these “disagreeable” ways? What is skillful responding? We live in a time of connections in many forms. These myriad connections, including virtual connections, seem to result in limited tolerance of differences, with potentially divisive relating. What is our practice?

Holding onto thoughts, believing thoughts, about how others should be or should not be, makes this undefilable life seem to us to be defiled.

This is so whether the “others” are those we live with, the weather outside, the buildings, the drivers on the road, those in the distant media or the rest of the world. All are this moment universe of our zazen, our zazening - this nothing special, not-two. When we can not, will not, be present as this moment, are not at peace as this moment, even including the thoughts of should be, should not be, we miss this unmissable we are, we deny this joyousness, this life.

If you believe your story about another, your labels and judgments of them, you miss the Buddhas all around you. You do not allow them as they are, and believing judgment, you close your heart, close your mind. This is the poison of hatred and greed that nurtures ignorance delusions and makes suffering and harming flower throughout the universe. Please do not indulge in this, please be skillful practice when this arises.

Being joyous zazen does not require anything extra or special other than being as you are, experiencing right now; does not require “our” body-mind nor the body-mind of others to be a particular way. This does not hinder you from taking care of this moment as skillfully appropriate, including experiencing and serving the circumstances that “should be”, the circumstances that “should not be.” This is zazening, being at peace as this universal moment, even being at peace with not being peaceful, with others not being peaceful as we believe they “need to” be – your moment to live this universe.

Body zazening, mind zazening, universe zazening - with nothing to fix, with no need to go looking for fixing, no need to go looking for not-Ok, not holding to beliefs of how should or should not - then as this undefilable moment you can appropriately - fix body, fix mind, fix universe with no-fixing, improve what is perfect as is. You can fix “should be”, “should not be”, in the myriad forms this clinging arises, this suffering hinders and blinds.

We seem to want to make “special truths” and rules; to hold onto all sorts of thoughts, beliefs, even self-images, about how life should be, or should not be, for me or for others. Do we notice this happening in daily life? Do we notice physical, emotional and mental holding – and the consequences of this?

When we are present, experiencing, we can sense holding when this arises, when habitual reactions to circumstances arise. An example is reactions, thoughts, beliefs, to things that others say, things we feel that they should or should not say. Please notice what you believe, feel, as result? What are the actions we take as a result? Do we suffer as a result?

When we believe that the world of others is not in accord with our truth, what occurs? What is our practice effort? When things occur, or I believe are occurring, despite my thoughts, what happens when I react to that? How do I practice in the midst of this so that it nurtures this life universe, nurtures compassionate responding?

Sometimes, maybe for things to be OK and safe, I make this or that belief, emotion, thought, into the truth. We may do this because we hold to a hope that these likes, dislikes, this specialness, will make my life, and maybe the life of others (or at least so I tell myself), as I want it to be. Unfortunately what experience shows, and what the Buddha and Ancestors teach, is that holding onto life being “a certain way” insures suffering for me and others in the midst of this ongoing changing that is our life.

Can life be other than this ongoing flowing, ongoing changing?

When we make life experiencing into mine or not mine – it is therefore a basis for upsets, anger, greed - a basis of what must be in order for happiness, joy, satisfactoriness, for simply being at peace. Instead of peace, satisfaction and joy – circumstances may become a reason to not be at peace but rather are a basis to be agitated, a reason not to be joyous, but rather a reason to suffer, to act angrily.

If you cling to judgments, then any name you call, even Buddha, is false. If you do not cling to judgments, then all names are true names.

So please be this zazening, this peace experiencing, this joyousness intimacy. This is your open heart, your open mind.

© 2018 Elihu Genmyo Smith