Monday, January 30, 2017

Buddha's koan 1-26-17

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Attachment  by Elihu Genmyo Smith
Attachments to feelings, to body condition, to positions and events seem natural.

You receive a promotion with a significantly increased salary; your daughter has had a successful delivery and gives birth to a healthy baby; you run a full marathon and are finally among the top ten in the event - these are just three examples of events which can elicit joy, elation and happiness, among many emotions and reactions.

You find your month old parked car has been smashed and there is no evidence by whom. Your boss declares that your division is being closed and you are laid off. Your mother tells you that her illness has been diagnosed as aggressive cancer. You wake up and your legs ache so much that it is painful to get out of bed; simply standing is a pulsating shooting pain.

Our responses to these four events - sadness, loss, grief, anger, rage - can be intense. These are opportunities of attachment manifesting. And, this coming going attachment sometimes brings on further reactions, often without noticing this. We may be overwhelmed, almost taken over by these reactions, believing these reactions, acting out of reactions. Has this been so for you? What has resulted from that?

Being embodied is the possibility of physical emotional joy, physical emotional pain, as well as other forms of attachment. This is human life, our life. The seemingly automatic self-attachment, even as it is a fundamental strength of life, can also be a fundamental life hindrance.

In the midst of ongoing change life, attachment can be stressful and painful, pulling in many directions and ways of being.

Have you noticed attachment events like this recently in your life?

Holding to these reactions, attaching to them, attaching to the attaching, living out of them, can make entanglement and trouble for us. Has this been so for you?

An aspect of the Buddha’s teaching can be stated as, ‘suffering, misery, arises not from loss but from attachment.’

This is important to clarify. Misery, suffering, are important and difficult human conditions. And I repeat, suffering and misery do not come from loss - though it often seems that way to us, especially in the midst of loss, in the midst of the various forms of loss which are an inevitable part of our life.

Believing attachment, holding to attachment of like or dislike, of wanting and repelling, of fear, greed and anger based on attachment, results in entanglements, troubles and harming. Please reflect on this for yourself.

Because attachments seem to be who we are, we “follow” attachments without even noticing this. We make self of arising-passing attaching, without perceiving an alternative to acting out of attachments. Do you believe attachment reactions as truth, as what is good and what should be? Do you follow them?

The Avatamsaka Sutra states that Buddha, upon Awakening, said, “All beings are endowed with wisdom and perfection of the Tathagata - but because of attachment and delusion they miss this and suffer.”

This Buddha Awakening is your Awakening, your life.Yet, we miss life when entangling in attachment. And this attachment believing, attachment attachment, keeps us from compassionate responding.

Varieties of attachment – “unconscious” attachment, “conscious” attachment – are what keep us from compassionate living.

The “4 Practice Principles” begin, “caught in self-centered dream”, caught in the attachment that is self-dream. Attachment is in form, sensation, conceptions – the seemingly natural tendencies of self-volition and experiencing, our very consciousness, awareness. Clarifying if and how this occurs in your life is zazening. Please be zazening life, please clarify this.

There is no other form of the universe than right here. You might wonder why in Bodhisattva’s Vow we say, “When I a student of the Way, look at the real form of the Universe”? We say “real form” because attachment distorts this life moment, blinds us to life, blinds us to this moment form. Thus Bodhisattva’s Vow needs to state skillfully that what we believe may not be the so-called “real form” because our attachments distort right here now for us.

There is no other “real form” elsewhere. And yes, we may miss this moment form - miss form is emptiness, miss emptiness is exactly form. So we are reminded in the Heart Sutra. And even as are reminded by the Heart Sutra, we must be clear - form is exactly form, emptiness exactly emptiness. No other real form.

Experiencing – bodily experiencing, body-mind experiencing, body-mind-universe experiencing – experiencing.

Do you fail to see this life because of holding to attachments about this moment, about this particular condition? Does attachment holding occur in your life? Please notice if and when this attachment holding occurs.

Because of attachment holding, the Bodhisattva’s Vow emphasizes – in any event (in this particular event), in any moment (in this very moment), in any place (this very place here), none is other than this Buddha Awakening life.

This right here now is the real form, your very life – no need to go looking elsewhere or else-how for some other real form.

And we must be supported by our Bodhisattva Vows, by being a practitioner of the way, in order to not be blinded or hindered by the natural tendency attachment holding. Not hindered, thus experiencing manifests in our compassionate responding.

Dogen states, “drop away body mind” – exactly dropping away this moment attachment. Right here is dropped away body mind.

You may discover that the attachment habit is strong, pervasive. At times manifesting attachment, noticing manifesting attachment and responding may be the necessary focus of our practice effort sitting, walking, throughout the day, when with others and when alone. Attachment holding can be bodily, thoughts, feelings, self, other.

Attachment to attachment, attachment self-centeredness, poisons life. The antidoting of attachment self-centered poisoning is experiencing. When we notice attachment arising, right at this moment is experiencing opportunity, which is experiencing holding; using this noticed opportunity is being this body-mind attachment, is experiencing holding, is releasing holding.

Attachment is no-thing. It is not other than this Buddha nature manifesting, our particular Buddha nature life. Experiencing is being just this – being free of just this.

In being blinded by attachment holding, we miss this here - by not allowing this light to permeate this moment. There is no need to continue reactive-habit distortions, the greed anger attachment harm that might otherwise result. Just make your practice effort when discovering attachment, allow attachment arising passing as your life, your moment experiencing.

So that we do not misunderstand, I repeat that attachment is just this human life. “(Though) the Buddha Way transcends being and non-being,…Nevertheless - flowers fall amid our longing, and weeds spring up amid our loathing – and that is all”(Dogen, Genjo Koan). This is our life practice.

Holding Mu lightly was Soen Roshi’s practice instruction and encouragement to Aitken Roshi. Being our life lightly is being awakened by the myriad dharmas, even being awakened by attachment dharmas. This is allowing the Universe living us.

Lightly being allows my life to be Dharma manifesting this life, this body-mind-world experiencing, rather than self-centered tightness controlling and hindering, the body mind holding-attaching blinding us.(Though this manifesting Dharma is not hindered yet for us blinding attaching-holding interferes; we miss this moment life we are, hindering compassionate responding.)

Our life practice is being transparent, being present, being lightly present -being transparently present, being transpresent.

Being just this – (is) being free of just this – this manifesting compassionate way.

© 2017 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Sesshin Dharma talks

Opening Remarks 1/11/17
Intimacy - Part 1   1/12/17
Intimacy - Part 2   1/13/17
Loving - Part 1  1/14/17
Loving - Part 2  1/15/17

Link to MLK Sermon "Loving Your Enemies"