Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bodhisattva Shift

by Elihu Genmyo Smith
"When I a student of the Way look at the real form of the Universe, all is the never failing manifestation of the mysterious truth of the Awakened life. In any event, in any moment, and in any place, none can be other than the marvelous revelation of its glorious light." (Bodhissattva's Vow by Torei Zenji)

No more than this is needed.

Unfortunately, much of the time, life is perceived and sensed as if through a veil of thoughts, emotions and words, of habits and reactions; life is not clear, is not seen clearly as is.

If this is not glorious light - what are you seeing? What are you believing ? Do you notice this “believing”? What is this?

This moment you are joy, you are the capacity of joyousness – and you can be the joyousness you are.

When it does not seem so for you, if it does not seem so for you, there are simple efforts you can make to reveal and sense what is so, sense what is called for, be your life.

We all can do what is called for right now - in accord with our particular ability and present moment circumstances – no need to compare, judge or hold to ideas about this.

Noticing emotion-thought arising, we can do what is called for - noticing skillfully and appropriately right now in accord with our life and experiencing body-mind, this moment.

Of course, what we notice and perceive right now as emotion-thought varies. It is the noticing that is important, the experiencing that is important. There is not a “better” noticing than what you do now, though there is clarifying and a developing of this skill, there is the willingness and capacity to do so, there is the refusal to do so. Doing this is simple – noticing and being whole body listening; this is not-knowing, body-mind dropping away.

At the same time, as you engage in practice there may seem to be “improvements”, facets that you discover that were not previously sensed, seen or appreciated. And while these variations might lead us to judge “better” or “worse”, this judging and comparing are themselves to be noticed.

Our practice, our effort, our life, is to do as I can right now – not as some ideal or as someone else can or even as I should. You are fine as you are now.

What I can do right now, the skillful and appropriate noticing and experiencing of life - this is the perfection of life, this is the opportunity of our life.

"When I a student of the Way" - what are we implying about being a student of the Way?

A practitioner of the Way, a practitioner of the Dharma, a life practitioner, is one who is present in this particular moment, being this varied-functions life. Being present as we are, this body-mind functioning, this particular combination of arising universe, includes this moment emotion-thought beliefs about life circumstances, conditions.

For much of the time this means noticing-experiencing when believing or clinging, this mean seeing, attending to this moments thoughts, emotions, storms; noticing the arising beliefs of self-other perspectives and the like-dislike perspectives that we hold to in the midst of bodily breathing, the bodily listening moment-moment life.
So, being a practitioner of the Way means this moment experiencing, attending to and being aware of arising-passing emotion-thought when we believe, attach to or act out of that emotion-thought.

Until we can see this little edge of caught-up reactive habits life for what it is, we are just caught in trying to fix problems based on our inaccurate perception of what the problems are, what the cause is, what needs “fixing” and what will fix it.
As we practice and begin to notice, we "Look at the real form of the Universe."

"Look" is being aware, being experiencing, this various aspects life that we are. Whole body listening, whole body experiencing, whole body looking; this awareness is our life, this life sensing experiencing that manifests the Universe - life as it is, real form of the Universe.

Being the real form of life, the life of the Universe, then we sense for our self and know for our self that all is the never failing manifestation of this awakened life, this mysterious truth of the awakened life. And we can say and know it is every event, this event, this moment, this place. None is other, none can be other than this life revealing itself, revealing itself as this we here call “glorious light.”

Joko said: "When we sit and do zazen we more clearly perceive our self-centered thoughts and demands" or what she sometimes calls "false thoughts, demands, emotions" - false because it is based on deluded assumptions about events, people, thoughts, beliefs, especially ways we are sure life should be. The results are the problems of living that grow out of what we want, don't want, like, don't like - out of self/not-self dualism.

Doing zazen, being a life practice, is being a student of the Way, the opportunity to experience the bodily tension which invariably accompanies these demands. As Joko reminds us, when we patiently observe thoughts and are experiencing, bodily seeing and allowing all to be as it is, not trying to improve even as we respond, “there will come a moment when the contraction will let go and we can suddenly see our life in a fresh and creative way.” Which is seeing all is the never failing manifestation of the mysterious truth of the Awakened Way.

“After the shift is the time for practical action and speech; only then is there a chance that our words and actions will unify rather than separate”. Nevertheless, at each moment there is the possibility and potential of a “moment shift”, momentary shift, whenever we notice-experience, even if we resume almost immediately attaching to beliefs.

This “moment shift” is Bodhisattva's Vow "this realization" – “this shift”, in whatever form is takes in our life, is the ceasing to hold onto these demands of persons and events, ceasing to perceive out of self-centered thoughts and emotions. Whether momentarily, or for more and more “time” as our way of being in the world, we, “bearing witness to Self-nature that is no-nature, go beyond mere words.” (Hakuin Zenji, Song of Zazen), This is Bodhisattva manifesting of the marvelous revelation of its glorious light – “Going and coming, we are never astray;” we naturally extend tender care with respectful hearts, respond to circumstances and conditions out of being this life universe that we are, out of being with whoever we encounter, intimately embracing this awakened life moment. As Hakuin states, “This very place, Pure Lotus Land, This very body, Buddha Body.” Please take good care of this Buddha Body Universe.

©2017 Elihu Genmyo Smith

Dharma Talks fro Sesshin - Opening Remarks, 11/9/17 Yunmen Part 1, 11/10/17 Yunmen Part 2 11/11/17