Friday, June 1, 2018


Elihu Genmyo Smith

Being awake - there is no need to say “being awake”, to make anything of being awake, much less about how to awaken - just being awake.

Immediacy – this universe is our life, this universe intimacy, this Awakened life. However, when dreaming and suffering, then please discover being awake, clarify being awake. When dreaming, because of dreams and inaccurate perceptions which we take as reality and as a basis for beliefs, feelings and acting, we do inappropriate harmful things. We miss this, miss life, this very Buddha moment. In the midst of troubling dreaming, when fearful and confused or in some other way struggling, we bump into things physically, emotionally, missing this moment – noticing this, we know something is necessary. Noticing this, there are practice efforts and actions to awaken, come out of the suffering dream, to cease holding to dreaming.

Believing being asleep is dreaming, believing dreaming is dreaming, believing being awake is dreaming.

I may find myself struggling and doing things to get away from what is painful, unpleasant and suffering. Body-mind efforts, ways of breathing and concentrations are intended to “encourage awakening”, to assist coming awake “from” troubling dreams of self-centeredness - self-other dreams manifested in like-dislike-hate, mine-not mine, and as greed, anger and fundamental delusion. Yet, even if we “have” a glimmer of awakening, are “partially” awake, some of what we do may not be skillful.

When fully asleep and comfortable, there is no effort to awake – we just sleep and dream. When troubled and noticing dreaming, noticing we are “caught up”, we want to do “something” to not be troubled by this dream and cease causing trouble; sometimes we even want to “go back to” sleep and dream comfortably. Even when troubled dreaming, I may not see practice that is skillful, or which I am willing to undertake, so as to awaken, to “end” troubles and difficulties.

It requires great courage and bravery to undertake a practice clarifying or challenging fundamental self-centeredness; this is especially so if many times during the day in the midst of troubling self-centered behavior I insist that I am not asleep, that I am not dreaming. Self-centeredness is strongly engrained and enticing. Holding on to likes and dislikes, want and do-not want, mine and not-mine, this insistence of “not-dreaming” is re-enforced; nevertheless, in holding to self-centered functioning troubling dreams and harming occurs.

The Buddha’s teaching is of awakening, of being Buddha, Awakened - which is truly who each of us is, who all that we meet are. When troubled by delusionary dreams we may need encouragement and assistance to clarify the sources of troubling, suffering, and to skillfully reveal this awakened life and the practice supports of how to awaken and stay awake.

Sila (Precepts), Samadhi (Meditation), Prajna (Wisdom) [Kai, Jo, E in Japanese] are 3 facets of Buddha Teaching Practice. They are our Awakened life. And they nurture each other as ongoing interrelated facets of this life - if this is not so for you then please work with them skillfully. They are united in zazen, in zazening, all manifested in zazen Buddha life.

As the 6th Ancestor clarifies, “without any wrong is the precepts of one's own nature…without disturbance is the meditation of one's own nature… without ignorance is the wisdom of one's own nature.”

Samadhi is experiencing without self-managing experiencing - bodily experiencing, being the Samadhi presence-ing without holding to self-centeredness directing and judging experiencing. Just this, abiding as non-abiding– this moment body-mind-universe functioning. Not sticking to habits of thoughts, likes-dislikes, wanting-not-wanting, self-other or mentally directing experiencing. If need be, we use various expedients like breath, centering, to enter and enable being this moment; enable and nurture zazen, being enabled and nurtured in zazen. This is not adding or special, it is ceasing the extra, the clinging, that we habitually believe – this is zazen.

This is not a thing, much less some extra thing, some special thing other than this life. Because it is so, we need not stick to such words – except as that might be skillful and useful. The 6th Ancestor clarifies that our life zazening is “without obstacle, without hindrance.”

Dualistic functioning misses this not-two, misses this life – even the concept “practice” misses, if we believe it as other than a provisional description.

Ok to miss, except that missing sometimes is an aspect of troubling suffering or harming – and therefore we must do our best in the midst of the opportunities life offers.

As reactive bodily habits arise, when we find that we are following them, then noticing emotion thought, noticing resistance to Sila Precepts guidelines, is called for.

Sila/Kai/precepts are the supports and reminders when habit reactions, such as greed, anger or delusions, arise; this is nurturing Samadhi zazening when samskara habits, karmic habits of body-mind, arise. At the same time, the support of our Sila life is zazen, this moment Samadhi experiencing which is zazening.

The intermingling of Sila and Samadhi manifests as Prajna, wisdom of clear seeing, experiencing, this moment life as is – which is Buddha Dharma. Each facet interpenetrates the others, is another side and name of the “others.”

The above words are intended as a support when in the midst of the troubling dreaming. Supporting awakening when we misconstrue life, the Tathagata reminds us (Diamond Sutra), “like a dewdrop, a bubble, a dream, a flash of lightening, thus should we consider this.”

“Without-characteristics (wu-xiang) is being free from characteristics in the midst of characteristics, non-thought (wu-nian) is not-thinking in regard to thoughts, non-abiding (wu-zhu) is a person’s original nature.” The 6th Ancestor further clarifies, “Zuo/Za/sitting is not giving rise to thought externally regarding any object, chan/zen/meditation is seeing nature without perturbation,” or he states elsewhere, “chan as externally free of characteristics, stillness is internally without confusion.”

Please excuse these too many words - being awake, there is truly no such need.

Row, row, row your boat,
gently on the stream,
merrily, joyfully, lovingly, compassionately,
life is just this dream.

© 2018 Elihu Genmyo Smith