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Posts Tagged ‘Moon by the Window: The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada’

What a simple word awaken is.  We wake up in the morning, hopefully from a good sleep, we might awaken to a new idea about a project or problem that we are dealing with or even find ourselves in the wake of a big wave at the Jersey Shore.  That’ll wake you up for sure!

So, does that mean being awake is not that difficult of an idea or difficult to do?! We sometimes get into a tither over it when we are sitting or meditating.  We might ponder on the idea of being “awakened” to the truth of Buddhism, as is often said.

Yuanwu writes “In visiting enlightened teachers and questioning them, you must see real nature and awaken to truth (page 65).”  Truthfully, what we really want is to end up in this situation, as Yuanwu says a, “stage where there are no contrived activities and no concerns.”  Sound easy? Nope!

Yuanwu goes on to say, “As soon as you have the slightest wish to be unconcerned, a concern has already arisen (page 66).”  There is a great enlightenment story told by Shodo Harada in his beautiful book Moon by the Window (page 25). The story below describes Master Reiun’s enlightenment experience.

Master Reiun was enlightened at the sight of a peach blossom and wrote:
peach blossom For thirty years no guests came by;
The leaves fell and the branches became bare. Seeing one peach bloom,
The time has come,
There is no doubt left whatsoever.

 

For thirty years Reiun worked on obliterating every deluded thought and view. While tending to this internal housecleaning, day in, day out, he welcomed the autumn and spring so many times he lost count.  With the sight of the peach flower, in bloom at that very moment, thirty years were swept away. Reiun’s huge Mind, freed of judgements and opinions, provided no quarter for doubts to arise.

As Bodhidharma said, “One bud opens its petals and naturally grows into fruit.” Our zazen gives blossom to the flower of Mind.  This is the true source of joy.

So, with all those years of work and worry it simply took the sight of a peach blossom to experience the flowering of his big Mind.  So, without fretting or worrying simply continue sitting in the quiet of the morning or evening and maybe it will arrive and maybe not—experience the joy in either or neither.

Let me know how that goes!

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Emerson: “There is no planet, sun or star could hold you if you but knew what you are.”

Shodo Hashodo-harada-roshi-sanzenrada Roshi in his beautiful book, Moon By The Window, wrote:

“In a dualistic world we will fumble and fall. When we see with the eyes of the Buddha, we know the joy of the Dharma [teachings] in daily life. We become one with the heavens and earth, and there is no longer any division between inside and outside (page 169).”[1]

We are made up of stars and light and when we use the talent, energy, compassion, and love of which we were born all things are possible.  We have sent spaceships to Mars, found cures for diseases that in the past had destroyed civilizations, we have created music, and dance, and poetry, and literature that has moved millions.  It is possible to be one with each of these things as we travel through life on planet Earth. I know because I have done it at a Cherokee Indian Fire Walk with Unity Minister Edwene Gaines on a dark night in an Alabama forest during one of her workshops

That is who we are. That is what we are. Shodo Harada Roshi goes on to write, “We have to throw away our small way of thinking and live in a place where we hold on to nothing whatsoever. It’s here that we discover the Buddha, and there is nothing sturdier than the strength that comes from this discovery.  The Buddha discovered that he was a part of the “all” as he awoke under the Bodai tree and taught us that through our direct experience we could realize that as well (page 169).”

As Louise Howard and Chris Riddell illustrate in their book Buddhism for Sheep: “Train your mind iBuddhism for Sheept is the source of everything.”[2] As we sit in zazen (meditation) we are training our minds to “throw away our small way of thinking and to hold on to nothing.” Then and only then can we know what we are—a piece of the heavens and the earth.

As Emerson said, “know what you are.” Sheep or not sheep…that is the question.

Shokai

[1] Floris, O. Inspiration & Wisdom from the pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson. www.odeliafloris.com (page 25)

[2] Harada, S. (2011) Moon by the Window, The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada. Boston, MA: Wisdom Press.

[3] Riddell C.,  Howard, L. (1996) Buddhism for Sheep. London, England: Ebury Press

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darwin-falls mitch

 

Praise is the point in the wind
Where the sounds collide,
the trees whisper,
the water ripples,
And the fish swim with ease.
Where Suchness is all things!

 

 

You can hear suchness sung by the birds, barked by the dogs, meowed by the cats, in the laughter of the child, in the eyes of the grandparent, and in the hearts of the teachers.  Suchness does not have to be spoken, or sung, or drawn, or written about.  It is inherent in every tree, flower, and plant.  It is an integral part of every inventor, every poet, every dancer, and every composer. It is the mystery of the moment.

How are you showing praise and suchness today? What are you praising?  Where are you when you feel one with it? When was the last time you praised someone or something and felt that connection of oneness?

Do you think that praise and suchness should only be experienced by and with humans?  I hope not!  My dog, Annie, loves to hear my words of praise.  Her ears perk up, her eyes sparkle, and her tail wags so hard that sometimes she knocks things over that are near her. I feel so good along with her that my eyes begin to sparkle and a grin appears on my face and laughter and clapping begin to appear.  That makes us both jump with joy, in unison, in the moment of suchness.

Shodo Harada says “The hidden bird is playing with true suchness (page 37).”[1] Suchness or thusness in Buddhism means the way things really are.  The Buddha is to have awakened to suchness. When I praise something or someone I am seeing things the way they really are.  As the Buddha did when he awoke from sitting under the Bodhi tree and said, “I and all beings on earth together attain enlightenment at the same time.”  Remember when you experienced the suchness of a glorious sunrise over the ocean, or the mountains, or the desert? Or during the birth of your child?

We are all enlightened beings. But most of us have not recognized our oneness for more than a few seconds in our entire life.  But that does not mean that it does not exit and is not the truth of our being. Harada goes on to write:

If our mind is clear, all conditions are heaven. If we’re not angry and resentful and full of negative energy, wherever we are is always the best season.  But when our mind is full of ego and desires, we aren’t able to know this.  When we hold on to nothing, we awaken to the wisdom of prajna and widely open our original eyes of Truth.  This place, as it is, is the land of lotuses.  When we know this very Truth as it is, everything is wondrous (page 37).[2]

Suchness lives in our lives in the mystery of the moment when we praise and know that I and all things are one!

Let me know how it is!

In gassho,

Shokai

Picture: http://listeningwiththeeye.squarespace.com/galleries/death-valley-lone-pine-2010/

 

[1] Harada, S. (2011) Moon by the Window, The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada, Wisdom Publications: Boston

[2] Ibid.

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Look, Look, the year draws to an end!  Calligraphy from, Moon By The Window, The calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada.

In gassho, Shokai

Quote Shodo Harada Look LookLook Look calligraphy Shodo Harada

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I was listening to a beautiful Andy Williams album this quiet Sunday morning after returning from my walk by the ocean with a friend and the famous song, “Some Enchanted Evening,” by Rogers and Hammerstein came on.  Andy sang, “Fools give you reasons wise men never try.”

Shodo Harada in his wonderful book, Moon by the Window:The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada, wrote:

Those who have realized deep awakening know how to live each day.   But how do we go about it?  What’s the best way to live so that our life has value for all beings?

Our Original Mind is like that of a newborn baby.  When we live in that naturally clear Mind, just as it is, that’s everyday mind; that’s the Path. But when our mind is filled with ideas and prejudices, perceptions about economics, politics, and social issues, how can we see clearly?  If we could all live from a place of ordinary, everyday mind, we would have no need for religion and education and laws.  When we are not concerned with anything at all, this moment is always the best time and season. If we encounter a crisis or catastrophe, that’s fine; when we die, that’s okay too.  Instead of seeing this as good or bad, we know that that’s how it is.  When we reach the end of our life, we can’t keep on living just because we aren’t ready to die. We must realize this deepest source, not to prevent physical death, but that we might live a life in which dying is only one of many things that come along (page 201).”[1]

What a beautiful way to live—recognizing it is just “how it is.”  When I live this way many of my fears and anxieties will diminish or disappear.  I can react to the situation at hand with speed and agility instead of jumping into my memories from the past—I remember when this happened to me before and I felt hurt for months.  Or jumping into the future—what will happen tomorrow if I say or do this today?  Unless I have a crystal ball that question is truly unanswerable.

So Shodo Harada is inviting me to live in the Original Mind like a “newborn baby.”  I need to live in the moment as if this moment is the only one that means anything…and he’s right–it is.

Where have you been going as you’ve read this blog?  Have you been jumping from the past to the future with thoughts and emotions or intellect and knowledge?  Now try reading it again while staying in your Original Mind in THIS moment. Good luck with that!

Let’s begin to live our lives from a “place of ordinary, everyday mind. Like that of a newborn baby.” Remember that “fools give you reasons, wise men never try.”

Things to focus on this week:

1.  I will use my ordinary, everyday mind as often as I can today.

2.  I will remind myself that “fools give you reasons, wise men never try.”

3.  I will remember to bring myself back to THIS moment when I catch my mind wandering into the past or the future.

4.  Lastly, I will keep a journal of the opportunities that have been presented to me so I can keep track of my progress and my opportunities for growth.


[1] Harada, S (2011) Moon By the Window: Zen Insights of Shodo Harada. Wisdom Pub: Sommerville, MA

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