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Posts Tagged ‘true nature’

When deciding what to write about I had trouble coming up with something special so I turned around to my bookshelf, as usual, and a very weathered and yellowed book by Les Kaye jumped out at me: Zen at Work, A Zen Teacher’s 30-Year Journey in Corporate America.  I quickly flipped through the pages looking for that ever present yellow marker and my eyes caught a chapter entitled “True Nature.”

Wow, it would be great to meet my true nature today and thus I read on…

The point of Zen practice is to let go of ideas about boundaries and to feel our limitless true nature.  When we express our limitless true minds, we understand that there are no boundaries and no center (page 16).[1]

And so how do we live this “limitlessness?”  Kaye and I have created a list of does and don’ts.

Begin with these ideas in mind:

DON’T_jones-gap-stream-1

  • Don’t be afraid
  • Don’t grasp after it
  • Don’t look for a road map
  • Don’t cling to it
  • Don’t get sidetracked by comfort, pleasure, or desire

DOsmoky-mountain-stream-copy1 Morningjoy weblog

  • Do remember we really have “nowhere to go”
  • Do open yourself to the limitless Big Mind
  • Do let Big Mind be your guide
  • Do let your limitless true nature express itself
  • Do know that wisdom IS your true nature
  • Do realize your inherent completeness

Picture these ideas as stepping stones in a mountain stream. The first stream is filled with boulders and rushing water that keep you from crossing and moving toward your limitlessness. The second stream is filled with rocks that allow you to cross easily and discover your limitlessness.  Which stream are you in?

In gassho, Shokai

[1] Kaye L. (1996) Zen at Work A Zen Teacher’s 30-Year Journey in Corporate America. NY, NY: Three Rivers Press

[2] B&W Picture http://listeningwiththeeye.squarespace.com/galleries/recent-works-2012/ from my teacher Mitch Doshin Cantor’s work

[3] Morningjoy.wordpress.com picture Mountain Vistas Weblog

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Consider movement stationary
and the stationary in motion,
and both the state of movement and the state of rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
No law or description applies.
For the unified mind in accord with the way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feelings, knowledge, and imagination
are of no value. [1]

Faith in Mind is filled with opportunities for us to read and contemplate on the Buddhist principle of the dangers of picking and choosing. These verses help us look at the dualities in our lives and thoughts and the bondage that is created by them.

In the Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen (1991) it says this about Seng-ts’an the author of Faith in Mind:

Hardly any details are known of the life of the third patriarch [Seng-ts’an]. There are however, many legends about him and his meeting with Hui-k’o. According to one of these legends Seng-ts’an was suffering from leprosy when he met the second patriarch. Hui-k’o is supposed to have encountered him with these words “You’re suffering from leprosy; what could you want from me?” Seng-ts’an is supposed to have replied, “Even if my body is sick, the heart-mind of a sick person is no different from your heart-mind (page191).” [2]

Which brings us right back to the importance of remembering the difficulties that accumulate in our lives when we are picking and choosing. “For the unified mind in accord with the way all self-centered striving ceases and doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible. With a single stroke we are freed from bondage…”

Unity minister and teacher H. Emilie Cady in her wonderful book, Lessons in Truth, named her very first chapter “Bondage or Liberty, Which?” She writes:

Every man must take time daily for quiet and meditation. In daily meditation lies the secret of power. Watch carefully, and you will find that there are some things, even in the active unselfish doing, that would better be left undone than that you should neglect regular meditation.

No person, unless he has practiced it, can know how it quiets all physical nervousness, all fear, all oversensitiveness, all the little raspings of everyday life—just this hour of calm, quiet waiting alone with God. Never let it be an hour of bondage, but always one of restfulness (pages 23-25). [3]

As you can see meditation is practiced in some form in all religions around the world. Use of a meditation practice to help us quiet the mind is a healthy self-loving process. In the quiet mind we stop the picking and choosing and are free of its bondage. Those musings have no value at all when we are sitting in the silence. As Seng-ts’an says, “Here thought, feelings, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.”

And so our lives become easier and more fulfilling. Self-love and neighborly love can be found without picking and choosing in our time of quiet meditation. As Seng-ts’an said, “Even if my body is sick, the heart-mind of a sick person is no different from your heart-mind.”

Shambhala Dictionary defines the “heart-mind thus:”

In Zen it means, depending on the context, either the mind of a person in the sense of all his powers of consciousness, mind, heart, and spirit, or else absolute reality—the mind beyond the distinction between mind and matter, self-nature, or true nature (page 118).” [4]

The heart-mind melds together in meditation without picking and choosing, simply sit and watch what happens as your “true nature” quietly appears and disappears.

In gassho,

ingassho

Shokai

[1] Osho (2014) Hsin Hsin Ming, The Zen Understanding of Mind and Consciousness. Osho International Foundation

[2] Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, 1991. Boston: MA

[3] Cady, H. E. (1995) Complete Works of H. Emilie Cady. Unity Books. Unity Village: MO

[4] Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, 1991. Boston: MA

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Obey the nature of things (your own nature),
And you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,
For everything is murky and unclear,
And the burdensome practice of judging
Brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
From distinctions and separations? [1]

Take a moment to think about the first line of this sutra. “Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.” What is your nature and what is your TRUE nature. The dictionary says nature is the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person it is our native or inherent character our temperament. Or when used as an idiom “She is by nature a kindhearted person.” So what is your own nature? What is your own TRUE nature?

Once you have identified your nature good and bad then ask yourself “am I in bondage to it?” In reality your TRUE nature is identical to every Buddha that has ever been born. The Dalai Lama says:

“Every sentient being—even insects—have Buddha nature. The seed of Buddha means consciousness, the cognitive power—the seed of enlightenment. That’s from Buddha’s viewpoint. All these destructive things can be removed from the mind, so therefore there’s no reason to believe some sentient being cannot become Buddha.”[2]

And if the Dalai Lama says it must be true!

The essential teaching of Mahayana Buddhism is that we are already enlightened beings that is our true nature. But as it says in the sutra “When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.” We are so bogged down in this negative thinking, this judgmental thinking, this fear thinking, that our true Buddha nature is hidden deep down in the recesses of our minds, bodies and spirits. Our ego does not give us the opportunity to see ourselves as the Buddha the enlightened being. We are plagued with negative images and negative self-talk—Who do you think you are someone special? You have fears, anger, jealousy, and you say mean and angry things. You’re surly not enlightened. Or are you?

“What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations?” Our thoughts are like the clouds that hide the sun sometimes so much that they bring mental and emotional rain showers and even thunder and lightning storms into our lives. Our thoughts obscure the sun and our Buddha nature and yet we know intellectually that the sun has not gone away. Once we calm ourselves and sit in mindful meditation for a few minutes we will be able to calm that judgmental thinking, ego, and id and turn annoyance and weariness into calmness and peace.

Next time you catch this happening to you simply remind yourself that you are Buddha nature and move into that place of peace, love, and compassion. Ask yourself “What benefit can be derived from distinctions and separations in this situation?” I’ll bet the answer will be “no benefit at all.” If I can remind myself that I am Buddha nature I will be able to slip into a place of peace, love, and compassion for myself and all concerned.

Image what wonderful relationships you could have, what a great life you could have–a life filled with peace, love, and happiness—if you believed about yourself and everyone you meet what the Dalai Lama believes: That everyone has Buddha nature right here and right now! That your TRUE nature is Buddha nature. So let’s try to act like it right here and right now and watch what will happen our your life!

In gassho

ingassho
Shokai

[1] Osho, Hsin Hsin Ming, (2014) The Zen Understanding of Mind and Consciousness Attributed to: Seng’tsan, 3rd Chinese (Sosan, Zen) Patriarch

[2] March 9, 2010 http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/blog/2010/Mar/9/dalai-lama-buddhanature/

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