Skip to main content

Buddha Nature II

Look to the right. Hell yeah! Now that's the Buddha Nature I've been looking for. Blue sparkles-check. Golden majesty exploding from heart-check. Super novas-quadruple check!

However, I've never seen anything as cosmic as this in my entire experience. Would I listen if someone told me they did? If I did see this, would I file it into enlightenment or delusion?

Oh, of course I'd file it. And that's what it would be: a neat folder full of boundless glory, stashed away for me to peak at. I'd label it too, "Sweet Buddha Nature Experience, 2090, 5:25 am, end of Rohatsu"

Don't ruin my file. Don't even touch it.

Class with Jiryu continues. What a seal breaker it's been! Many of us in the class have been practicing for years (9 years for me...) and this might be the first time in our Soto Zen experience someone has asked WHAT is Buddha Nature. I know it's my first time. What does a person say when you have to say something? With no place for a perfect soul to hide, I say (or quote):

"Water, vessel to vessel." But bring your own cup and water, extra if you have it.

"I don't know, who doesn't know, you have no expectations and "the Buddha eye" sees beyond seeing. This experience is beyond the realm of human thinking."

"Know 'no' Buddha. Know 'yes' Buddha."

And my teacher said it has nothing to do with me or you, with subject and object. Jiryu cautioned us to not make this "Buddha Nature" topic something to get, some object, despite our class studying "it."

All of the above quotes come from Dogen's fascicle Shobogenzo Bussho, or Buddha Nature. Anyone who has something to offer on that fascicle, please chime in! As I read Dogen, little page by little page, I feel like I'm on top of a house, reeling in white Christmas lights, finding knots, untying knots, accidently tying new knots, and all the while missing the bright warm twinkly lights I have right in my hands.

Exhausted, I retire to our practice of following the schedule, sitting up straight, doing 9 prostrations every morning, silently, like this:

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha
I practice softening
I practice letting go
I practice radical acceptance
I practice beginer's mind
I practice loving kindness
I practice secretly, working within


Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

We Are The Ones Who Can Die

This is me hunting hogs with a semi-automatic weapon. This was a past life( about 8 years ago.)

A lot can change in 8 years.

I grew up around guns. I received my first when I was 10 years old. I went to a high school with a shooting range in the basement, for the high school competitive rifle team. My dad, a career Marine, gave thorough instruction, you better believe. And for most of my life I could take them or leave them. I wasn't into guns like a lot of my friends, but I knew how to shoulder a carbine so the shell didn't eject and hit me in the eye.

That was in Pennsylvania. New Orleans was a completely different scene and the reality of gun violence really hit home (sometimes too literally). I have friends who have been shot in street violence and in combat zones. I have been threatened with a weapon and I have loaded guns with a notion of self defense.

And I used to believe that it was my right to do so.

But today I'm sad and I want to touch that sadness. I lost my …

The Transformation of Ceremony

Ordination Day

I want to say something about the transformational aspect of a ceremony. Like wine to blood, from person to priest, practice enlightenment as transmogrification. Like cucumbers to pickles, surprise! 
I underestimated the ceremony. After pursuing ordination for nine years I had visualized it into nothing. Having junior monks pass me by, then disrobe, then put the robe back on before I even got to wear it once lent a sobering perspective. Imagination dispensed. I sat and stitched and lived practice in a way where oryoki wasn't a treat, Zazen wasn't something I could talk about, and robes started to have gravity- they were not without weight. 
And I think that's the first element of my ceremony: a period of discernment and someone to discern with. In the case of ordination, my teacher, our tanto, and other priests served as mirrors and sounding boards for these two questions: Why do I want to be a priest and what is a priest? It was about as clear as wine tran…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…