Updated: Jan 7, 2021
A nest of pillows has been evolving on my couch. Sitting zazen period after period. My breath falls to the floor like tears, still, I breathe it all back in again but now, gritty and irritating. It's practice so I attempt to bring it in even deeper and my whole belly grows like a bull frog about to send out a big croak.
I'm trying to come to terms with my life right now. I'm taking stock during this season but it's not all rainbows, though I am extremely fortunate.
I breathe out very slowly and begin to settle again. Out it goes, out, out, out, my belly collapses and it feels like I'm floating again. Over and over, breathing in and out.
(Just do it right now, take some breaths and slow everything down, focus on it, if any thoughts arise they are really beautiful clouds in the sky your awareness is the sky, just say to yourself "excuse me, I'm busy right now" and come back to your breath and feel your body sink. Breathe in and out)
Mujo and our sangha held a zanzenkai (day retreat) the other day to honor Rohatsu. That is the day celebrated by Zen Buddhists in the lineage of Dogen when Shayamuni Buddha awakened to his true nature. It's also my true nature and yours too, right here, right now. Buddha sat and sat and sat and sat. Keizan says in his dharma talk, there were reeds growing up between his crossed legs and magpies nesting on his head.
"The thing about this story," said Mujo in her dharma talk the other day "is that Buddha never gave up." That hit me hard for some reason. How I struggle with this whole thing and I love it so much at the same time.
Can I have reeds grow up from under me and magpies make nests on my head proverbially as I sit zazen? It's all relative truly. If we compare ourselves at all, we are separating ourselves from this true nature and that is the suffering Buddha called dukkha.
If a person has a very very hard time sitting still and has a very active mind and so on, it would be silly to think they could sit still for an hour or a half-hour right off. Practice really is slowly discovering our own hearts, minds, bodies and contexts right here and right now. So for that person recognizing just a quick a moment of Stillness is Shakyamuni's original enlightenment. It's being what it is. Let's all give ourselves a break, find out who we are and be ourselves!
Our true nature is the same as Shakyanumi Buddha's true nature. All of our activities, desires and fears are this true nature too. All the atrocities, war, greed and violence are also this true nature. What is here and now is this true nature too. Can you see it, feel it, hear it?
Practice is cultivating inner and outer silence, paying attention and being it.
In that very moment The World Honored One let out the first lion's roar saying, "I and the great earth and beings simultaneously achieve the way,"
Can we be simultaneous with true nature? All of it?