Treeleaf Sangha marks the start of our annual ANGO (90-Day Special Practice Period) and, next week, the start of our JUKAI (Undertaking the Precepts) training ...
... by a series of sittings with the Xin Xin Ming, the Faith in Mind Verses (信心銘) ... one of the most cherished teachings in Zen/Chan Buddhism ... traditionally said to be the words of the Third Chinese Zen/Chan Patriarch Sengcan 僧璨 (though, even if likely not his words, and written by another fellow just a bit later, wonderful nonetheless).
The Xin Xin Ming presents, straight and true, our trust in the fundamental mind of Zazen ... Zazen on the cushion, and 'Zazen' in its boundless meaning off the cushion as well, in and as our sometimes easy sometimes hard life. Today, sitting before the ugliness and hardship of earthquake wreckage piled high in Japan ... broken homes, broken glass, hearts and lives ... we will sit with the opening words (Translated by Richard B. Clarke):
The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences.
When neither love nor hate arises,
all is clear and undisguised.
Separate by the smallest amount, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.
No complicated meditation instructions are needed, no intricate practices, just this simple way pointing directly to a still (even amid & as the turmoil and commotion) and illuminated mind of equanimity and wholeness. This is the Buddha mind available to all of us ... as all of us ... all judgments and frictions dropped away, the divisions of 'self vs. others and the world' dropped away ... even amid a world we sometimes do not like, and in the heart of life's struggles and strife.
What's more, this mind can come and go ... sometimes in a day, a single Zazen sitting, just a moment. In my talk, I also mention this poem attributed to Hui-Neng, the 6th Patriarch, pointing to how the Buddha Mind (though beyond coming and going) can come and go ...
Deluded, a buddha is a sentient being;
awakened, a sentient being is a buddha.
ignorant, a buddha is a sentient being;
with wisdom, a sentient being is a buddha.
if the mind is warped, a buddha is a sentient being
if the mind is impartial, a sentient being is a buddha.
when once a warped mind is produced,
buddha is concealed within the sentient being.
if for one instant of thought we become impartial,
then sentient beings are themselves buddha.
We will sit with this Xin Xin Ming over the coming days and weeks ... amid our lives of sometime ease and sometime difficulties, with the people and situations we seek and those we run from, the beautiful and the ugly ... all human judgments, resistance and separations.
What wholeness arises when all judgments and separations are dropped dropped away?
Please undertake the commitments and tasks of ANGO and JUKAI with this same attitude of dropping ... pushing ahead diligently, encountering both that which is easy and pleasing, and that which is hard or resisted ... with an attitude simultaneously transcending easy and hard, pleasing and displeasing. WONDROUS BUDDHA-MIND WILL APPEAR.
Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.