Oct 12th, 2011
This passage of the Xin Xin Ming instructs us to not remain divided, and to drop ... through and through ... this and that, good and bad, beautiful vs. ugly, all the divisions of little 'self' from this life and world ...
... yet don't be caught there either, do not remain emptied into Emptiness, and bring the One down into/as/right through-and-through the Many.
When we do so, life's greatest obstructions and challenges, ups and downs, are not encountered quite as they were before.
Do not remain in the dualistic state avoid such pursuits carefully [chasing after, getting caught by things]. If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One. When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.
True "Stillness" is not merely a matter of stilling the mind, or of sitting still, or of feeling a heart that's peaceful and still ... but of finding the Stillness which is all stillness or movement, the Silence which sings both quiet and noise through and through. If one believes that "stillness" is found only in a stilled mind and heart, it is a bit like saying that the moon vanishes when hidden by clouds. This realization is Shikantaza.
To find the True Moon that shines when seen, when hidden, and right through-and-through the clouds ... Thus is Shikantaza.
I am reminded of a recent trip I took to the Tohoku region of Japan hit by the Tsunami. In one neighborhood, there is a vacant lot filled with hills of smashed and broken glass shards, broken shards all over. One sees represented there broken lives, homes, broken families, much as the shattered glass in that field. So ugly, so tragic, so impossible to ever fully put back together.
Suddenly, as I was standing to look at that vacant lot by night, the moon overhead glistened and was reflected on countless pieces, each fully reflecting a complete image of the moon expressed in its specific size and shape. It is much as Dogen writes of the moon in the puddles and dewdrops ...
Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.
Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky.
The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long of short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.
A field of countless jewels reflecting one into another, like the pearls of Indra's Net!
And then ... suddenly as the sky grew cloudy, the moon was gone! The ugly and broken fragments returned. Shattered, yet not.
If we think that "enlightenment" is only those moments when the moon is seen, when the field lights up like a glistening Buddha Field ... we miss the Truth. It is good to still the mind, to taste wholeness and quiet ... yet we must pierce the Wholeness and Quiet which dances the holes in life and the greatest din. As the Brits say, "Smashing!"
The Moon is shining all along, seen or unseen. A Peace of One Piece that holds all the broken pieces.
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