Tuesday, 20 December 2016


72. A few thoughts:
                        In the Zen tradition we are careful not to rely solely on our 'internal sensors'. Self-deception is an ever present danger. In other traditions, too, masters of the spiritual life are careful to post red flags around all 'funny interior feelings' (FIFs).

     The injunction to 'stand nowhere and let the True Self come forth' is a koan. How many of us can truly 'stand nowhere'? In the resolution of this koan the True Self does indeed manifest itself. Such a resolution needs to be confirmed in the space that opens up between master and disciple.

     Traditional Japanese Zen has tended to overdo the Samurai approach to practice. Teaching in the lineage of Zen Master AMA Samy our practice is gentler and more compassionate. While our zazen (or sitting) is disciplined, it is never rigid and never prolonged. The problem with champion sitters with their unwavering focus is that they are more likely to be on an ego-trip than on the Way of the Awakened. In our lineage we take to heart the sutra that says, 'The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences'.

     In the faith based school of Pure Land Buddhism great stress is placed on 'other-power' (grace). And though Zen rhetoric puts the stress on 'self-power', one eventually comes to realise how dependent one is on 'the other'. As one master has put it, if our effort is not supported by the universe as a whole than it is not real effort. Indeed, for one who is truly awakened, grace is everywhere and everything is grace.

     What waiting there is in zazen practice is more akin to a patient delving into what we already possess here and now. Let us open ourselves to the mysterious fullness of this empty moment.

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