Daily Dharma

Those who donated to our crowdfunding Indiegogo campaign last fall are getting daily e-mails this month as a thank-you and part of the May Sit. We wanted to share these with everyone, though they are a day or so later. This was the May 10 offering.

The first text in italics is from Cultivating the Empty Field by Zen Master Hongzhi, translated by Taigen Daniel Leighton with Yi Wu. The commentary following it is from one of the teachers at Dharma Rain Zen Center.

CultivatingEmptyField-Honzhi-revCast off completely your head and skin.Thoroughly withdraw from distinctions of light and shadow. Where the ten thousand changes do not reach is the foundation that even a thousand sages can not transmit. Simply by yourself illuminate and deeply experience it with intimate accord. The original light flashes through confusion. True illumination reflects into the distance. Deliberations about being and nonbeing are entirely abandoned. The wonder appears before you, its benefit transferred out for kalpas. Immediately you follow conditions and accord with awakening without any obstructions from any defilements. The mind does not attach to things and your footprints are not visible on the road. Then you are called to continue the family business. Even if you thoroughly understand, still please practice it until it’s familiar.

Hongzhi is offering us a snapshot of meditation spilling over to give us a sense of what is possible when we allow the practice of open awareness to become primary. Pervasive returning to presence – this softening of the edges that hold us as separate from our experience – gradually builds momentum. If we practice, there will be times when the heft of illumination is heavier than the heft of distraction and deliberation. The scale tips, awareness is obvious and continuous: the original light flashes, wonder appears before us. This is the family business. Such a staggering privilege, but one that is much bigger than ‘ours.’ This limitlessness is why Hongzhi leaves us with the task of always going on beyond, releasing any concept of attainment. We simply become ever more intimate with this turning and spilling. A life of practice has many of these moments. How would our day change if we lived today with the confidence that the scale was about to tip, that this original light is actually right here, about to be spilled out and experienced?