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 12 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-revContemplating your own authentic form is how to contemplate Buddha. If you can experience yourself without distractions, simply surpass partiality and go beyond conceptualizing. All buddhas and all minds reach the essential without duality. Dignified without relying on others and radiant beyond doubt, maintaining this as primary, the energy turns around and transforms all estrangement. From the beginning the clouds leisurely release their rain, drifting past obstacles. The direct teaching is very pure and study. Nothing can budge it. Immediately, without allowing past conditions to turn you, genuinely enact it.

Hakuin was another great old man of Zen, centuries after Hongshi. He wrote, “Apart from water there is no ice; Apart from beings, no Buddha.” We are always looking outside for the answer. When we turn inward, our minds are filled with noise and confusion. As we look carefully, it seems there is nothing on which to lean, nothing solid. Every part of the self gives way until it seems there is nothing left. But this nothing is the very substance of things. Dropping our concern for the opinions of others, no longer looking elsewhere for the source, we find Hongshi’s essential thing. We find Hakuin’s indivisibility. Amazing! It is just like a cloud, drifting, dropping, fading and reappearing. This is what we enact.