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 21 offering.

CultivatingEmptyField-Honzhi-revThe 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.

This rustic monk’s home wind is using a single begging bowl for a livelihood and regarding the ten thousand forms of the world as his inheritance. Subject and object can be like images in a mirror and like the moon in water, blended together with nothing left out. First do not establish your own identity, then beings will not impose their own conditions. Each form has no form. Only in this wholeness are things not isolated. In this manner perfection is fully practiced. Given the loom of energetic opportunity the shuttle can make its passage. Arriving beyond images the sense-dusts all disappear. Even then you must take the backward step and return home to scrutinize this directly in meditation until you are satisfied. The clouds vanish into a single color. The snow covers the thousand mountains. Penetrating vision bring the opening to view the total body.

Hongzhi here provides an invitation to investigate what connects – what unifies – all beings, all phenomena. The world in which we find ourselves, this world with its myriad distractions, is not separate. How much time do we spend telling ourselves stories about who we are? How much energy is invested in reinforcing our oh-so-very limited ideas of ourselves? See the stories as stories. Not only the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, but also the stories we tell ourselves about who others are. All things are empty. All things are Thus. Allow the arising and falling of phenomena. There’s no need to hold on tight. Taking a wide view, separateness and aloneness are seen as illusory. Perfection arises of itself.

Ultimately, we have only one thing to do. But for now, for this moment, simply be still and see who is here inhabiting this body.