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 23 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.

People of the Way journey through the world responding to conditions, carefree and without restraint. Like clouds finally raining, like moonlight following the current, like orchids growing in shade, like spring arising in everything, they act without mind, they respond with certainty. Then they must resume their travels and follow the ancestors, walking ahead with steadiness and letting go of themselves with innocence. Killing and giving life, rolling up or unrolling, is your own independent decision.

When we begin to practice, we may experience a time when everything feels awkward. Our past habits no longer fit, but we are still discovering how we want to live. Over time, formal practice can become as familiar as the life before. But this, too, is extra. The people of the Way to whom Hongshi refers are those who have gone beyond the formal and the informal—beyond dependence on shape and form. They are carefree. Like spring arising—the tender buds of spring just appear and meet the rain and the sun equally. When we let go of our ideas of how we should live, we can respond to conditions without restraint, functioning in true independence. Consider today how much you depend on your circumstances. Does your life have to look a certain way? On what do you depend, outside yourself? Be a bit like the spring blossom today.