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 29 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.

In the great rest and great halting the lips become moldy and mountains of grass grow on your tongue. Moving straight ahead [beyond this state], totally let go, washed clean and ground to a fine polish. Respond with brilliant light to such unfathomable depths as the waters of autumn or the moon stamped in the sky. Then you must know there is a path on which to turn yourself around. When you do turn yourself around you have no different face that can be recognized. Even if you do not recognize [your face] still nothing can hide it. This is penetrating from the topmost all the way down to the bottom. When you have thoroughly investigated your roots back to their ultimate source, a thousand or ten thousand sages are no more than footprints on the trail. In wonder return to the journey, avail yourself of the path and walk ahead. In light there is darkness; where it operates no traces remain. With the hundred grass tips in the busy marketplace graciously share yourself. Wide open and accessible, walking along, casually mount the sounds and straddle the colors while you transcend listening and surpass watching. Perfectly unifying in this manner is simply a patch-robed monk’s appropriate activity.

We are creatures born of causes and conditions. Arising and falling, each thing has its time of being. Deep practice, deep realization is one state and has its own time of being. It is transformative. When encountering such stillness, Hongzhi reminds us that we’re not done yet. Seeing clearly, we’re no different than before; yet, something has changed. It is not a visible change, but it is recognizable nonetheless. It manifests in how we meet the world, how we navigate the causes and conditions of our ever-changing experience. With no separation of self or other, we can embody what we hold as most true and meet each moment, each person, with our authenticity and care. What a gift it is, to move freely and with ease!