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 little later. This was the May 7 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-revWe all have the clear, wondrously bright field from the beginning. Many lifetimes of misunderstanding come only from distrust, hindrance, and screens of confusion that we create in a scenario of isolation. With boundless wisdom journey beyond this, forgetting accomplishments. Having turned yourself around, accept your situation. Straightforwardly abandon stratagems and take on responsibility. Contact phenomena with total sincerity, not a single atom of dust outside yourself.

If we all have this clear bright field of illumination from the beginning – and more to the point, right now – then why does our vision feel so obscured? In answer, Hongzhi points to our “scenario of isolation”. We can think of this as a story or perhaps a screenplay in which we create the myth of our individual separated existence. We write it and we believe it, and this inevitably grows our distrust, defensiveness, sense of obstacles between now and what we want, and the white-out of confusion.

Can we do anything about this? Right now we can see and question this scenario of isolation we created. We can look right at it even as we’re creating it. We can begin to loosen our attachments to our accomplishments (as well as our mistakes) and accept where we are without pride, without judgment. Slowly, we give up acting out of tight control and self-interest, and instead respond directly to what’s in front of us — what is ours to do. Hongzhi instructs us to meet the world as it is, imposing nothing of self on it. That is total sincerity. Every thought and action that stems from our self-created scenario of isolation ultimately obstructs us on this spiritual path. Check this out for yourself. Is it true to you?