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 13 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.
A patch-robed monk’s authentic task is to practice the essence, in each minute event carefully discerning the shining source, radiant without discrimination, one color unstained. You must keep turning inward, then [the source] is apprehended. This is called being able to do the family business… Observing beyond your skull, the core finally can be fulfilled and you can emerge from the transitory. The reeds blossom under the bright moon; the ancient ferryboat begins its passage; the jade thread fits into the golden needle. Then the opportunity arises to turn around, enter the world, and respond to conditions. All the dusts are entirely yours; all the dharmas are not someone else’s. Follow the current and paddle along, naturally unobstructed!
Both “turning inward” and “observing beyond your skull” point in the same direction – towards your actual experience. Whatever it is. Right now you have kinesthetic awareness of posture, sensations of breath, an intention to read this daily dharma, visual stimuli of words on a screen, a sensation of liking or disliking, and probably some cognitive and emotional interpretation happening. Any of that is a perfect springboard to practice the essence – to see through to the shining layer underneath. We really just have to look through something to have a moment of seeing. We tend to imagine that we have to have the right thing to look at, the right circumstance, the right mindstate. But that’s a hungry ghost talking, pushing away the feast. It’s actually entirely yours, so accept the offering of this moment and allow yourself to be carried by this ferryboat.