Sunday, August 19, 2007

One-day sitting at Ordinary Mind

Today Ordinary Mind offered a one-day sitting. We began with the regular Sunday morning program of two zazen periods with walking meditation between, and then engaged in a group inquiry around the topic of generosity. In our group inquiry, a topic is given, and we sit in mindfulness together for a while, exploring the relationship of the topic to our practice. We sit in silence in a circle until the first person is ready to speak. Each person in turn speaks about this topic while the rest of the group listens with compassionate attention. In this way we learn from each other and also about each other, deepening our connections in the sangha. Finally, Peg draws some of the common threads together in a few summarizing remarks and then there is general discussion about the topic.

The folks who were staying for the day had a tea break before returning to zazen. There was a short work period, followed by lunch and a break. After the break we returned to the zendo for zazen. Peg read the poem “Lost,” by David Wagoner during this sitting period. Then Peg gave a dharma talk on Bodhisattva’s Vow, a poem by Torei Zenji, a Japanese Zen master who lived from 1621 to 1692, and who was dharma heir of Hakuin Ekaku. We read this beautiful poem together, and then discussed its meaning in our practice. Here is the poem, in the version from Joko’s group:

Bodhisattva’s Vow

When I, a student of the Way
look at the real form of the universe,
all is the never-failing manifestation
of the mysterious truth of the Awakened Life.

In any event, in any moment, and in any place,
None can be other than the marvelous revelation
of its glorious light.

This realization made our ancestors and teachers
extend tender care, with respectful hearts
even to such beings as birds and beasts.

This realization teaches us
that our daily food, drink, clothes,
and protections of life
are the warm flesh and blood,
the merciful incarnation of the Awakened One.
Who can be ungrateful or not respectful
even to senseless things,
not to speak of humans?
Even though they may be fools,
be warm and compassionate toward them.
If by any chance they should turn against us,
become sworn enemies and persecute us,
we should sincerely bow down with humble language
in the reverent understanding
that they are the merciful messengers of the Awakened One,
who use devices to emancipate us from blind tendencies,
produced and accumulated upon ourselves
by our own egoistic delusion and attachment
through countless cycles of space and time.

Then on each moment’s flash of our thought
there will grow a lotus flower
and on each lotus flower will be revealed Perfection,
unceasingly manifest as our life,
just as it is,
right here and right now.

May we extend this mind to all beings
so that we and the world together
may attain maturity in the wisdom of the Awakened Life.


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