Zazen is a way I would offer to open to relationality and to open to spaciousness in a full life.
The combination of precepts and community practice allows us to take refuge in a new relational orientation to the world, to others, to the Earth. And it entails of course vulnerability, literally opening the heart to something mysterious, to another person who I can’t completely know, to a context where I can only see my own perspective.
A Bodhisattva knows that going into every situation is walking into a completely different world. And in that completely different world we have to have stillness of mind and presence to receive that world fully, so that we can then respond to that world. But we can’t respond to that world until we build the capacity to receive that world.
If all your doing is imitating the form again and again, you’re going to receive benefit. But if you don’t inhabit the form, and the form is not infused into your entire being; if you don’t bring it into your life — the life you’re living outside of the look of your form– then there is a big disconnect, like a bridge has not been built from practice in a space that is made for practice and then living life. The purpose is to live life, to freely live your life as your fully realized authentic being.
We vow to uphold these precepts, to live by these precepts. Then we fall away, we fall into hell. But we come back. The vow is vast enough to include this experience. And when we can open up even in the moments when we fall into hell, and meet our pain even for a moment. We can actually trust that. And the felt distance between these impossible Bodhisattva vows and our lives, that distance gets shorter as trust flowers. And we are actually with life, we are always with life.
If we do not collectively find clarity and courage to act, there will be large scale catastrophe if not extinction. So the paradox is there is a sense of urgency, but we can not act if we are always in fight, flight, and freeze. So it is like hold on to each other, let’s face this difficult fact together, and come to some calm and important decisions.
The presentation by Kritee Kanko can be found here.
The whole process must return to the source. Just like a baby taking to it’s mother. Just how natural that is that we all have a mother. How natural that is that we come from our ancestors. How natural that is that things sprout from roots into leaves. We can take refuge in the roots, we can take refuge in the source. We can take refuge in that moment, in that place. Underneath us where the ground has been churning before these phenomenon’s spring up into our individual consciousness, our awareness. We can take refuge in that silence.
How do we cultivate a present, an awake, and flexible mind? Because that’s the response. It’s not to come with some other persona to the world that is different, or opposite then the one we had before. But to drop the one we had before, and allow for nothing to be there. Allow for there just to be a body hearing. Not a body that is speaking who it is, but a body that is listening.
Zen’s focus on posture is very helpful and very wise. Because it is getting to something we don’t know how to get to on our own. Until we sit down and take a shape we are not accustomed to, we will always take the shapes we are accustomed to. And as long as we take the shapes we are accustomed to, we will never see them. And so we have to take a different shape. Our ancestors and teachers are asking us to take a different shape. And in taking a different shape we see personas, we see mental postures.