Friday, February 29, 2008
Dean Sluyter was here on campus yesterday, talking about the movie Jaws and our mindless conditioned propensity to go through life as hungry consumers of all in our path, just like the shark in Jaws.
If you aren't familiar with Dean's work, check out the book, "Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies". (Or deansluyter.com)
Among his many accomplishments, he is also an advanced practitioner of Dzogchen, and our paths met later in the evening for an hour, sitting in meditation with a small group of students, and then talking about the practice.
My practice has roots in the Zen tradition, and our sitting practice is Shikintaza, "just sitting".
Nothing more, nothing less.
We sit not to reach some lofty goal or a blissed out state of mind. There is nothing to acquire, nothing to gain, no thing. We sit because we are already enlightened beings, we are Buddha Nature. We just need to realize it, and sitting Zazen is being in that realization. As we open to the experience of Zazen, we take those spacious moments into the rest of our day, realizing that our enlightenment is simply living, being present to each moment, without judgement or projection.
It was great to sit with Dean, and though Buddhist traditions can be quite different, or at least are promoted as such, last night I understood better that there are no dualities here.
Sitting puts us in the "being" space, no matter what tradition or lineage we identify with in our brief tenure as humans beings.
When, half way through the sit, Dean clapped his hands once to shatter a profound silence, the hair on my head stood on end!
A moment of clarity, a smile, a feeling of deep gratitude for his presence and compassionate offering.
And then back to the moment of nothing, just sitting.