The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sitting Zazen in Solitude, with Everyone Else

     Sometimes when I sit Zazen, it seems as if others are sitting with me.  Sometimes, when I raise my hands in Gassho, others are performing the very same gesture.  Sometimes, after I am finished sitting, and I remove my mala, my hands are someone else's hands.  I look at them, and yes, of course I know they are my hands, but they belong to everyone.
     I see my Sensei's hands.  They are purposeful, yet infinitely kind.
     In Gassho, I see my Dharma Brother's hands.  They are earnest.
     And sitting with me?  Sometimes it feels like the whole Sangha is there.  Other times, my father and my uncle, both deceased.   In their own lives, they both sat Zazen.  They sit with me now.  
     4 days before Hanamatsuri, we meditated in Yoga Class.  After an hour of intense asanas and prajnayama, it was a relief to just sit.  But I was feeling tense anyway, in anticipation of my ordination.  Sitting with my eyes closed, I had the distinct impression that my teacher had come to sit beside me, to the left of me.  I felt her there, focusing on finding a space where I could accommodate her support, to carry with me when I left the studio, to carry  into Hanamatsuri like a flag.   I actually opened one eye, but there she was, across the room. Somehow, she was in both places. 
     I became aware of her intention to support me, to offer a presence.  
     It was actually quite overwhelming.  The tears began to fall, I felt such gratitude.
     Before you think I've gone around the bend, I want to ask that you consider the possibility that we can move our energy anywhere we direct it, at any time.   I'm considering that possibility.
     Whether we can or not isn't the point of my journal entry.  The point is that our energy is intrinsically bound with everyone and everything else's, so that we can experience the universal in the personal, the boundless in the particular.  It's what enables me to light incense and know that this small gesture is being physically repeated at this very moment in countless places.  Not only am I connected physically this way, but the energy of intention  also connects us.  These are like bridges of intention.  
     Who is crossing over?
     And where are they headed?

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