The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finally Some Snow

Finally a little snow. If it's going to be winter, there may as well be a bit of snow.
I woke at 1:30 a.m. and got up to check the skies, nothing coming down, but by 3:00, I could tell the snow was coming down, because the room was pale and brightened with reflected light.
It's still exciting to get out of bed and go to the window in the middle of the night, no matter what it is I may be looking for--no adult to tell the child to get back into bed!
Last night there were about 11 or 12 of us meditating together after our Christmas hiatus. Without the students here on campus, I expected only a few meditators, so this was a surprise.
I waited downstairs for any stragglers, since the door locks behind anyone coming in, and listening to the rise and fall of happy voices in the room above me was intensely satisfying. I was filled with joy at the sounds of greeting and laughter, and lingered downstairs past our usual starting time, just to listen.
It is something completely unexpected to feel the surge of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity at such moments, but there it is, like a lamp burning brightly and endlessly!
And then to climb the stairs and find neatly paired shoes or those that have been kicked away quickly, jackets, hats and gloves laid haphazardly, some folded neatly; just a simple shedding as we prepare for the deeper stillness and release of a sit.
Conversation in full force, it takes a few moments for our words to slow down and dissipate, and I can feel the moments extending into quietude, a little rustling as bodies settle, and then all eyes are on me.

What a moment of grace!
What can I possibly offer that might enable us all to begin to unwind the tangles of the lives we lead? What if I am wrong? What if I'm full of shit? What if I cause harm? Does anyone care, really?
I am wrong sometimes. And yeah, I know I'm full of shit every now and again. And as for causing harm, the simple fact of my interactions with those around me sometimes causes unintentional harm--but for all of this, we begin again and focus on the Vow of the Bodhisattva.

In my practice, meditation is always the place to begin to put things right, over and over again and perhaps this is all I have to offer. The sound of the bell beginning our shikintaza, the upright spines and hands in full moon mudra, the moments of coming back to the breath without judgement, without self critique, 20 silent minutes, until the bell sounds two strikes.

Last night I read a passage from Dogen Zenji, and felt such intense gratitude for his words, for his journey and his Bodhi-mind! If I sometimes wonder what my practice is, the time line of Dogen's existence, a life so completely lived and shared, is enough to stir the embers to flame.
In my own second hand way, I offer Dogen Zenji's words, so that those who have come to sit might perceive the dharma in its clearest, most accesable form, with the clarity of a diamond. They hear the lion roar and experience the immutable truth of his wisdom, because in our sitting, we embody the truest action of his enlightenment!
When I tell them this, when I remind myself, I feel as if I have sprung from a diving board into the midst of the shunyata, into the midst of revolution!
And it is a vast, mysterious place....

No comments: