The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

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

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bankei Pulling A Bell Uphill by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Sentient Beings tire easily.
We sometimes begin the uphill battle before we even open our eyes after a night of sleep or no sleep. The mind begins to swirl with thoughts over things like, where am I? How do I feel? What has to happen today? Who must I please? Why must I do that?
Hmmmm, think I'll stick my head back under the covers....

Well, perhaps I'm talking more about adults here...I don't know any children who don't jump out of bed as soon as they open their eyes, the day is there to be opened like a Birthday gift!

We crave caffeine, sugar, drugs, alcohol, rewards, accolades, money, surprises, all A+s on the report card of living. And then we want to wave that report card around like a banner.

We're awfully busy. Being busy is often a form of laziness, it keeps us from our practice of waking up!
It keeps us from our practice of cultivating lovingkindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Being busy keeps us from recognizing what Bankei calls "unconceived buddha mind".
And please note, none of it is capitalized, because Bankei didn't think it was deserving of capitol letters, it is essentially nothing special!

When we look back on this life, we see that when people are born, no one has thoughts of joy, sadness, hatred or bitterness. Are we not in the state of the buddha mind bequeathed by our parents?

People are born with nothing but the unconceived buddha mind, but because of self-importance they want to get their own way, arguing and losing their temper yet claiming it is the stubbornness of others that makes them mad. Getting fixated on what others say, they turn the all-important unique buddha mind into a monster, mulling over useless things, repeating the same thoughts over and over again. They are so foolish they will not give up on things even if getting their own way would in any case prove to be futile. Folly is the cause of animality, so they are inwardly changing the all-important unique buddha mind into a paragon of animality.

Everyone is intelligent, but through lack of understanding they turn the buddha mind into all sorts of things, hungry ghost, monster, animal. Once you've become an animal, even if you hear the truth you won't listen, or even if you do listen, being animal-like, you can't retain what you've heard.

from Teaching of Zen, Bankei

Bankei always tells it like it is.
And like a dharma cheerleader, he encourages us over and over again to have patience and diligence, to use our innate intelligence to see through anger, greed and delusion as it arises.

How do we do that?

Sometimes we stop business in its tracks simply by sitting and doing nothing.
What is there?

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