By Ignutius – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108268111
“Winter snows fall deep on mountains and melt into the valley in Spring. Again snowing after the Fall, we do not speak of its return.” ?Huineng, the 6th Chinese Patriarch
“The heart essence bursting forth continuously. When thinking good or bad, is the heart essence any more or less? When thinking neither good nor bad, is the heart essence any more or less?” ?Chan Master Farong, collateral heir of Daoxin, the 4th Chinese Patriarch, and First Patriarch of the Oxhead School of Chan.
The clouds today are high and cool. The afternoon light thin. Surely the cusp of Fall Winter.
Two weeks ago, we celebrated a wedding union. This weekend, we are celebrating the Day of the Dead. It is our very heart essence celebrating. Just this is celebrating. Regardless of bursting forth or dying back, of snowing or melting, What is celebrating? Imperceptible AND ever-present. Vivid as a flower-garland-marriage circle, and as pine coffin AND ever-absent. Being ever-present and ever-absent, where is there obstruction? Celebrating together. Impossible without together.
I had a couple of dreams recently, this dream consciousness clearly showing my picking and choosing, my good and bad, my right and wrong.
Dream I’m the most junior member of a big law firm. The firm has been sued for something. All the records of the firm have been subpoenaed and are in big rolls like rolled hay bales. Somehow, the accumulated information has the flavor of the Akashic records. There is some talk about how to transmit the records and I do something with packing tape connecting each information roll with all the others, lots of semi-transparent packing tape. The tape extends above the tops of the rolls, forming a cylindrical space. I pour paint, mostly red, into the cylinders – ends up looking kind of like poor-person’s Indra’s net. The senior members are talking that if we give all this info there will be nothing left of the firm and so they are going to sacrifice the managing partner instead. I suddenly have a realization about the space outside the rolls of data/information, and about my subtle reliance upon “Indra’s Net” and predicting the future from this net.
All this information, records of birthing, records of dying, of right and wrong, of picking and choosing. Trying to turn a pig’s ear into the silk purse of Indra’s Net. This information emerges out of the empty space, the space that accommodates Indra’s Net. That accommodates me and you and the mountains and the oceans. Emerging anew in each moment. When it becomes static, a mere collection of information, it becomes an Indra’s Net of stagnation. A limiting concept, capable of obscuring the heart essence. And I realized the very subtle way that I’ve been wanting dream consciousness to “predict” the future. I will certainly see revealed my current functioning in the dreaming. My hope is that it will also reveal to me my future, and in that revelation, the sting of future uncertainty will be eliminated, or at least softened.
The constant heart essence emerging from emptiness has no guarantees. No hope. No amount of reflecting upon the current interconnections of Indra’s Net will compare to the marvel of each moment bursting forth.
Dream I’m in the Zendo with a woman. She is guiding me. She is pointing out my meditation cushion. Purple corduroy, I’m very proud of the repairs I’ve made by hand on the bursting seams, repairs necessary from many hours of sitting. My sense is that she is upgrading my cushion/area. I’m not sure if it’s wind or flood or both, and my cushion is carried away, replaced with – the vast universe.
These hours of meditating upon a cushion in this Zendo, any Zendo. Wearing out the zafu. My pride, my hopes of merit and success, washed away, blown away in an instant. Revealing……..the vast Universe as real meditation. The Universe meditating. The Universe as me meditating. This vast heart essence complete as is. Giving up hope is complete as is. Giving up hopelessness is complete as is. Sticking in hope or hopelessness is falling into the conceptual web of Indra’s Net. This moth seeking the liberation of the light, caught in an arachnid web of my imagination. Imagining something other than…justthis.
I began this writing with quotes from Master Huineng and Master Farong. In truth, they are not quotes from them. Although it would not surprise if they did in fact say something very similar. Those words are emerging from the heart essence in me. Creative and playful.
We should investigate the lives and teachings of Huineng and Farong. They did not rely upon someone else’s sayings. Creative playfulness emerges from them. And they encourage the same from each of us.
Riding this wave of emptiness, let the creative playful heart essence burst as your very life. Appreciate this very life. Relying upon anyone else’s words is sticking in the poor-person’s Indra’s Net. This life is bursting forth – as you, as me, as the mountains, as the oceans, as the imperceptible presence of absence. Being you. Being me. Being thus. Thus being.
8 Deep Bows,
Issan and Zenho