“…you call it rain, but the human name doesn’t mean shit to a tree.”
-Jefferson Airplane, Eskimo Blue Day
Walking up the canyon today on the La Luz trail I was thinking about how a hike, bike ride, kayak trip, can create an alternate chemistry in my mind. The experience of nature is transformative. (“Nature will kill you!” -Werner Hertzog) It’s always a humbling experience if one looks closely. It seems to stop the erroneous thought processes and it brings me back to a perspective that I sometimes can lose track of.
Dogen wrote, “That the self advances and confirms the ten thousand things is called delusion; that the ten thousand things advance and confirm the self is called enlightenment.”
So often we become so self-analytical, so self-absorbed, such navel-gazing fools, so full of of Zen sickness; completely and mindlessly unaware of being engaged in our conceptual thinking that we fail to see how desperately we are “seeking” (something) while convincing ourselves that we are not seeking anything. The stories our minds tell about ourselves, about what we name and what we feel and see and desire and find repulsive melt away with the approach of a claret cactus flower and the heat driven scent of Spring sage and the trill of a canyon wren in the pristine sky. At that moment mind ceases advancing and “the ten thousand things” advance as tzu-jan, burgeoning forth of themselves, and confirm our being as “enlightened”.
We all crave affirmation in one way or another. From within or from outside ourselves it seems to be common to most humans. We all ask the same questions about meaning in our lives. We all strive in so many self-deceiving guises to find IT. But there is something else, a mercurial thread that reaches us from deep space, from the smallest fractal geometric fleck, from our deep experiences with nature as-it-is, something that is primal, that needs no explanation or reasoning or validation. When we realize that, even for a moment, that is the experience of “the ten thousand things advancing”, confirming.
We all need to be killed by nature. We need our discursive minds silenced, if only for a moment, so that all that seemed so important, so critical, all that ego-bolstering garbage can disappear for a moment and we can be approachable by what is.
This is why we practice zazen. Zazen alone is the practice. Nothing else needed. No need to stack tiles on our heads that will eventually fall off.
Zazen allows the ten thousand things the space to advance;
and that is…
~Deep peace, Issan
In this silent room
Wondering if it matters what I do
Before the sunrise
What I do upon waking
Or if I just
For awakening to wake me
When the ferocity of the melting sun
SCHEDULE June 4-10
MONDAY, 6:30AM, ZAZEN AT TEA HOUSE, SCOTT OPENING
MONDAY, 7PM, DREAM KOAN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM Drag your body to the Zendo, or Join Zoom Meeting
TUESDAY, 6:30AM, ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM, WITH ZENHO. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86265616603?pwd=WHZEQWNDQnZPS1VicDl6VVlEdmxFZz09
WEDNESDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM WITH ZENHO
THURSDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE, DOKUSAN WITH ISSAN SENSEI
FRIDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN & SERVICE WITH ZENHO AT THE TEAHOUSE DOKUSAN WITH ZENHO SENSEI
Zenkai and Service Training is June 23-24. Please prioritize this event. It’s a rare occasion for the sangha to be together. It is important for folks receiving Tokudo to attend this event. Friday 6-8 PM and Saturday 6:30AM-5PM. Dana encouraged.
Deep Peace & Great Love,
Issan & Zenho