“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on
You can’t go back and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will“
Congratulations to Sokukai & Ryūdo, turning the dharma wheel!
I was thinking about what it means to practice this Way. There are so many teachers and teachings, so many schools of Buddhist practice and ideas about what to study, how to study and what the interpretation of the teachings might mean.
Without a doubt, it is beneficial to read and study Buddhist thought and look into the myriad opinions and teachings of awakened masters in various traditions of Buddhism.
There is something that seems most important to me. Like many who come to the dharma, my initial practice was sparked by a desire to become a more peaceful, kinder, mindful person, to understand how to fix the discomfort of living, to unlock the deeper mysteries of what it means to be in this world, and to somehow find a Way to have it all make sense. I quickly learned that as the more I studied, the more I practiced there arose a much bigger question than I had imagined at the outset. As time went on my questions and intent to practice changed. As I began to open-up the experiences I was having, as the teachings from Roshi and from study began to ferment, I began to understand that my initial goal oriented outlook was wrong view. The harder I tried, the further away I felt from the answers I sought. More than once I felt it to be futile. I felt like I wanted to quit. Once I did quit out of hubris. I missed my friends and the zazen experience so much. Zenho held up the mirror of steadfast unconditional love and I began to realize what I was doing more clearly. I’d seen the revolving door spin frequently at the zendo and gradually recommitted my efforts to return to my path. I did not want to run from the challenge-of-being-challenged. I was being asked to go deeply into the question by my teachers and the teachings. It didn’t feel comfortable or easy a lot of the time.
And the question did change, the question became; What is it to Be?
Like a koan, the more effort I exerted, the more trapped I became. But I felt that it was the correct question. It felt real. At one point Jokai gave me koan: “I don’t expect anything anymore, I just come and sit.” It seemed like a waste of time. If there’s nothing to expect then there’s no possible progress. And finally it dawned on me that Jokai is correct in his view; actually there is nothing to expect. What it is, is just this. Just to Be. But how?
Feeling. I began to feel the texture of my life as I allowed this teaching on no-expectation to sink into my living, which is my practice. No separation. I became aware of feeling the softness and openness, the feeling of scraping and bumping-up, the feeling of claustrophobia, the feeling of ease and comfort, the feeling of naturalness in being at home in my skin and the feeling of irritation of the same. The experience grew from a realization that the feelings that arise in me are the primary experience of the dharma, the Being. These feelings are the actual experience of what it is to Be before the ego-mind builds “the story of Me” about the feeling.
I’m probably not more mindful, more peaceful, kinder or more comfortable. That goal seems like doesn’t matter so much. It’s so much more numinous to get what the feeling brings than it is to understand the thought about it. That is what “Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Road” really means.
I am awake to the being of feeling.
And I know it.
SCHEDULE MARCH 26- APRIL 1
MONDAY, 6:30AM, ZAZEN AT TEA HOUSE, DAVID KEKANSAN 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
Join Zoom Meeting
THURSDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE WITH ISSAN
DOKUSAN WITH ISSAN SENSEI
FRIDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN & SERVICE WITH ZENHO AT THE TEAHOUSE DOKUSAN WITH ZENHO SENSEI
Deep Peace & Great Love,
Issan & Zenho