Saturday, July 27, 2013

Guidepost of Silent Illumination

Silent and serene, forgetting words, bright clarity appears before you.

Before- beyond thinking
casting off all involvements
dropping self and others,
the enlightened universe reveals itself.

When you reflect it you become vast, where you embody it you are spiritually uplifted.

No need to do anything,
reflection-action arises
Up and forward
in the four directions
and three times

Spiritually solitary and shining, inner illumination restores wonder,

The Backward step
the open itself
the treasure house
shines forth

Dew in the moonlight, a river of stars, snow-covered pines, clouds enveloping the peak.

Intimate merging of all things
beyond the conventional
and the expected,
Mountain cloaked in thoughts
all things rest
in their original state

In darkness it is most bright, while hidden all the more manifest.

In darkness it shines
Breaking from the dual and non dual
Nothing could trap
Or catch it

The crane dreams in the wintery mists. The autumn waters flow far in the distance.

The dance of emptiness and form,
arising and fading
As-it-isness is then a field
In which space knows itself

Endless kalpas are totally empty, all things completely the same.

Timeless, neither one nor two
Gulp it and spit it out
Where cannot you see it?

When wonder exists in serenity, all achievement is forgotten in illumination.

True illumination has no concept
No color no skin
Awakening no move or traces
Wide and broad circle
It conceals

What is this wonder? Alertly seeing through confusion
Is the way of silent illumination and the origin of subtle radiance.

To awake to the dream
Seeing through one's delusion
Even this shimmering veil of thoughts
Turns into

Vision penetrating into subtle radiance is weaving gold on a jade loom.

Eye in eye
Eye weaving this very life- fabric
Radiance into radiance
The impossible is made ordinary
The distant intimate

Upright and inclined yield to each other; light and dark are interdependent.

One cannot pick up a corner of this universe
Without lifting the whole thing
Majesty in modesty
Pair of opposites dancing

Not depending on sense faculty and object, at the right time they interact.

The action is self triggered
Perception, perceived and dance
You cannot manufacture it
In the here- beyond

Drink the medicine of good views. Beat the poison-smeared drum.

Even if virtue is the spontaneous
Naturally found,
Discipline this bag of skin
You cannot do any harm
As you enter

When they interact, killing and giving life are up to you.

Life and death
Not separated
Yet you are here the one
That do or undo

Through the gate the self emerges and the branches bear fruit.

The gateteless gate of here-now-this
Is but you
You are
Path, goal and traveller
In here
Fruits in bloom, flowers sweet

Only silence is the supreme speech, only illumination the universal response.

Words arise there and lead to this
Round moon
Full moon

Responding without falling into achievement, speaking without involving listeners,

Traps, nets and snares
Won't catch it
Undoing is the work
Releasing your students the task

The ten thousand forms majestically glisten and expound the dharma.

Not a single thing excluded
All belong
Your teacher is the very moment
The very situation
In which you let everything down
And give yourself away

All objects certify it, every one in dialogue.

Nothing to add or take away

Dialoguing and certifying, they respond appropriately to each other;

As you stop interfering, being in the way,
As you stop controlling
As you give up any hope
It speaks

But if illumination neglects serenity then aggressiveness appears.
Certifying and dialoguing, they respond to each other appropriately;
But if serenity neglects illumination, murkiness leads to wasted dharma.

Wisdom and compassion in intimate embrace
Not drunk with emptiness
Not mesmerized by brightness

When silent illumination is fulfilled, the lotus blossoms, the dreamer awakens,
A hundred streams flow into the ocean, a thousand ranges face the highest peak.

Dreaming within a dream
Is but to awake
From a single moment in space and time
The whole expanse and entire universe
Move forward

Like geese preferring milk, like bees gathering nectar,
When silent illumination reaches the ultimate, I offer my teaching.

Just follow the universal law
These  words and my dharma
Don t even belong to me

The teaching of silent illumination penetrates from the highest down to the foundation.

It knows no bound
Doesn' t give birth to a territory
Beggar and king
Always had
A single face

The body being shunyata, the arms in mudra;

Your own body-mind sitting
Mountain in space
Form and formless
As clouds go by

From beginning to end the changing appearances and ten thousand differences share one pattern.

The one in the many
The many returning to the one

Mr. Ho offered jade [to the Emperor; Minister] Xiangru pointed to its flaws.
Facing changes has its principles, the great function is without striving.
The ruler stays in the kingdom, the general goes beyond the frontiers.
Our school's affair hits the mark straight and true.
Transmit it to all directions without desiring to gain credit.

A single intention, and you loose your way
Don't turn the Buddha's teaching into a making
Easy, easy and open
Without merit, and in not knowing
Just sit

from "Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi", translated by Taigen Dan Leighton.

This and that

The voice of the teacher sounds harsh sometimes, soft at other times, don t be attached to the voice. Don t be attached to the teacher. Don t be attached to your ears. Don t make a fuss with what s between your ears. Thoughts never stop. Thoughts are not a problem. Don t be attached to your thoughts of understanding or not understanding. Don t worry. In that state, stop. Be still water reflecting thoughts, flames, anger, roles, masks... Be the full body of reflection without judging this and that, yourself or others. Ditch judgements because they break one into two and two into one. They are utter nonsense. In reality we are deluded AND Buddha, at the same time. No need to choose. Farts are radiant and smelly, Buddha are made out of light and mud. When one sees that there isn t anything to escape from or pick up, it is a very liberating.
Absolute and relative dance and collapse-bloom in each other.

The robe is Tataghata s body and a few inches of fabric. You cannot see one without the other.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to sit, July 2013

Inspired by the teaching of Dogen, the wonderful stuff of my own original teacher, Mike Chodo Cross, by the great prose of Koun Franz, the teaching of Jundo and plenty of guys who all along did put into words how to sit, I made an attempt at putting it in a nutshell. Here it is. I hope this will really help.




The gate of ease and joy is found everywhere, it is truly the gate-less gate as you are it and not separated from Buddhas of the three times. Here, mundane and sacred have no more relevance. Here, radiance springs out of forms and space. Meeting the true person within this is our great task and joy. The self fulfillment Samadhi. The Samadhi in which one receives and uses the self. Truly know yourself. Forget yourself. Let all Dharmas, let the myriad things come forth, illuminate and reflect.

Please, sit.

In this, Do not choose a place. Sit anywhere. Sit everywhere. In cities, trains, streets, whatever you'll see around you, true mountains can be found. Wear the Okesa , the patched robe made of the body of all things, the true kesa covers everything , this robe is not your robe or just plain fabric, it is but the robe of sitting, the skin, flesh bones and marrow of all Tathagatas. 

As you sit in loose clothing and kesa on the cushion in lotus, half lotus, burmese or on a bench or a chair, and if you cannot, lie down legs slightly apart folded knees pointing to the ceiling; abdomen relaxed, hips open, shoulders forgotten, involvements cast aside, the weight of your body given to the ground through the sitting bones and knees, your spine sway from left to right and right to left and gradually come to the vertical point without leaning forward or backward. Effortlessly risen up, lower back naturally curved, your head gently sits at the top of your spine, tongue touching the roof of your mouth, jaws relaxed, teeth touching, neck free, the gaze down not fixing anything, not out of focus, just as if watching distant mountains. Your hands in the universal mudra placed below the navel, left hand on top of the right hand or right hand on top of the left, palms up, thumbs delicately touching each other without any pressure. Your hands should be soft and as they touch your lower abdomen. To rest your mind in the mudra means to let the mudra do you, form you, forget you. No special attention is given to the breath, breathe in and out naturally, neither pushing nor forcing. Light and going up, body- mind unfolds in space, space blooms in body- mind. Once the mudra with body-mind manifested, from dust to star, the whole reality is enlightened.

The secret of the Buddha-mind seal is open, just here and now before your very eyes. Don't do anything, be beyond fabrication. Drop all agendas, ideas of being somebody else or achieving something. In this, traveller, path and destination are neither one nor two. As you sit, cultivate the will to go up yet don't do it. In not doing, the natural response to gravity takes place. An inch of doing, and earth and blue sky are set apart, a fraction of making, and you have already left home. Just be caught by the still state. Simply be at home in the homeless state .

No traces to be found, as wild ducks flying off the river, snow falling on snow. This has no particular flavor, the music no specific sound, riding the ox and blowing an empty flute, all things at rest and yet so alive.Fish swims, birds fly, and in doing so, their return to the original and normal conditions.Ploughing clouds, crossing the expanse of the sky, be at ease. Things and thoughts playfully manifest and dissolve. Don't worry. The dynamic transient body of reality is but the very body of all Buddhas . Don't be attached to this or that. No need to linger in the realm of pair of opposites. No need to pick up and choose. Easy, easy going and doing.

Don't sit Buddha, just allow Buddha to sit you. Like the roundness and fullness of the moon, your original face appears naturally, spontaneously, automatically, free and uncontrived. It is not for you to see, it is for you to be.

In there, endless delusions will appear and disappear. Dreams and shadows will arise, let them come and go. Even these thoughts are the very stuff the original ground is made of. In the mountain state, how could the big sky obstruct clouds roaming and drifting? How could a cloud hide the vast blue body? Blue sky or clouds, same origin. Just be awake to the scenery of the body- mind and as you drift away, just come back, here and now. And come back again. You may put your mind in the palm of your left hand, be aware of the vertical spine, being awake to sounds without following them; ultimately there is nothing to do and nobody to do anything. Let not knowing manifest.

This sitting is without object or intention. Just the clear, non judgmental, panoramic attention to what arises here and now. Don't be attached to your thoughts of understanding or not understanding, of being right or wrong, break free from the realm of desires intentions , be still, be the full body of reflection without judging self or others. To sit like this is to live and thoroughly experience the great question, to fully pierce it and penetrate it.

Don t think that shikantaza is only realized and met on the cushion. As you get up, take this with you, go empty handed, living to the full, day in day out, the wonderful ordinary.Dream within a dream, wake up. This life-death is worth living.Here and now, absolute and relative dance and collapse-bloom in each other. Time flies and you have never been so close to the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.

Be it.