The Universe is as the boundless sky,
As Lotus blossoms above unclean water,
Pure and beyond the world, is
The Buddha Nature of the trainee.
Oh, Holy Buddha we take refuge in Thee.
The above is a version of the Meal-ending verse that I learned through the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, the organization that I’ve been training with for about thirty years and as a member of since ’97. We practice Soto Zen (Serene Reflection Meditation), in the lineage of Dogen and Keizan. I like to think I’m a reasonably good trainee in that I seem to persist in the practice and generally have the Teachings inform my everyday life. Except for those times that I make the decision to take the karmic hit (consequences), when I deliberately stray from the 16 Precepts which I formally took in ’92. Or, just go SPLAT, and then see that there will be consequences.
So, life has been very good for me because I have a basket into which I can put my “troubles” and then do the sometimes very hard work of just abiding within the conditions of my life, and try my best to view everything as a teaching for my own good. Reverend Master Jisho Perry has a line from the teachings that he offers in some of his Dharma talks. Most people just know the first two lines, which are true; but it’s the last two that make it Truer.
“Sometimes I raise the eyebrows of Shakyamuni (the Buddha),
and sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes it is good to do,
and sometimes it isn’t.”
Which, among other things; can mean that it is always good to act like a Buddha, but sometimes, because of that moment’s conditions and elements, we should look twice or more deeply at what is really being called for in the given situation.
Spontaneity is not all that it is cracked up to be. Neither is intuition. Especially where the Self nudges its way into the picture.
This morning as I was finishing a well prepared, simple and late breakfast and reading a bit from Andre Iguodala’s recently published “Sixth Man”, a book about his life as an NBA player; I was having one of those “little moments” where it was not a matter that I liked how I felt about my conditions, and the life I’ve lived; but merely that everything as constituted right now, is perfect and cannot ever be any other way.
I am usually the interjection into this perfection. And, that too is O.K. …Here’s what popped out of my mouth, as best as I can remember, ’cause I said it so quick.
In a torrent. Torrent’s are good at times.
Thank you for the food, its spices and butter and skillet and jam; this plate this spoon this chair this cup my life my worry my doubt and joy and this table and chair and back and feet, all this and my life and friends and all that is given too This. Oh, holy Buddha I take refuge in thee.
Tomorrow, probably some snivel or doubt or worry or some thing. No problem, I’ve been there; and I’ve been Here.
Wise words, and peaceful. I’m not (yet!) as self-reflective, or as articulate (ever) but it gives me something to aspire to. Days of peace are so rare and precious.