Seven Points of PracticeTo live for God is to live in the open. The cloisters of a day gone by were ways of protection for a mind still separating the inner life from outer life. Solitude now must be found in the middle of one's life along the wandering footprint between mendicancy and madness. For the world is mad when it scapels itself in two, labels one half an enemy cancer, and tries to sew the projected errant half onto a judgment to be enshrined in defamy and hung as ideology alongside bathroom mirror for daily confirmation.
1. Study and practice the buddhadharma only for the sake of the buddhadharma, not for the sake of emotions or worldly ideas
2. Zazen is our truest and most venerable teacher
3. Zazen must work concretely in our daily lives as the two practices (vows and repentance), the three minds (magnaminous mind, nurturing mind, and joyful mind), and as the realization of the saying “Gaining is delusion, losing is enlightenment.”
4. Live by vow and root it deeply.
5. Realizing that development and backsliding are your responsibility alone, endeavor to practice and develop.
6. Sit silently for 10 years, then for ten years more, and then for another ten years.
7. Cooperate with one another, and aim to create a place where sincere practitioners can practice without trouble.
- Uchiyama Roshi (1975)
The vast lands of monasteries were an external attempt to define depth of soul with expanse of enclosure. No longer. Dualisms diminish. Our new need is as was the old one -- to explore the inner expanse as no other than ("not") anything the mind presents. What is, seen, is what is not -- that is, "no other than."
Not me. Not you. Not God. Not truth. Not love.
Our goal is to enquire, explore, experience and embrace all that is as no other than what it is as it is in itself.
God is absolute solitude in the midst of daily life. Collectedness and fusion -- not from any without, but the breakdown return to the unified whole from which there has never been a departure in fact, only in belief.
And humor. Dedication to holiness is not the same as preservation of sacred ground set off from the crowded byways of ordinary commerce. Our holy ground is under our feet. Let's look there. As you stand humbly and gratefully in your own footprint of no other, everything is invited to stand on their own.
From now on one's feet. Look under your feet!
Jesus told Peter he was right. (Peter, of course, that Mulla Nasruddin of the Christian scriptures, always has it right by flaw, unknowing, askew interpretation, and favored love.) In the reading for this sabbath: Yes, as Peter responded to Jesus' question, "You are the Christ!" The Christ is the son and daughter of the living God. Tell no one he or she is the Christ. Given our habits, we'd try to make ourselves very special, make others not as good, then conclude they are dispensable, not worth the ink we've written them off with in our mind.
- "When I was in the desert," said Nasruddin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty bedouins to run." "However did you do it?" "Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me."
- A certain conqueror said to Nasruddin: "Mulla, all the great rulers of the past had honorific titles with the name of God in them: there was, for instance, God-Gifted, and God-Accepted, and so on. How about some such name for me?" "God Forbid," said Nasruddin.
- "May the Will of Allah be done," a pious man was saying about something or the other. "It always is, in any case," said Mullah Nasruddin. "How can you prove that, Mullah?" asked the man. "Quite simply. If it wasn't always being done, then surely at some time or another my will would be done, wouldn't it?"
Perhaps we have to not-know our place. To "no other than" our place. (Maybe "don't know" is shorthand for "do no t'other know.") I've long felt my existence to be as an exile in the land of not-knowing. Every word heard from the land of othering -- the contemporary world of "know othering" --is a stinging bite on this body of no-other.
Let each come to their own understanding of their true nature. The truth and power of the Dharma will prevail. The grace and inspiration of the Spirit of advocacy for one another will root and transform us.
We must pray for one another. We are unique. Not better than, nor worse than. Just unique.
Unique. And one.