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Smile at the Buddha in Us

From Chapter 13 ("The Taste of Zen") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

What do we do in our zazen? We cut down the forest of our delusions and cultivate the fields of our true nature. Sitting quietly, we are cutting off, digging, cultivating the Buddha fields. This Buddha-dharma is deeply rooted in our ordinary, everyday activities; lofty discussions miss the mark. In this practice, we engage in our life work completely and fully, reaching our essential being and then expressing it, wherever we are. We can never come to a standstill on this path. We are always moving on, letting ourselves be moved on by the Buddha-dharma.

So how is the Buddha-dharma in Syracuse today? What is our practice right here, right now? It is always different. It is living. Moving. Changing. Always open. No static condition. Simple. Straightforward. Naturally harmonious. And it is a feeling of deep friendliness. This is the Buddha-dharma today in Syracuse in this room: a deep, wonderful connection with one another. We don't need to say a word, but we feel it. We do not need to smile at one another; we feel one another's bodies smiling at one another. But to smile at the Buddha in us, in each other, is not a bad idea. When you are sitting, every so often, smile at the Buddha in us. We do not need to be grim. This is a joyful practice. Coming through pain, coming through weariness, we experience wonderful joy.

These simple, quiet activities—just sitting, just walking, just eating, just cleaning—are helping us to find a vital way of living, a way to face things fearlessly, directly from our essential being. Today, we are looking at everything as if for the first time. We take no fixed positions; we let our opinions fall away. There is no inner voice insisting, "This is the way I have to do it." We are willing to find a new way to do it, a new way to look at it, a new way to open up. This is beginner's mind. We are giving ourselves entirely to each moment, just as we are, rooted on our cushions, rooted in the earth. Sitting on our cushions by our own effort, we feel the wonderful support and encouragement of all others present. What an extraordinary practice we have together: "self" and "other" not separate. In-breath. Out-breath. Receiving. Giving. Just this.

^z - 2017-05-29