Thursday, October 24, 2013

Drop Off Your Skin, Accept Your Function

Hongzhi says: 

In daytime the sun, at night the moon, each in turn does not blind the other. This is how a patch-robed monk steadily practices, naturally without edges or seams. To gain such steadiness you must completely withdraw from the invisible pounding and weaving of your ingrained ideas. If you want to be rid of this invisible [turmoil], you must just sit through it and let go of everything. Attain fulfillment and illuminate thoroughly, light and shadow altogether forgotten. Drop off your own skin, and the sense-dusts will be fully purified, the eye readily discerning the brightness. Accept your function and be wholly satisfied. In the entire place you are not restricted; the whole time you still mutually respond. Right in light there is darkness; right in the darkness there is light. A solitary boat carries the moon; at night it lodges amid the reed flowers, gently swaying in total brilliance.

~ Cultivating the Empty Field

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Five ways to practice with self-other

Pick the experience of being "the odd one out" (or the experience of being "the one who fits right in"). See if you can rest in this experience for a few breaths, for a few moments, for a few minutes. Use the breathing body as an anchor to help you remain centered and grounded as the experience unfolds.

See how the experience is a actually a bundle of intertwined sensations, feelings, thoughts, impulses, and behaviors, coming and going, appearing and disappearing, ever changing. See how sensations and feelings and stories and impulses arise together, triggering and depending on and supporting each other. This is the nature of what we call "an experience."

Now rest in the experience and recognize its nature at the same time. Rest in the recognizing.

Consider the possibility that the experiences of "odd man out" and "fits right in" are common human experiences -- maybe even universal. Acknowledge the struggle and suffering that come out of these two experiences for you, for others, for groups, for humans as a whole. Open to our common struggle and suffering, gradually forming the intention not to act out or exacerbate these human tendencies. Consider the possibility that your willing tolerance of these difficult experiences, and your capacity to see the true nature of them, might actually save others a little trouble.

As you build the capacities to do these practices, try deliberately adopting the role of "odd one out" or "fits right in" for an hour or a day. Just adopt the view that this is who you are. Without anyone else even noticing, go through your day being in that role. Don't act it out. Adopt the persona to see how it colors your perception of the world. Do this as a secret practice to sharpen your insight and test your capacity to transform your experience of yourself, of others, and of the world.

Dedicate your effort and any benefits to the freedom, peace, and happiness of all living beings.