We’ve been in a long monastic retreat during this pandemic. Time has slowed. We are opening up gradually now to the world, as more people are vaccinated. We realize we are not going back to anything. The time is changing. We’re all stepping off into the mysterious. Musician: Jordan McConnell. PZI Zen Online: Sunday talk as recorded May 23, 2021.
We’ve been in a long monastic retreat during this pandemic. Time has slowed. We are opening up gradually now to the world, as more people are vaccinated. We realize we are not going back to anything. The time is changing. We’re all stepping off into the mysterious. It is an initiatory moment.
How can we have peace and joy in our hearts as we re-enter the world?
What’s on our side, is the mysterious. If you try to do anything, to improve “You,” you will find yourself living in a very small box. Yet we can enter there, wherever the mind clutches. It’s a gateway—we enter there and then we’re free again. The universe enters us! A koan enters you, and your heart makes sense of it without your involvement. Not doing anything, the universe will provide for you, will come to meet you. No walls in the mind, the Heart Sutra says.
A good koan is the whole of a life really, you can’t make it do anything, but it gives you your life. What is your life? The mystery of it is endless and it gives endlessly. There are connections we are part of that follow us through time; “They dwell in us waiting for fulfillment.” (Poet Milosz)
What is the universe? This heart-mind that we’re all in.
A student asked Ta Lung, “What is the mysterious?”
He answered, “The breeze brings the water’s voice close to my pillow.
The moon carries the mountain’s shadow near my bed.”
Ta Lung (his name means Heavenly Dragon) had a feeling for the dreamy quality within us.
Another koan from Ta Lung (or Dalong):
“What is the everlasting body of reality?”
The mountain flowers bloom like brocade. The valley streams run deepest indigo.”
An awakening experience comes for a student when a teacher says, “Well, I’ll give you the medicine used for a dead horse—make your mind a pile of ashes, the stump of a dead tree.”
When we stop doing things with the mind the mysterious can enter. That is something we can rely on. It’s on our side. There is nothing to achieve when you rest in the mysterious. What is the mysterious? Ta Lung‘s friends: the stream, mountain, shadow and breeze. Ta Lung says it’s here with us. “On the tips of the grass, the truth lies.”
Poems are about the voluptuousness of not knowing. John reads poems: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, William Blake’s My First Vision of Light, & Czeslaw Milosz’s Late Ripeness, Li Yei.Read More▼