Everyone is assailed by demons right now. Demons have a long history in the culture. If you’ve got demons, you’re alive! But you don’t have to get on board with them. Demons come out of your own heart, just like enlightenment. Tess Beasley reads from James Hillman’s “Dreams & the Blood Soul.” Michelle Riddle & Jon Joseph chant a Zen spell for dispelling demons, the Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani. John reads Keats and Coleridge.
Everyone is assailed by demons right now. Demons have a long history in the culture. John tells a story about meeting a chief in Papua New Guinea, a canoe-building culture. A beautiful canoe that has “flow” keeps off the darkness and the difficulty of demons.
If you’ve got demons, you’re alive! But you don’t have to get on board with them. Demons come out of your own heart, just like enlightenment. It helps to open your heart; imagination comes into being when you’re not cutting things out. Koans are an imaginative way into reality. It’s a strange living path, the dharma.
Righteousness and accusing each other of things are some of the demons of our time. Sorrow and grief are demons of our time. Art can be a response to grief and sorrow.
The great path of the Mahayana is to acknowledge all of that, to walk through all of that and be amused. There’s a loss of “how terrible it all is.” The First Noble Truth can be a demon. People being righteous is a clear sign that the ship has been blown off course toward the land of the rakshasas!
Anything can possess you. In Zen we turn straight into the matter at hand, and be immersed. Turn into the “trying to get away from it.” When you don’t identify with any opinion, you lose your dread or your righteousness, and there is tremendous spaciousness and peace. What broke the spell? Kindness!
Guishan and Yangshan converse about demons:
Guishan asked, “In the 40 million volumes of the Nirvana Sutra, how many words were spoken by demons,
and how many by buddhas?”
Yangshan responds, “They were all spoken by demons!”
Michelle Riddle & Jon Joseph each chant the Zen spell to dispel demons: (a dharani, not quite a sutra:)
NO MO SAN MAN DA MOTO NAN…
John Tarrant reads poem by John Keats: To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…
And Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
Tess Beasley reads from James Hillman’s Dreams and the Blood Soul
It’s not always clear what’s a demon and what isn’t. Demons bring gifts sometimes! On befriending the dream: participate in it, embrace it as a friend; an inner family.
Assailed by demons? This is the taste of life! Not attacking is the beginning of friendship.Read More▼