Individual-Universal

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    This month, December 2018, I’m posting my dharma talk for the Leicester Home Group here as it contains a quote I love from Dogen. I’m posting it a bit early as I won’t have time on Friday as we’ll be getting ready to go to the Bodhi Retreat at Amida Mandala Temple. It starts with a hymn I wrote:

     

    Individual-Universal

    The attitude of deep listening

    is vow and repentance,

    Amida and bombu nature,

    true entrusting.

     

    Recently, I have been re-reading Uchiyama Roshi’s book, ‘Opening the Hand of Thought’.

    I am very interested in Uchiyama Roshi’s ideas about zazen and how he uses these ideas to illuminate concepts in Pureland Buddhism and Christianity.

    This quote he gave from Dogen resonated deeply with me:

    ‘The activity of buddha is carried on together with the whole earth and all living beings; if it is not activity that is one with all things, it is not buddha activity.’

    I am reminded of Honen writing that any practice that cannot be done by all beings is not Buddhist practice,

    And Roshi Jiyu Kennett’s assertion that all beings know how to do zazen.

    In my exploration of practice, I want to find what is surface and shared in a meaningful way with only some beings, and what is deep, central and shared by all.

    For example, not all beings can sit zazen posture – I can’t – but at the centre of zazen there should be a practice shared by all beings.

    Uchiyama Roshi compares zazen with nembutsu chanting. In both, he says, there is a posture which carries the practice, in zazen, with the whole body, in nembutsu chanting, with the lips.

    I hope that all beings can find a stillness or constancy somewhere in their bodies, whether in a balanced position, the internal repeating motions of the body’s inner processes, the breath or more deliberate repetition of movement.

    These constancies might support all beings in gaining more awareness of the universal life force living through their own beings.

    In Pureland Buddhism, I might say, ‘Amida Buddha, Limitless Life and Light, supporting and illuminating this fragile, karmic being.

    Namo Amida Bu.

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