With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
It is a fine cool morning here in southern New Mexico. I have my heating system set to go on at 4:45 so when I get up at 5:00 its warm enough to pad around. Although, I must say this new house seems to do well without too much assistance from the heater. We had it turned so as to take advantage of passive solar heat...as well as get a clear view of the Organ mountains from our bedroom window.
Last night's Zen service went well. Colette visited and sat with her usual great strength. As I chanted the Heart Sutra, she asked to keep the beat with the Mokugyo. Afterwards we talked about the Four Great Vows and then had some tea.
These vows are the vows of a Bodhisattva: one who is awakened or on the path to awakening and who has committed to a life of service to others. From the most recent Soto Shu translation:
1. Beings are numberless; I vow to free them.
2. Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.
3. Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.
4. The buddha way is unsurpassable; I vow to realize it.
Please note that each of these is a koan in its own right. First, if beings are numberless then how can I vow to free them all? How can I free anything? What does it mean to free something? From what? The contrast between what we are vowing to do and the impossibility of the task itself is designed to point us in a particular direction. That direction is immanence.
Zen is all about being awake now. Its about being holy now.
The Hebrew word translated as "holy" is kadosh and can point to a spiritual separation between "human inadequacy" and "divine perfection" (see, Plaut's commentary in his translation of the Torah, p890). In Zen we experience this separation as a constant and dynamic tension between what we call Small Mind and Big Mind. Our task is to reduce the felt separation, experience the holy as a moment to moment aspect of our life. We do this through mindfulness practice.
So, where do you think these vows point?