There’s a short memoir by the American Zen master, James Ishmael Ford, about his experience on the Zen path entitled, If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break. The title points to all the ways our human hearts break in the course of navigating our lives and to the fundamental invitation of Zen practice – to let your heart break all the way open.
This may not sound very inviting. But actually, it’s a great homecoming. Our hearts by nature are open, boundless, and as capacious as the empty sky. Zen calls this our true nature, our native ground, our original face – or, as many at Mountain Cloud have heard, original love.
How can we realize the great homecoming to who we truly are? By coming home to this present moment…
Eternity is nothing other than right now. – Mumon Ekai
This is the heart of zazen.
It’s a simple practice, available to us in every breath, every step. We don’t have to go anywhere, fix anything, or attain something that might be lacking. Sitting in silence, returning again and again to the here and now, our practice itself is an expression of awakening – the true buddha intimately at home.
Photo by Mark Petrick