Last month Mountain Cloud joined with Zen practitioners all around the world in celebrating the Buddha’s awakening with a Rohatsu sesshin. Rohatsu translates as “eighth day of the twelfth month,” the day associated with Shakyamuni’s enlightenment while sitting under the bodhi tree.
Sitting through the night – assailed by Mara, demon of delusions, but to no avail – Siddhartha Gautama looked up and saw the morning star. Suddenly there was just one shining. Awakened, he exclaimed, “I and the great earth and all beings simultaneously attain the way.”
According to another version of this tradition, the Buddha’s first words upon awakening were, “Master builder, I have finally found you. No longer will you build your house.”
What is the house, the scaffolding, the container we build and continually shore up as if to provide a place of security? What happens when the artifice of division dissolves and the walls fall, possibly once and for all? What remains?
See through the ‘I, me, mine’ we construct and set up at the center of our experience. See through the fixed identity we cling to, grasp, and defend – and see it’s not so. That ‘self’ is a mirage, a chimera, a play of images something like a projection onto a screen. It doesn’t exist as we think it does. When that construct falls away, even for a moment, we see a wider world, a seamless web, like the net of Indra Master Keizan describes in his teisho on the Buddha’s awakening. One all-pervading web, a gem at each nub, each gem reflecting the whole. Each jewel complete – and completely new moment-to-moment.
May the new year be a homecoming to who we truly are: I and the great earth and all beings simultaneously.
Message from Valerie is from our January 9, 2023 Newsletter.