All is well at Mountain Cloud. Flowers are blooming intensely in the tail end of a long and wonderfully wet summer. As the poet said:
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins)
Once again, some random thoughts on practice:
Life is wasted on the living (to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw). Hence Zen practice. Hence our practice.
The most valuable sit is the one we least want to do. After which we can truly tell ourselves: well done.
For those doing Mu practice: we are falling into the loam of Mu, where our self can split open, die and bring forth the true life. Don’t lose heart. Or do lose heart. That’s fine too. And give your broken heart to Mu.
The purpose of this training is to help us first to have a glimpse of reality, of the truth; and then slowly, painstakingly to help us shift our center of gravity so that we tip over from faith in the dream of what we thought was reality, to the infinite fact of reality becoming our center of gravity. It can happen. It does happen. That’s why Zen still exists. As long as there are lineages devoted to passing on the core Dharma of Zen, who use the koans as instruments of reality, Zen may continue for a little bit longer.
All this, every moment as it is, is the land of the unborn. Birth is the land of no-birth; dying is the land of no-death. This land is infinite in space, infinite in time, and infinite in potential and possibility. But what else is it?
And what does “spiritual” mean? I don’t know. For me perhaps it means recognizing that the way I have seen the world, my place in it, my sense of who I am, have all been wrong. And then recognizing that again.
Image: From Mountain Cloud Zen Center Image Catalog