“… we can become aware that we are the universe functioning; the universe is becoming aware of itself in every moment …”
Responding without falling into achievement.
Speaking without involving listeners.
The ten thousand forms majestically
glisten and expound the dharma.
All objects certify it, everyone in dialogue.
Dialoguing and certifying,
they respond appropriately to each other.
Description: This teisho is the sixth talk from the Summer 2017 sesshin. The main topic comes from a verse by Master Wanshi, “Silent Illumination.” To begin this reflection on dialoguing and certifying, Henry points to the first talk of the sesshin and the first koan, “Jôshû’s Dog” (Mu),” which elicits a beautiful story about his childhood dog, Annie. Annie is in dialogue with her environment; her life and the life of the land are not two things. She knows just what to do, just as we know just what to do when we eat a bowl of oatmeal or when the wind blows and the leaves rustle. In the course of training, we can become aware that we are the universe functioning; the universe is becoming aware of itself in every moment. It is certifying that every phenomenon is the dharma. In addition, we can see through this universal functioning and certify, while still having our rich experience of matter, that it is all empty and this emptiness, “the nothing,” which predated matter is just this, right here. All things are dialoguing and certifying this fact in every moment. All things are preaching the dharma. “It’s simply how it all functions.” The talk closes with the assurance that all the zen ancestors, save one or two, struggled for a long time. If we are discouraged, we are in good company!