Posted inBasic Buddhism, Dharma, Mindfulness, Other Teachings

Thoughts in Meditation

March 2, 2022

Thought by thought arising . . . Never separate from the Heart. 

Kanzeon Sutra

The Kanzeon Sutra, a short form of the Heart Sutra, celebrates the boundless compassion of the bodhisattva Kannon, hearer of the cries of the world. One rendering of the sutra begins, “Absorbing world sounds awakens a buddha right here!” That buddha, that awake one, is none other than you. The sutra ends, “Moment by moment the true heart arises/Time after time there is nothing but THIS” (rendering by Hogen Bays Roshi).

A more literal translation might read, Thought by thought, arising from the heart/Thought by thought, never separate from the Heart (shin).      

Moment by moment thoughts arise in mediation. What are we to do with them?

How can we keep from being tossed about by thoughts, however fleeting? What about when the momentary quality of thought stretches out into story, and we find ourselves on the mind-road of distraction? How are we to ‘absorb world sounds’ in the straightforward repose of zazen when the sounds are of war, humanitarian crisis, and worldwide upheaval?

The boundless compassion of Kannon—of your own true heart—points the way.

Sitting in silence, as thoughts arise, allow what comes; welcome it into the spaciousness of your practice; welcome the chance to notice without judgment and return, again and again, to the here and now. With hearts broken open we offer our sitting, just as it is, for the peace of the whole world. Time after time there is nothing but this.

Photo by Sora Sagano on Unsplash, written by Valerie Forstman

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