Speech without Words

speaking without the need of words
because breath is the oldest language
any of us know.

from a poem by Kayo Chingonyi in his book “A Blood Condition”

Thank you for this quote which has been ‘lifted’ from the comments section. Love it and fits right in with the theme of the Dharma Talks recently pointed to.

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Recognition – Drawing together the Teachings from all the Ceremonies of Jukai

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The quotes below are from the Dharma Talk on the Recognition Ceremony given during a week-long retreat in April 2021. The quote at the very bottom of the page is taken from an article in Tricycle Magazine.

As one goes on, doing one’s best to refrain from filling up via the senses, simply put refraining from reaching out via the senses, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. Allowing sights, sounds smells to come to you, allowing the mind to simply receive, all that you need will come to you.

There are six senses listed in Buddhism, the mind being the sixth. (I mention the Alaya Vijana in this talk, below I have linked to an article* on the Alaya Vijana for your interest.) The intellect has its place undoubtedly and takes its place, significant place. All the senses know how to function without our help, including the mind. Our mind knows how to think. So the message is, refrain from going out, seeking after, refrain from grasping, clutching at things. Zazen, practiced regularly, seems to allow for a space between seeing and acting, hearing and responding.

*The Buddhist concept of “storehouse consciousness” (Alaya Vijnana) arose about 2,000 years ago to help explain why people return so often to the same emotional states and viewpoints.

May 8th is traditionally marked as the Buddha’s Birthday, aka Wesak, or the Festival of Flowers. Here at Throssel, it has just started to snow! The Daffodils hang their heads, but we’re not. Right?

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Ketchimyaku – Following where the Precepts, as the Blood of the Buddhas, Lead

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Raise the ears of your heart
and you will hear.
Raise the eyes of your heart
and you will hear.

Once again during these talks, the sense of hearing as well as seeing is pointed out. In this instance the hearing and seeing within the ‘heart’. The inward faculty of ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’. (Note: I quoted the above incorrectly at the start of the talk).

Towards the end of this talk, I mention the confidence which comes about through continuing to practice in daily life, while keeping true to the Precepts, as well as seated meditation, Zazen. Rev. Roland gave a Dharma talk titled Confidence which I recommend listening to.

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The Sange Ceremony – Contrition and Conversion

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The two means and two ways of making confession/contrition isn’t spoken of that often so I thought I’d highlight this and make reference here. What is written below comes from the early part of the talk in which I talk about the Sange Ceremony.

Here is a verse from the Lay Ordination ceremony:

If you want to be converted to the Precepts you should first make confession. Even though in confession there are two means and two ways, there is a confession verse that has been kept by the Buddhas. Recite the verse after me for, when you do so truly, all your past wrong-doings will cease to affect you.

Vow and repentance (contrition) are two sides of the single practice of zazen. Here is a quote from Living by Vow, by Shohaku Okumura pages 56-57. This verse, in translation, is from the Samantabhadra Sutra. Samantabhadra Bodhisattva represents unconditional love.

The ocean of karmic hindrances arises solely from delusive thoughts. If you wish to make repentance (confession), sit in an upright posture and be mindful of the true reality. All misdemeanors, like frost and dew, are melted away in the sun of wisdom.

Quoting again from Living by Vow:

In this repentance, we do not actually say something like, I’m sorry because of this or that specific mistake. Rather, our zazen is itself repentance.

The cleansing of our karmic hindrances, which arise solely from delusive thoughts, melts away.

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1 The Journey to The Monastery + Reading the Precepts

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We say all things teach – earth, trees, wooden posts, as well as wise teachers. The sound of a gong, the wind in the trees? Only when we are prepared to hear teaching coming from all directions and within everyday living are we likely to break through the unremitting sound of our own voices. To hear and follow the subtle inner ‘calling’, those inner promptings which have us start on the journey to practice and to open our ears, and hearts, to the Truth.

The sights and sounds, hearing and seeing without grasping, are the underlying teachings of the Jukai ceremonies – and Zazen. By ‘opening the ear of our heart’ we will hear and fullness of silence, the Unborn, Undying, Unconditioned – Uncreated. We just have to get out of our own way, basically.

Note: I make a distinction between hearing and listening to point out the receptive quality of our senses, the non-grasping non-cleaving to the objects of our senses.

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Practice Within The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives