The Buddha’s Enlightenment

Shakyamuni Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree, and was Enlightened on seeing the morning star.

This image speaks of faith. The immediacy of faith, in this very moment. The morning star was just what was there, it’s not gone away.

We celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment tomorrow.

Pigs and Whistles

As one of my hosts for the evening loads the dishwasher I ask. What is Faith? And then I started to type.

Faith is believing that everything is OK. That’s despite the human wish for things to be a certain way. Safe. Secure. It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s not just believing that everything will be alright, but that it is right at this moment. It’s not magic, that’s for sure, and it doesn’t mean that everything will turn out the way this human being wishes. Trust and faith are, what’s the word, intrinsically linked. I don’t think you can have one without the other, but that’s just a personal opinion. Without faith and trust life is, well, life is just a burden. I think that about covers it on a short basis. I guess people have written treatise on faith and trust but it isn’t an intellectual thing. It is absolutely fundamental to practice. The thing I have found, again and again, is that when I cease to have faith and to trust it all goes, to use Kate’s expression, to pigs and whistles!

OK Kate (my other host). What say you on this subject?

Faith has got to do with knowing there is something more than me. And that there is a point to being alive. Sometimes though doubt gets in the way. And then there is trust that it is all OK. Then you just get on with it I suppose. Get on with the next thing, with life.

Thankyou both, for your wisdom and hospitality. I’ll be back to Throssel by Friday afternoon.

Faith in Extremity

This evening called me to my bookcase. I took a book off the shelf and opened it at random. This is what I found.

It is written in the Scriptures that one should enter Buddhism through faith. But this does not apply only to Buddhism; all religions begin and end with faith.

From Soto Zen, by Keido Chisan Koho Zenji, Chapter 7. Shasta Abbey Press, 2000.

People imagine that they must have faith in something or somebody, some doctrine or a truth. But this only creates a duality. Faith is simple. It is neither lost nor found. Is ever present, now.

For all those who find themselves in extremity in relationship.

Seeking Clarification

Continuing on the theme of meditation here is a question sent by a reader on the subject of the advisability of meditating on a question or problem in formal zazen.

Hi There,
Was hoping you might be able to clarify something for me. I have read in a few books that if you have a problem, or something that you are unsure about, and are seeking some sort of solution or clarity on it, that you should meditate on it. Does this mean that during meditation you should actively think about it and see what comes up during meditation? Or does it just mean that you just devote some time to just thinking about that one thing, rather than literally meaning meditate on it?

Kind Rgards

This is the somewhat expanded, and edited, version of my reply:

Dear Friend,
In our practice we don’t bring any deliberate thought into the formal meditation. There is no object upon which we meditate, there is simply paying attention to what is there, moment by imperceptible moment. That might include a question or problem, however one does not then deliberately start to think about it. So, while sitting formally in meditation we simply ‘let be’ neither rejecting nor hanging on, to anything. Bit like being present in a river and being the river, at the same time.

There ‘is’ obviously a place for deliberately thinking about a problem or question, however that’s ‘deliberately deciding’ to think about something. We have the power of reason and that together with ones sense of what’s right/good to do, or not do, is about how one proceeds. That along with the teaching and guidance of the Precepts.

This is the short answer. There is much that could be said. And since I know you will be here at some point for a retreat I advise you to ask your question in person.

In gassho,