Thursday, February 07, 2008
The past has gone.
The future is not yet here.
All there is of the past and of the future is contained in this instant of existence.
Consider this, a memory can only be had in this instant, a photograph of a notional past can only be viewed in this instant, a consideration of the future can only be had now, a wish, a hope, a dream can only be had now.
What is truly real? Only this endless flowering and withering.
We relinquish every thing completely. Giving away this body, giving away these precious thoughts, not following them, being bothered by them, they come and go like everything else. Permitting ourselves this period of zazen to allow all this to do as it will, releasing our grip, it is an illusion that we are holding onto.
We, and our activity of sitting are not separated, we, and the world of which we are part are no longer artificially separated by the superficial veneer of a constructed self.
When the dust has settled, when what we imagine to be true has ceased, has subsided, something remains but what is it that no longer has a name?
Only this instant of existence, our true inheritance, shorn of all projection and imagination, of all illusory creations of our active minds, of all definition, separation, classification, opinion. Only what exists before we begin to process it and artificially divide ourselves from it.
This clearly apprehended state of reality is nameless and it appears before us immediately in this moment, in this moment, in this moment…and in this.
‘Eternal existence is momentary’ said a great teacher. How can we argue with this simple truth?
In Zazen, we sit, awake and aware of this fleeting instant, we allow it to be without anything other than itself. We realise being, without.
As Buddhists we uncover this truth each morning and each evening. Like a bell rung in the morning, this simple state stays with us and grows faint as our active brains create universes of meaning to separate us from what is real, manifests as tension in our bodies. We ring the bell again in the evening and sleep soundly, noticing the difference between what is real and what isn’t.
As we continue this practise, this ringing and waning seems more like one continuous note.
As we regularly uncover this original state, this clear-sighted simple and ordinary way, we begin to notice that our lives mirror this state of zazen, clear, simple, straightforward.
Giving everything away on our cushions we open the door to the inheritance of what remains, which is something tangible, something real.
Something which is before us now!
(Given as a talk at Bloomsbury Zen Group 31/01/2008)