Peacefully sitting in a hidden corner of the discount department store, he waited for me. Unhurried and with a dignified sweet smile he humbly sat, waiting patiently until I eventually found him. I was thrilled! He was the one. And the price was right! The perfect finishing touch to my Zen garden. :) Today I had found a Buddha statue that wanted to come home with me. With my new meditation buddy safely buckled in my car we made the short journey home. Instantly the perfect garden spot revealed itself. I gently placed him in position surrounded by passion fruit vines and flowers. I breathed a sigh of relief and lit a candle offering a prayer of gratitude to the divine consciousness for bringing us together.
I've discovered that creating a serene Zen-ish environment is paramount to my progress in spiritual life. A quiet sacred space where my mind can relax and focus on God. Some days the weight of the world seems to be clouding my mind and it becomes restless. By committing to a daily sitting practice in a peaceful sunlit garden, the divine seems more easily revealed through nature. Surrounded by sacred art, birds chirping, bees humming, leaves fluttering, and clouds effortlessly floating on a fragrant orange blossom breeze, I momentarily transcend... bliss.
We are told... One day, after much practice, if we do not grasp at enlightenment or run away
from it, realization will catch up to us. Blissfully shining the great "I Am" sits as witness to all... as if to say, "I knew you would finally remember who you really are!"
Song of Zazen
By Hakuin Zenji
All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.
How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst;
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.
Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the Six Worlds;
From dark path to dark path
When shall we be freed from birth and death?
Oh, the Zen meditation of the Mahayana!
To this the highest praise!
Devotion, repentance, training,
The many perfections
All have their source in Zen meditation.
Those who try Zen meditation even once
Wipe away beginning less crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land itself is near.
Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end.
Much more, those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.
Here effect and cause are the same;
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray;
With thought that is no-thought,
Even singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
How boundless and free is the sky of Awareness!
How bright the full moon of wisdom!
Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes;
This very place is the Lotus Land;
This very body, the Buddha.
*Translation by Robert Aitken
I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here.
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate I dwell.
Breathing in, I invite the Buddha to breathe with my lungs.
Breathing out, I invited the Buddha to sit with my back.
Buddha is breathing, Buddha is sitting.
I enjoy breathing, I enjoy sitting.
I know that the quality of the breathing, in the Buddha breath, is excellent.
I know the quality of his sitting is excellent.
I enjoy breathing. I enjoy sitting.
I am aware that my father is fully present in every cell of my body.
I invite my father to breathe in with me. Breathe out with me.
I would like to invite my father in me to sit with my back
– this is my back, but it is also his back.
Father and son. Father and daughter. Breathing together.
Breathing in, I feel so light. Breathing out, I feel so free.
Daddy, do you feel as light as I do? Do you feel as free as I do?
I know that my mother is fully present in every cell of my body.
I invite my mother to breathe with my lungs, to sit with my back.
This is my back, but it is also hers.
Mother and son breathing in together.
Mother and daughter breathing in together.
Mother and son breathing out together.
Mother and daughter breathing out together.
Breathing in, I feel so light.
Mother, do you feel as light as I do?
Breathing out, I feel so free.
Mother, do you feel as free as I do?
Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles
And the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
-Tao Te Ching