Resting in the ground

Practice often seems an arduous thing. We all too easily fall into a default attitude of stress, as though our practice seat were something like a gym or an examination hall, as though there were something to prove. And indeed there is a sense of discipline (which in fact is sometimes used as an alternative term for practice) required, but there is another side altogether to our regular sitting that is too often missed.

Awakening is not something to achieve, not a goal to reach or a structure to build. It is no more than a wiping of the mirror, a clearing of the breath of anxious grasping and hunger.

Our continuing life is a response to conditions, as well as being simply itself. Even grass and trees respond to conditions, even a rock and the whole earth are constantly responding. That response depends upon the conditions. Just so with our own minds. To rest in things as they are gives rise to a response, just as an in-breath gives rise to an out-breath. The key thing about awakening the mind that seeks the way is that this response will arise from a genuine acceptance of the conditions, and that includes one’s own limitations, such that the response is what conditions call for. This is very ordinary and it is the action of saving all beings before saving yourself, because the response is no longer driven by fears and desires. The energy to respond is life released from the inhibition of fear and desire.

Morgan, Daishin. Buddha Recognizes Buddha . Throssel Hole Press. Kindle Edition.

At times nothing more is required than to rest in the ground of all that is, to be held in the gentle, unbreakable grasp of isness. Morgan continues (ibid.)

This kind of response is the action of a Buddha. In practice that is a person who gives without being concerned about achieving anything or being recognized, although they may appreciate these things if they come along. The ability to respond selflessly can never be the possession of any self. Giving oneself like this is faith. Faith, giving and the realization of one’s connectedness do not arise in a sequence. There is a simultaneity of all of these things that are just the nature of reality. There is no path to this reality, we can only precipitate ourselves into this that we already are.

This self-gift in faith is a place of rest deeper than any other. Faith like this is not belief in something, some proposition or other requiring assent: it is nothing more than allowing what is to be. Whether just sitting, or in the resilient grasp of the Nembutsu, it is no more than that.

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