One of the facets of self is to create a separated “entity” in space/time which creates the contrast needed to navigate through it. This contrast is created, by the brain, to procure the needs and desires of the organism. Many within Zen Practice tend to vilify the self and create just as much suffering, via this vilification, as those who are attached to the illusion of a permanent and unchanging self. Yes, there is a flag and yes the wind is that which moves the flag. The nature of this koan pertains to the unified or complete view that we are normally separated from via the chain reaction which arises when we manifest limited self. Our “limited self” nature creates a process in which the unified is broken down into facets and attributes which are easily manipulated and digested to fit within our perception of reality. Those facets which are brought forward into the conscious mind depend greatly on our personal preferences, needs and experiences. Countless other attributes are left undifferentiated as they are either unknown, deemed as unimportant or contrary to our desired reality. Within this dualistic process we can’t experience reality in its completeness, we can only see slices or frames that we have removed from the whole, digested and then conceptualized. If these attributes can not be neatly placed within our “view”, our “beliefs” fall apart and we struggle to find unity with reality. Life has a way of grabbing us by the gruff of the neck and pointing the way. When we let go fully, and open our eyes wide, we naturally return to that which is unified to rectify our conflict. In Zen, tools have long been used which force the student to let go of their “beliefs”, shed the limited self, and realize that which brings together and unifies. The seeker falls into completion which reveals the true nurture of the self. In return, balance is once again realized and the resulting insight replaces the ignorant view(s); until next time, as this is a process – how perfect! Mumon tells us,“When Mouth opens, all are wrong” so he is kindly giving us direction, he is pointing to an experience which transcends the extraction of a few mere attributes and the realization of completion. Directly experiencing and knowing, what creates the fragmentation of reality is key to realizing the precious dharma found within this koan. When self is revealed in its complete form, all return to their rightful places in the heavens. Completion reveals the core nature of all attributes, and restores the true nature of self – no nature.
Blue Mountain Zendo
June 7 2012 7:00 pm – June 10 2012 2:00 pm
Literally “to collect the mind”, Sesshin is the Buddhist seclusion or retreat, consisting of five days of intensive Zazen (meditation) practice, a dharma talk once a day and a private interview with Rev. Joriki Dat Baker twice daily. During sesshin, the student concentrates on nothing but collecting the scattered shards of the mind so that they can realize their original unity with the universe from which they ordinarily feel separated. For centuries philosophy and religion have tried to evoke this unified mind but, with with transitory results. Zen will illuminate the way, it will uncover the inner strength necessary to restore the threads which weave our rightful place in this world.
Sesshin is the core of all Zen Buddhist Practice. While other traditions tend to be distracted by the playful words left by the Buddha of the past, Zen concerns itself with the engagement, validity and application of such wisdom. In other words, some traditions study the path while others walk the path; there must be a balance between the two. Sesshin is offered for those who have realized that mere scholarly pursuits fail to illuminate the true path of liberation. Sesshin is a time for brave women and men to realize the truth of life and death. Sesshin includes lodging, meditation instruction, koan practice, samu practice, chanting practice, vegetarian meals, daily walking meditations next to the river and daily private interviews with Joriki Dat Baker.
Summer Sesshin starts Thursday at 7:00 pm and ends on Sunday at 2:00 pm. The cost is $275. For more information please contact the Jisha on the Contact Us page.