It's always heartwarming to watch a child's joy during the holidays, or to witness people reaching out to one another during times of crisis. But how do we give in our everyday lives? Daido Roshi examines the true meaning of giving, pointing out that each moment is an opportunity to give, and each moment is full of gifts we are receiving from others. But few actions are as misunderstood as giving, mostly due to our confusion about material and spiritual gifts. Sometimes material giving is important, but other times spiritual giving is what's needed; giving someone your time, your attention, or your gratitude are profound means of connecting with others. Intimate giving is about finding our compassionate heart and acting in accord with circumstances; it's not about expecting payment, it's just being moved to help, to serve friends and enemies equally. As our heart expands and we understand the true relationship between giver and receiver, it dramatically changes our relationship with the people in our lives.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).
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