When we are confronted with worries and challenges, it can be difficult to get in touch with our spiritual center. Barriers are a fact of life, and no matter how challenging our everyday life we all possess an inherent spiritual light. Our conditioning tells us that the light we seek is outside of ourself, but Zen Buddhism starts with our inherent perfection. When you truly see this light, you don't just see it with the eye; the whole body and mind is involved. Then you find you are able to live in peace and harmony with your surroundings, and use your light to nourish yourself and the world around you.
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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Daido is one of the great Zen masters of the West, and this offering is typical of his humble, unadorned, direct style of Dharma transmission. If you don't get it the first time, try again. Keep trying until you can slow down your busy brain, turn off your judgmental brain, and ignore your I-already-heard-it brain and to allow yourself to really listen.
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