(written on June 13th, 2012)
Ah, for a moment the dharma hall is void of people, void of talking. All I hear is the ticking of the little clock next to the big bell. Someone has entered, the moment has passed.
Today we went to new hamlet where Thay spoke more about no birth and no death. Sometimes the redundant nature of his teachings is helpful, other times I find it hard to stay engaged. And while I know I do not fully grasp what is being said on a deeper level having it taught over and over in the same words does not prove helpful for me oftentimes.
Here are some of the notes I took during Thay’s talk on June 13th:
“We take care of our mind, it should not be overloaded with anger, discrimination, we make our mind beautiful. The notions of birth and death are not helpful, they remain in the intellect. We have to distinguish between the idea and the insight of no birth and no death. The idea is like the match, the insight is the flame. If you worship the idea you will not go very far. You make good use of the idea to create an insight.
A flower cannot be by herself alone. She is full of the cosmos and empty of a separate self. This is because that is. Subject and object are not separate. The left and right of a piece of paper lean on each other at the same time. Birth and death lean on each other. There is no reality outside of your perception. Matter is energy, energy is matter. In the beginning we think they are different. Mind and matter are 2 aspects of the same thing.
With a mindful step with concentration I let go of the past and the future, I become a free person. Nirvana is the freedom of notions. We can touch nirvana in the here and now, it is the absence of afflictions.”
After parting from Mike and having lunch I rested as I do everyday. The rhythm of the days are fluid.
After a nice long sitting meditation I’m in bed now, pajamas on, hair brushed and all. I skipped the sutra service in favor of more rest. Tomorrow will be a long day in upper hamlet at Son Ha with a picnic lunch and 30 year celebration of Plum Village. This time at the end of the day I just love, equally with the morning I think, no, this time is my favorite. When a silent sitting gives way to a setting sun, lavender sky and a sweet adieu to the day. When everything settles down and becomes once again quiet and a good book calls for attention. When my body can rest. I think back on the day and breathe in and out.
I’m noticing tightness in my chest, tension. This is where it arises in my body first oftentimes. I’m not sure what it relates to currently. It could be from my back pain or it could be a mental formation. Sometimes when investigating a feeling in my mind or body I am unsure as to whether I am trying too hard to find the answer – for example, maybe my physical discomfort is body related solely but I keep looking for a deeper truth that simply is not there. Today in the bookshop I saw a card with a quote from Thay that said 99% of our perceptions are wrong. 99%! It is almost possible for me to grasp that idea. I suppose it’s because I want for my perceptions to be solid, real and true.