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Buddhadharma : Fall 2016
fall 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 77 In each of these, Bodhidharma speaks about practicing blindly. We can be practicing the precepts and do it with- out understanding ourselves or the pre- cepts. We can be engaged in the world of love and hate and be led by self- ish desires. We can be asking for and receiving blessings and be looking out- side ourselves. He says when our greed is greatest, we become hungry ghosts. When our anger is greatest, we enter into hell realms. And when our delusion is greatest, we become beasts reduced to desire–impulses. We arrive in a realm of existence due to the strength of our karma. Karma is strengthened by the number of moments or days or years that we’ve devoted to creating certain desires and mental states, by the energy we’ve given to it and the degree to which we’re caught in it. But that strength can also be a form of spiritual power. When we don’t understand, then it’s a blind power. We see how people use great power blindly and wreak great destruction all the time. But when we have opened the eye that sees without looking, understands without knowing, and trusts without expectations, that karmic power can be transformed into something that has lib- erative qualities. What does this mean? When you find yourself in a difficult place, don’t just look for an exit in panic but reflect on how this event right now is in con- formity with past cause. We can study and understand how our life is being transformed in that very moment. Who names this place as a hell realm? Some- one else might see it differently. Seeing into this, hÅow do we leap free? This is the power that comes with understand- ing mind directly—not through analysis but through examination. The wonderful thing about practice is that this ability to see into our mind and to shift is available to us at the very beginning, in the very first moment. That’s how powerful we are. Keizan, the second founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan and author of Transmission of the Light, says, “Even if you seem to be a beginner, if in a single moment the mind is turned around to reveal its originally inherent qualities, nothing is lacking at all; together with the realized ones, you will commune with the bud- dhas.” Since the very beginning, it is this way. Since the beginning and all the way through, nothing is lacking at all. Even in those challenging moments, in the presence of challenging people, sitting with that challenging mind, nothing is lacking. Whether the mind is realized or not, this is so. This moment is always in complete and utter conformity with past cause. Daido Roshi often used to say, “What you do and what happens to you are the same thing.” I remember hearing that again and again and thinking, “Huh? What are you saying? How can that be?”