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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
63 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly means that we must also have that depth of trust in ourselves, for the three treasures are nothing other than our real nature. In the Zen tradition, at regular intervals during the year we practice fusatsu, a renewal of vows centered on the Buddhist precepts. During that ceremony, the sangha chants: Being one with the Buddha with all sentient beings, raise the bodhi mind, let the Supreme Way be realized; Being one with the dharma with all sentient beings, penetrate all sutras, let wisdom be like the ocean; Being one with the sangha with all sentient beings, lead the people, let harmony pervade everywhere. The Buddha Treasure Being one with the Buddha with all sentient beings, raise the bodhi mind, let the Supreme Way be realized. To take refuge in the Buddha treasure is to take refuge in the Buddha Shakyamuni. There was such a person. He had a mother and father, just like you and me. He was raised to live in his culture and to believe in the ideas of his time, so he was conditioned by that very culture. He also had a deep yearning to live in a way that was larger than what was dictated to him by his family and friends; he had a profound desire to live without fetters. We can imagine him as a young man, feel- ing that deep calling within himself, and strug- gling to fit in. Surely he struggled to accept the life he’d been given, the world he saw around him, his time in history, the beliefs that domi- nated his culture, the influences that he was subjected to. He must have tried so hard to do what others around him were doing. To go along and find satisfaction in life as best he could. To take on the life that was expected of him by the people who mattered most in his life. We can imagine how hard it might have been for him to walk away from that—to reject and disappoint those whom he loved and who loved him—yet this is just what he did. In being one with the Buddha, we iden- tify with the imperative we each face to let go of what is familiar and seemingly secure, and enter the wilderness of spiritual practice. Raise the bodhi mind and let the Supreme Way be realized. Raising the bodhi mind— bodhichitta—is to know there is a life that is somehow beyond the one we’re living. To not be satisfied with a life in which we “get by” with simple answers to profound questions. To be unafraid to ask questions that cannot yet be answered within oneself. Bodhichitta, aris- ing in one’s consciousness, contains the seeds of an unwillingness to compromise; that is, an unwillingness to take on the life expected of us, but instead to trust and follow one’s intuition and faith that there is something more, even though it is, at present, beyond our experience. Moreover, to do so even when that may mean standing alone, moving against the current of what those around us are doing. It is to dedicate our efforts to discovering the truth of this body, this mind, this time, this place. It is to take up the questions: What is it? Who am I? What is this? We begin to probe the profound implications of those questions, and determine that we will not be lazy in our investigation or fearful of what we might discover. Bodhichitta can only arise from a profound faith in our inherent enlightened nature. We need to let go of our self-centered and fearful grasping of all that’s familiar, and to be one with the courage, sincerity, and faith of the Buddha so we can discover a deep determination to live as an awakened being now, rather than at some future point or in some future perfect situation. And as we walk this path, we must diligently challenge ourselves when we become weary or complacent, and demand more of ourselves than others might ask of us.