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Buddhadharma : Fall 2016
76 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 1 6 meanwhile missing our own life right here. But there’s a different kind of reflection on the past that is in accord with practice: reflecting on the karmic streams, on how “this event today is in conformity with past cause.” This is looking at the past to understand our conditioning and how all of those many actions—thoughts, words, deeds— moved us, moved others, and influenced the course of our lives. Each of us can think of pivotal moments—something that happened, something we saw or read, something someone said—that stand out amid all the others. Some- times we don’t recognize it as pivotal until later; looking back, we realize its significance. This event here, today, is in accord with past cause. This is why it is so important to understand how in every moment we are changing the course of our lives. In that sense, practice has been happening since we first gained active consciousness and were able to discriminate, understand, and think. Consider the first time you encountered death—that’s a decisive moment in a person’s life. It may come early in our lives, when a pet dies or we lose someone in our family. We realize something in that moment: this doesn’t last forever. The Buddha said that if we don’t understand impermanence, we go through life blind; we don’t know what we’re in the midst of. Popular culture is all about living on the surface, but practice leads us beneath the surface and beyond the perceived levels of under- standing and reality. It’s easy to live on the surface—to talk and act, to provoke and inspire in a superficial way. We can think that’s enough and have no idea what the possibilities are, what is slip- ping by, who we really are. But to have encountered the dharma means that we have dipped beneath the surface of › in accord With all time continued from page 29 things, that we have practiced cultivat- ing enlightened qualities before we even know what that means. If this were not the case, we couldn’t have encountered the dharma. We might have come across the teachings, but we would not have turned our attention toward them. For this to happen, seeds had to have been planted and cultivated. Each of us can look at our own path to practice and see that this is true. In his teachings, Bodhidharma speaks about the six realms of existence as the terrain that we inhabit: Those who blindly follow the precepts and foolishly seek happiness are born as gods in the realm of desire. Those who blindly observe the five precepts and foolishly indulge in love and hate are born as human beings in the realm of anger. And those who blindly cling to the phenomenal world, believe in false doctrines, and pray for blessings are born as demons in the realm of delusion. For more information, please visit us at zenstudies.org DAI BOSATSU ZENDO KONGO-JI On the banks of the highest lake in the Catskills, on 1400 acres of pristine forest, Dai Bosatsu Zendo offers an inspiring setting for true Zen practice. Lay and monastic residential training, including sesshin, teisho, dokusan, and koan work; work exchange programs; Intro to Zen weekends, yoga and other retreats. NEW YORK ZENDO SHOBO-JI An oasis of deep stillness in the heart of Manhattan offering an array of practice opportunities. Daily zazen and chanting services; all-day sittings, weekend sesshins, Dharma talks and interviews; weekly Intro to Zen evenings and tai chi classes. Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi | Abbot the zen studies society Traditional Rinzai Form Contemporary Expression