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Buddhadharma : Fall 2013
FALL 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 81 discriminating mind, our constantly judging and comparing consciousness, we can begin to see things without hin- drance or prejudice. Yangshan says, “Master, water is not necessary. High places are level as high and low places are level as low.” Of course Guishan knows this. As Daido Roshi says, “The old master is just willing to go along and see what this all comes down to.” The low place is low in and of itself; it is free of low and high. The low place is not fooled by its place. To realize and actu- alize this is to live amid the highs and lows, light skins and dark skins, female and male bodies of our world without being deceived by such differences, which can lead to so much suffering. Dogen wrote a poem about this koan: Before the mountains, an ownerless wild land, Up and down, high and low are left to forage. Wishing to judge square or circle, or figure bent and straight, From east, west, south, and north, a single green seedling. — From Dogen’s Extensive Record, translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura To give up all ownership takes great trust. To be that ownerless wild land yourself is not just a matter of mechani- cally letting go. It’s a great leap into the water of our original nature. Vimalakirti said that if we want to heal our sickness, we have to give up our egoism and pos- sessiveness. But who wants to give up their affliction if it comes in the form of privilege? Even our disadvantage or subjugation becomes conditioned. The person who is held by the jailer becomes beholden to the jailer. So to eliminate egoism and possessiveness we have to free ourselves from duality, from being fooled by the appearances of inside and outside, external and internal, high and low. Vimalakirti says this means we must not deviate, not fluctuate, not be distracted. But not be distracted from what? Vimalakirti says from equanimity. Or you could call it profound sanity. We must not deviate nor be distracted from “A fresh and intensely human portrait compared to the perfect, innocuous paragons of peace ordinarily presented in Zen texts.” — Publishers Weekly Available in paperback and in all e-book formats from Consortium (cbsd.com) ISBN 978-1 -61172-011-2 (pbk) | $14.95 | www.stonebridge.com A Straight Road with 99 Curves coming of age on the path of zen A Memoir by Gregory Shepherd Foreword by Ruben L. F. Habito This frank memoir traces Gregory Shepherd’s meandering path from seeker to disillusionment and, over a decade later, his way back to Zen and inner peace. It provides an authentic taste of Zen practice in Japan and Hawaii in the 1970s and offers a key to understanding why Zen is so appealing to the American counterculture. The Monastery Storetm Cushions that meet you where you are. Donate your old cushion to a practitioner with limited means • 845.688.7993 • email@example.com dharma.net/monstore The new Cloud A foam cushion so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re sitting on the ground. Support for your spiritual practice at home