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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 09 64 Why do we do this? To let the Supreme Way be realized. Our vow is to forget the self—to realize the self’s true nature—and allow that liberated self to manifest freely. We must stop denying that we have the capacity to awaken. We can no longer retreat into our old ways in which we deny who we actually are. To paraphrase Chinese Zen Master Yunju Daoying: If you want to attain the Way, you must be a person of the Way. You already are a person of the Way. So why worry about the attainment of the Way? The Dharma Treasure Being one with the dharma with all sentient beings, penetrate all sutras, let wisdom be like the ocean. To rely on the dharma treasure is to turn again and again toward the teachings of the Buddha. To turn toward them when they sound like music, and when they sound like crashing thunder. When they soothe and caress, and when they seem to rip our skin off. As the Buddha said in the Prajnaparamita Sutra, when we can encounter the teachings of selflessness without turning away in fear, then we may be ready to take refuge in the dharma treasure. That treasure, the truth to which the Buddha awakened, is ineffable; it can’t be spoken of and yet it must be expressed. It is without self—without any inherently abid- ing characteristic—and yet it manifests in ten thousand forms. It is the infinite diversity and richness of life, sentient and insentient. It is fully present in everyone, and yet we must practice to realize it. Without this dharma treasure, there is no practice and no realization, and there is no cessation of suffering in our lives. Without this treasure there is bodhihcitta, but there is no path to realize bodhi. And yet, to ulti- mately realize the dharma we must go beyond all dharma views. The Buddha treasure is the great ocean, and the dharma treasure is the stream by which we return to that ocean. The dharma is true words, live words, expressing and point- ing to the truth of things. It is expression, understanding, and insight made manifest in practices that have been tested by countless people—men, women, young, old. But even though the dharma treasure it true, and even though practice is skillful, without faith in the dharma treasure, we cannot enter. There is a door that we yearn to pass through, but it won’t open. In cultivating a deep and stable trust in the dharma treasure, we must also be develop- ing a profound faith in ourselves. If we do not have such faith, if we cannot accept who we are, as we are, it is very difficult to have faith in other people and other things. Tak- ing refuge in the dharma treasure means that we trust deeply our capacity to realize the truth of our self-nature—not because we’re extraordinary beings, but simply because we are human beings. As we practice and our faith gets stronger, the more that door, which would not yield before, begins to open. Of course, it was open all along. And, as we gain insight, we finally realize there never was a door. To penetrate all sutras is to be one with the dharma. It’s to realize the teachings of the enlightened beings as our own, direct experience. We discover the wisdom without boundary that reaches everywhere like a great ocean. A Chinese master said this was the moment the sutras returned to the person. The Sangha Treasure Be one with the sangha with all sentient beings. Lead the people and let harmony per- vade everywhere. To take refuge in the sangha treasure is to rely upon those who are walking the path with us. It’s to understand deeply the value— indeed, the necessity—of being engaged in such a profoundly solitary practice with oth- ers. We often think of the sangha treasure in terms of the support it provides, but it’s more than that. It allows us to fulfill our natu- ral, necessary, and inescapable obligation to