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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
82 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY continuous at the center. It’s this placing ourselves at the center of each moment that breeds isolation and estrangement. Ye t all along, as Yangshan says, there is no absence. Nothing is missing, and noth ing has arrived. Realizing the true nature of self allows us to live our lives within that understanding. And because of this, because there is no absence of enlightenment, in all moments and in all circumstances there is falling to the ground, and there is using the ground to stand. There is meeting an impenetrable barrier, and there’s leaping free of that barrier. There is studying the self and forgetting the self, there is holding on, and there is letting go. There is giving up, and there is taking the next step. There is resilience. Resilience is a powerful and essential part of Buddhist practice— it’s also an essential part of human life. Within Zen, we speak about the three essential virtues of practice: great faith, great doubt, and great perseverance. Resilience, which is a manifestation of emptiness, is related to perseverance. To have resilience is to rebound, to jump or take a leap, to be flexible. Shifting the currents of karmic patterns—behavior, thought, emo tion, belief, and reactivity—in order to leap free is difficult. Even if we have a deep commitment to shift, we find that these patterns still have energy. So, we practice to reclaim the truth of “there is no absence of enlightenment” as our own direct experience. When we’re caught in the deluded stream of thoughts, emotions, reactivity, and beliefs that are tethered to our ingrained habits, there is very little resilience. These are states of apparent solidity when we suffer from our distractedness, the confusing and conflicting demands of nonawareness. When we are not mindful, we’re in a state that is active and dynamic in ways that aren’t helpful. From the very first moment of zazen, we develop mindfulness. But to do so, we must also cultivate resilience. Because there is no absence of enlightenment, in all moments and in all circumstances there is falling to the ground, and there is using the ground to stand. There is resilience. previous page | This is you #30