true sovereignty

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samurai

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Thich Nhat Hanh:

“Often, we live a life of compromise so that there’s peace in the house. We buy a small peace so that we can get though the day. And if we live like that we aren’t a great person, but a cracked vase, unable to contain the rice soup. If we want to be a great Dharma instrument, then we have to be determined not to let other people trick us.

“Master Linji exhorted us to be the master of our own situation, but that doesn’t mean we need to fight and suppress others, but rather to be masters of ourselves. Suppose we have a friend who is quick to anger. We can think there is something wrong with him, and try to suppress his anger. Or we can be the masters of ourselves in that situation, feeling real compassion for the other person’s difficulties.

“Sometimes it’s not a person in the moment but a person in the past who we think is the master of our situation. We say we are behaving a certain way because of something our parents or someone else did to us as a child. But each person has their own karma and each person is the master of their own situation in the moment, not a slave to others past or present.

“The true person doesn’t go looking for an outside master. WE are in charge of our own destiny and we have to be responsible for each of our own words, thoughts, and actions. Mindfulness will help. Then we realize, ‘I’m thinking like this. I’m responsible for these thoughts. I’ve spoken like that, I’m responsible for my words. I’m doing this, and I’m responsible for this action.’

“We have to know that each word, each thought, each of our actions carries our signature. We are responsible for it and that is called being in charge of ourselves.

“Wherever we stand, wherever we sit, we are the true person. We are masters of ourselves and wherever we are, we are ourselves. We only need to live these eight words, and that’s enough to make us Master Linji’s student, worthy to be his continuation: ‘Wherever we are, we are our true person.’ Write these words and hang them somewhere to remind yourself.”

source: Thich Nhat Hanh, “Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go” p. 128

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this is it

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Thich Nhat Hanh now is the time this is it

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So simple and yet the force that wants to bring up history is strong and tenacious:

“That personal mind lives in history, has a sense of injustices and loves evidence and holds on to all of this stuff because that is the only thing that can support its existence.”

Mooji

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have no-mind

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My Comment:

This is living life without forethought and always letting go of the now in the now. This is life without the mind clogging up the works by wanting to create a vision for the next moment. It clogs up the free flow of vital energy and of the Mystery of creation because it holds on to what is pleasurable in the present moment and repels what is uncomfortable in the present moment. What we call ‘the mind’ is no more than impressions in memory of these things to avoid and those we want to attract into our lives.

However, by feeding this tendency to create security and safety for itself, the mind is continually strengthening past impressions of memory. These are like grooves in the brain, or, some say, like scars in the brain. Vital energy, the life force, cannot move through our psycho-somatic organism smoothly because of all of these barriers to the new, the now. When we understand the importance of destruction as a part of creation we can then let go and die to the present moment again, again and again. We trust in the mystery to create the most suitable form for its energy to flow into at any given moment.

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Zen Master Linji:

“Monks, what are you looking for? In the present moment you are standing before me listening to the Dharma. It is luminous and clear. You do not need to depend on anything and since you lack nothing you have nothing to search for. As I see it, there isn’t so much to do. Just be ordinary  – put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing. “

“If you want nothing to stand between you and the Buddhas and masters, you have to see this. Do not doubt anymore, do not be mistaken anymore. If you can maintain this insight, you are living masters. If you cannot maintain this insight, then there will be a difference between nature and appearance. When the mind does maintain this insight, nature and appearance are not two different things.”

source: Thich Nhat Hanh, Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, p. 40

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related article: “ordinary monk”

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rites

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Climbing the Wall

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Thich Nhat Hanh:

“Suppose there is a towering wall from the top of which one can see vast distances – but there is no apparent means’ to climb it, only a thin piece of thread hanging over the top and coming down both sides. A clever person will tie a thicker string onto one end of the thread, walk over to the other side of the wall, then pull on the thread bringing the string to the other side. Then he will tie the end of the string to a strong rope and pull the rope over. When the rope has reached the bottom of one side and is secured on the other side, the wall can be easily scaled.

“Our breath is such a fragile piece of thread. But once we know how to use it, it can become a wondrous tool to help us surmount situations which would otherwise seem hopeless. Our breath is the bridge from our body to our mind, the element which reconciles our body and mind and which makes possible one-ness of body and mind.

“Breath is aligned to both body and mind and it alone is the tool which can bring them both together, illuminating both and bringing both peace and calm. Many persons and books discuss the immense benefits that result from correct breathing. They report that a person who knows how to breathe is a person who knows how to build up endless vitality: breath builds up the lungs, strengthens the blood, and revitalizes every organ in the body. They say that proper breathing is more important than food. And all of these statements are correct.

“Years ago, I was extremely ill. After several years of taking medicine and undergoing medical treatment, my condition was unimproved. So I turned to the method of breathing and, thanks to that, was able to heal myself. Breath is a tool. Breath itself is mindfulness. The use of breath as a tool may help one obtain immense benefits, but these cannot be considered as ends in themselves. These benefits are only the by products of the realization of mindfulness.

“In my small class in meditation for non-Vietnamese, there are many young people. I’ve told them that if each one can meditate an hour each day that’s good, but it’s nowhere near enough. You’ve got to practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, and work, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, drinking tea, talking to friends, or whatever you are doing.

“While washing the dishes, you might be thinking about the tea afterwards, and so try to get them out of the way as quickly as possible in order to sit and drink tea. But that means that you are incapable of living during the time you are washing the dishes. When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you’re drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. When you’re using the toilet, let that be the most important thing in your life.

“And so on. Chopping wood is meditation. Carrying water is meditation. Be mindful 24 hours a day, not just during the one hour you may allot for formal meditation or reading scripture and reciting prayers. Each act must be carried out in mindfulness. Each act is a rite, a ceremony.

“Raising your cup of tea to your mouth is a rite. Does the word “rite” seem too solemn? I use that word in order to jolt you into the realization of the life-and-death matter of awareness.”

(source: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness PDF p.41)

My Comment:

“The life and death matter of awareness”… These words are unusual for us. When do we consider awareness a “life and death matter”? When we realize that all violence that is done among the human population on this planet is because of lack of awareness, then it makes sense. I struggle right now to bring awareness to a situation with a person in our community to whom I have great resistance. This person seems so far away from my perspective that I do not see a bridge. It feels like I would have to force this person to open their reality bubble in order to find common ground. I know that that is not an option as it would only lead to more resistance on both sides. At present I am practicing mindfulness and performing every action as a rite, as a ceremony that I want to perform with great care and awareness. I am at a quandary as to what to do and so I am not taking any action – outwardly, that is – inwardly I am asking what to do so that I can be at peace with this person.

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treat our anxiety respectfully

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Thich Nhat Hanh:

The sadness (or whatever has caused the
pain) can be used as a means of liberation from
torment and suffering, like using a thorn to
remove a thorn. We should treat our anxiety,
our pain, our hatred and passion gently, respectfully,
not resisting it, but living with it, making
peace with it, penetrating into its nature by
meditation on interdependence. Continue reading

a magic show

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“If you arrive at understanding the unborn nature of all that is and know that the mind is a magic show, that there is no object, no phenomenon that has real existence, then wherever you are there is purity, and that is Buddha.”

Zen Master Linji

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the unborn nature of all that is

the mind is a magic show

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