Monday, October 22, 2012

Blissing Out

Events come and go with amazing speed. Life is kind of like a train that just keeps rolling. Sometimes it seems to go fast, sometimes slow, sometimes it slows down to the point where we seem stuck. Regardless of how it feels, time/life/the train just keeps going. Often, the scenery is beautiful, breathtaking even. Other times it is just blah or even ugly. And, of course, the same awesome scenery can fade into the background after we are used to it.

Using this metaphor, events are like passing through states, or cities, or even by signposts. Looking forward to a movie, then seeing it, then looking forward to the next movie would probably be like passing signposts. A city or a state could be like high school or college. The metaphor keeps on a rollin'.

As Zen students, we keep returning to the here and now. Events come and go, we watch them come and go without attachment. If we find ourselves getting attached, we can even use a mental exercise like trying to live the idea of "don't make where you want to be more important than where you are."

With Zen and the idea of events, what is likely to come up? The e-word. Is enlightenment really an event? Is it something that changes everything? A favorite quote is "If enlightenment isn't in this moment, where is it?" Can you find it?

Coming back to the context of this post. Here is a situation to consider. Suppose you have a moment where things become clear. Maybe everything in the Heart Sutra makes complete sense. Please do not think I am describing enlightenment - enlightenment is beyond words. Yet people before us tried to come up with teachings to help us and that is why I am referencing the Heart Sutra. Or maybe sunyata makes complete sense (as discussed in a previous post). Now lets look at a situation. Suppose a moment like this occurs and life makes complete sense, yet the person you are having dinner with is very upset about something.

Do you laugh and tell your friend to relax, that they have a perception problem? Do you tell them how great it is that you have seen the truth? Or do you put down this experience, return to the present moment and try to help your suffering friend the best you can?

Bodhidharma was a great monk who brought Buddhism to the east. A great teacher who probably could have lived his life as a blissed-out hermit, instead decided to share what he had found. Hence we say that Bodhidharma's family motto was "How can I help?"

No attainment, with nothing to attain. We return to this present moment.