Friday, September 29, 2017

Pro Life Choice

Some words from one of my favorite authors, Kosho Uchiyama, in his book, The Wholehearted Way:

"Buddhism puts emphasis on life, the actual life experience of the reality of the self."

No matter how many times i read that sentence, when i get to "life experience" my brain tries to take over and assume he is talking about the experiences we have as we go about our normal daily life: meditating as the sun comes up, grabbing a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts on the way to work, that nasty SOB that showed up in the car next to me on the way home, dinner and a nice evening of conversation with a good friend. But that is not at all what is being referred to. Once i switch the words to "the experience of life," my head blinks back into focus. This doesn't refer to any external experiences in the phenomenal world; this refers to the experience of Life itself, experiencing that marvelous thing called Life, the one and only reason you are here to read these words.

He goes on to say:

"What Buddhism is concerned about is not something abstract, but the very concrete and actual reality of life. All beings exist through life experience of the self. The self lives out itself in the life experience of all beings. The life experience of the self and the myriad beings that we experience are one. This is the reality of life."

This is the reality of life — that thing called Life that animates you, that makes you alive, that gives you existence, is the same in you, in me, in the cat sitting on your windowsill watching the butterflies outside, and in the rocks in my garden.

"The life experience of the self and the life experience of all beings can never separate into subject and object. That which experiences and that which is experienced cannot be divided into two. This reality that cannot be differentiated into two is called dharma or mind, and it is the meaning of the expression 'dharma and mind are one reality' (shinpō ichinyo)."

For me, this is a large part of what the Henro Trail is all about: Can you walk throughout the day in such a way that you don't interact with your environment inside the normal subject/object duality. Can you see everything as that one, indivisible life experience. Can you see each and everything you encounter, not as something separate and forever distinct from yourself, but as a manifestation of that life experience; manifesting in you and manifesting in what you have encountered in the exact same way, at the exact same time, and in both cases constantly changing, never permanent.

This is all part of the game called being a henro (pilgrim) — constantly bouncing back and forth between seeing the world as one manifestation of this life experience and seeing the world in the normal subject/object duality. Focusing your eyes and seeing Dave standing over there, and then relaxing the eyes and seeing me standing here and me standing there.

So, when you get bored while out there walking, try playing the henro game. Cross your eyes and see two faces, then uncross your eyes and see the candle stick. Squint and see the old lady and relax your eyes and see the young woman. Leave your brain all twisted up and see nothing but a phenomenal world or relax, let go, and see that thing called Life everywhere.

No comments: