When we do this we can further cultivate qualities of love and compassion that we can apply towards ourselves and other people. We can make use of our painful mind states and transform them into something that opens our hearts and allows us to be of more service to others.
Interestingly, soon after leaving Taego, which I believed to be a 1,600 year old order, I discovered that it was actually formed quite recently as a result of a mass exodus of monks from the Chogye Order in 1970.
The unexpected turn of events last year led me to the Five Mountain Zen Order with whom I was able to ordain just four months ago. Five Mountain is a thoroughly modern and truly authentic Order based in the same Korean Zen lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn. It’s a young and growing “Monastery Without Walls” whose main focus is helping people regardless of their financial means or geographic location. Founded by my teacher and friend Ven. Paul Yuánzhì Lynch, it recognizes and respects tradition while being dedicated to offering people teachings and opportunities to practice in ways that make sense in our current culture and time. Paul is building an international sangha that is inclusive, dynamic, and far-reaching, and together we are trailblazing a path which other contemporary Western Buddhist lineages would be wise to follow.
What a difference a year can make.
One of the most challenging things for people to grasp intellectually is the assertion that all of us are already whole and complete just as we are, right now.
What would it mean to reframe the way in which we relate to our meditation practice?
Instead of seeing meditation as a daily fix for our broken selves, we can correct our view and see it as it really is: a pure and simple expression of our true nature. Sitting practice is the personification of our inherent sanity, not a means to it. When we sit upright and just follow our breath, or just walk, or just chant, or just do whatever we are doing without indulging the endless stream of thoughts that course through our brains, then and only then are we being awake.
It’s just as natural as witnessing a mountain standing tall and express its mountain-ness. There’s nothing special or exotic about it.
From March 25, 2012