15 December 2011

Precept X

I do not know what the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are, but I have vowed to treasure and uphold them.

Buddha is enlightened Mind and our true nature, too.  Buddha is also the figure on the altar, the lint under the chair, and the price of tea in China or of gas in Poughkeepsie. 

Dharma is the 2500 year old teaching of Gotama Buddha, as remembered by Ananda, accepted by the First Council and carried on backs across mountains and in luggage holds across oceans.  The 10,000 things, no less, are Dharma, too, with their connections, causes and ceasings.

Sangha is the current roster of the Chicago Zen Center and those who stop by.  It is the kindred houses of the lineage.  It is the venerable community of home-leavers.  It is the noble community of householders.  It is men and women of every race and tongue and people and nation.  It is the teeming mass of sentient beings, whether born of egg, womb, water or air. 

The Three Treasures must increase.  I must decrease. 

I have no special place here.  No matter what insight I might come to, it does not trump the living Buddha, the living Dharma and the living Sangha.  As soon as I set myself apart from anything – particularly if that setting apart is based on some kind of practice, or training, or Buddhist or Zen attribute or quality – the precept is violated:
Bodhidharma said, "Self-nature is subtle and mysterious. In the realm of the One, not holding dualistic concepts of ordinary beings and sages is called the Precept of Not Defaming the Three Treasures." 

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