Zen 101

Monday, August 21, 2006

Calm Abiding

With palms together,
Good Morning All,
The presentation at Unity Church of Mesilla Valley went very well yesterday.  We expected 25-35 people.  I made 50 handouts.  We ran out!
People always seem to enjoy hearing about Zen and the Dharma.  They seem to feel calmed by the message. Yet, so many resist the practice. My sense is that some of people fear letting go of the thoughts and feelings they have, even if they are the causes of their suffering, as those same thoughts and feelings are so very familiar.
The thing is, Zen will not remove thoughts and feelings, nor will it stop pain.  It will only alter our relationship to them.
The whole notion of "calm abiding" a phrase often used in Buddhist texts, is about relationship. If we are in a small boat in the middle of a stormy sea, our practice of Zen will not calm the sea. What it will do is calm our relationship to the storm itself. We will do what is natural and necessary to do in order to stay afloat.  We will notice the high water.  We will notice our fear.  We will notice the wind. And we will bucket out the water, take down our sail, and make sure all our things are tied down.
Within the storm and the things to be done, we are calmly abiding.
Now, if we shift our perspective, we see that there is no storm.  We see that storm is a word we apply to a set of circumstances and that such a word arouses thoughts and feelings.
So, where is the storm?
Calm abiding is the Zen of relationship to everyday life.
Be well.

Harvey So Daiho Hilbert, Ph.D. 
May All Beings Be Free From Suffering
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