Guidance in the time of Corona #16

Dear All,

Are you taking your daily zazen as most important?

In Sogenji there are now 27 people, doing daily zazen and continuing sesshin after sesshin. I wish for everyone that they may experience this kind of taut energy at one point in their life.

Many people are infected by the virus, many have died with the virus. Many countries have put restrictions onto the people of their country, not allowing them to move freely to prevent the spread of the virus.

People being stuck at home, anxiety, uncertainty and frustration must be on a high level. Especially now we need to sit and settle our mind.

In the 5th century in Japan, there was the emperor Tenmu Tenno and a fifth of the population had died. The emperor thought to himself: “This could only be happening because our mind is defiled. We need to purify our mind.” The emperor himself first of all entered the practice of purification, and his people followed along.

We see, hear, smell, taste and touch – these senses stop to function when our mind is not pure. Then many mistakes can follow. Thus we need to purify our mind. By reading the name of the Buddha our mouth is purified. By doing prostrations, our body is purified. Not speaking in an unclear way, not talking gossip about this and that, saying different things to different people. We need to purify our eyes and our ears, and again be open and simple in our mind. And only from there can a new way of life appear.

These days everyone is drowning in the corona virus news, which will come to an end for certain. But how shall we actually life? How shall we continue? That is of great importance to us. If we cannot put our focus onto those central questions, we ill simply be irritated. This experience right now gives us the chance to reflect upon how have we been living until now, it all becomes obvious during challenging times. And how should we continue? This is how challenges help us to bring forth wisdom.

Most people may be worried about their financial situation, but if we only look for a way of how we can be financially comfortable, then for what was this eye opening time all about?
What we have done in the past, we know this best for ourselves. What was right and what was wrong, if we are quiet in mind, we know this clearly for ourselves. This is where we need to purify our mind, our mouth, our body as well. We need to repent, over and over again.

During times of adversity, of sickness and natural disasters, as well as during the last month of the year, repentance is seen as most essential in Japan. During December, we reflect upon our deeds of the year and start again refreshed and purified into the new year. From there something new can start.

Nowadays this tradition has been lost, and the concern is more about one´s personal well being than that of the nation. Whatever happens in the world is not due to a God doing good or bad, but it is humanities creation. Humans have created many problems, and that is why we make efforts and repent. But not just the form of repentance, rather taking the most direct way to purify our mind and practicing zazen.

Zazen is not only about calming the mind, but when our mind is calm what then happens is, that our true wisdom arises. Feelings of greed, hate and delusion bring about confusion and an ego based life. If our mind is quiet, this original wisdom can shine forth. We do zazen and more and more this original mind, Buddha nature, starts to shine forth. Look at this reality in society with calm eyes. Yet do not get scared rather see this is what we have created, see this as your own responsibility, and reflect upon how will you live after corona times. This base is what you can work on now.

Doing zazen, cleaning up all delusions and dust, this is the important point of our practice now. Take this chance now, and practice alive zazen, this is my deepest wish.