All restrictions have been lifted in the prefecture of Okayama. This is not so for all other prefectures with the big cities, and one is able to move freely within the prefecture only.
There are still many infected in the world, many have died with the virus, yet the numbers seem to slow down and the pandemic seems to come to an end.
Yet we cannot let go of our energy because it would let confusion rise. Especially people who are still in a lockdown situation, needing to observe social distancing, they are going through difficult times. Please take your wide and huge state of mind as most important.
Vimalakirti is being greeted by Monjusri Bodhisattva and 84,000 bodhisattvas. Vimalakirti had prepared his room so that everyone could fit, he had taken things out and his room had the size of 9qm. This is where he was resting in bed. This is the same size as a tea ceremony room in the traditional manner. Not many people would join for the tea ceremony, just a few people, so that a delicious cup of tea could be enjoyed together. The host was preparing the room and tea tool according to the guest who would be joining.
Just like the room of Vimalakirti, there is nothing extra in a tea room. A calligraphy is hung in the tokonoma with the teaching of the Buddha written on it. In the fire place the charcoal was burning, giving some warmth, the water in the tea kettle was boiling and making a soft sound. A single flower just about to blossom was decorated in the tokonoma, while a delicious fragrance from the incense could be perceived. One would not speak about society, rather quietly enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the cup of tea.
When people in society hear this, it might sound rather strange. But within this setting, each person can feel that they are alive right here and now, they can experience their own life energy. The words of the calligraphy give a deeper sense, the flower just about to open shows life energy in its fullest moment. The smell of the incense purifies our mind while the tea moistens our throat. This is where we are completely alive. We did not come from somewhere nor are we going anywhere. We are alive here and now.
When Monjusri entered Vimalakirti´s room, he said: “Truly your place is splendid. When I enter, I do not feel like I am entering. When I meet you, there is no dualistic idea of meeting you being inserted. The experience of a huge state of mind is all there is. “ Vimalakirti replies: “This is the wisdom of Monjusri.”
This is the awakening in Zen. No need to imagine anything special in our head, but returning to the simple experience of life energy. That is where we feel huge in mind, we can stay simple within. That is called Zen.
In tea ceremony the room is 9qm, it can take maybe 6 people at a time, but when they keep exchanging, thousands of people can enter the tea room, and it does not feel tight. What is important, that each person experiences this hugeness of mind.
Look around your place, are there many extra things? Can you make your own place more simple so that in your own room, you can experience your own life energy in a straight forward way? This is so important.
When we sit in the zendo, we feel this huge space all around. And we sit. We can sit as if the whole world is settling in our mind. No need to have difficult thoughts about how not to think, but naturally sit quietly and see the world as your own mind. That is zazen. Someone said: “When I do not think during zazen, how can I move from this experience to help others?” This question only comes about when you look at it from a mental point of view. Letting go of extraneous thoughts, this purified mind of zazen functions like a mirror. No ideas added to that which we reflect, which we experience as being ourselves. Zazen is not about sitting and forgetting the pain of the world, that would not be true zazen. We let go of our preconceived ideas and then we are bright as a mirror.
When this happens, then this mirror sees the sad person and feels that sadness as one´s own. A joyful person makes us joyful, a child makes us become a child. When we do not hold onto ideas, we become each moment which we experience. Each moment is the truth. That is the great value of zazen.
In our mind we stay immovable and our sense perceptions take this world in clearly. When the Buddha saw the morning star, he became one with it, in this morning star, the Buddha experienced his own truth. Hakuin Zenji heard the morning bell as his own truth. Reiun Osho became awakened when he saw the flower blossoming. When we do not add on mental ideas to the experience, then each encounter is experienced as truth. This is how deep we can perceive all.
This is our zazen. To return to this state of mind free from judgement and ideas. A tea room is 9 qm and the whole universe can settle in it. All humans of this planet can find place in it. When we think about it mentally, it does not work.
When doing samu, take the weed, the stone, the branch, but if you throw them together, they are garbage. But if you take each one of them for what they are, you can give life to them. The weed becomes fertilizer just like the fallen leaves. The stone can be put in a place that is washed out, sand can fill small holes. If you look at it in this way, in the end, you have nothing left. If you do not see the value of each particular thing, then you end up with a mountain of garbage.
There is nothing extra, all is needed. This is how our huge mind can see through things, that is using our wisdom. Zazen is not about idle speculations, but to actually bring this into action. Return things to the place they belong. This is how each thing becomes important. This is the wisdom of the ancients, which we are studying, and from there we can know for ourselves, how we can act in society. Zazen is not some scenery, but it embodies the power to act according to necessity. Thus our daily life also becomes an expression of our huge mind.