True disciples do not need very much.
Happy with what they have,
they continue to make good progress along the path.
Dhammapada verse 366.
The path is straight but the journey may be long.
When I was an adolescent I was afraid of life. Everything disturbed me and it seemed that there was always an ongoing battle to control my environment so I would feel secure. Of course, it was never really effective for me in the same way as it is never really effective for anyone else.
Then I met meditation. Then I met a Master. Then I met the training. Then I met me.
These things became my life and I quickly saw the value of surrendering into the practice rather than continually trying to make things more comfortable for myself.
The notion of quick fixes, instant enlightenment, certificates and personal prestige never occurred to me, and I was simply and lovingly instructed to 'do the work'. To sit with the mind. To be accepting of what it presented and to let go of my attachment to it as being who and what I am.
So now, and for many, many years, I gladly share my precious training with others. This is the spirit of Dhamma; to share that which we ourselves have benefited from.
On our retreats you are instructed to sit in silence, to move slowly and elegantly, and make every moment a moment of training. To give up attachment to the world and all the distractions it offers, and to give up attachment to the mind and its endless obsessions and desires.
To paraphrase the Zen Master Kanchi Sōsan:
'This Dhamma Path is not difficult, it just means giving up picking and choosing.'
Once we truly understand this teaching, we will come to retreat empty of personal conditions and commit to the purity of practice. We will be ready to put down the cause of our own unhappiness simply by being with things as they are. Accepting the programme that is offered, accepting the food that is offered, accepting the accommodation that is offered, and simply letting go of the needs of 'self' by settlng into the illuminating practice of letting go.
If we let go a little there is a little peace.
If we let go a lot there is a lot of peace.
If we let go completely, complete peace.
Whether you are sitting, standing, walking or lying down, and every possible variation of those things, we can be aware, we can be openly accepting. Not to follow the mind but to be one with it. To be at peace with it. To let, go, let go, let go. Such a simple instruction and often so hard to do. To allow the self identity to fall away and let the heart, that fearless loving part of you, to open and manifest into your life.
It is only the way I was trained by a loving caring Master. It is now only what I share with my disciples.
Often people from other styles of training disagree with me, but life is the true test of the depth of our practice. Sooner or later we will meet the consequence of our deepest wisdom, or persistent delusion.
Offered with humility.
We don’t need to create love.
It is a mistake to think that there is a desired state of being to be attained and then held on to through some kind of Dhamma practice.
The minds nature is to be pure, loving, compassionate and joyful. These are the innate conditions that lie below the fears and desires that fill our life. Our practice then is not to create a special spiritual state to hold on to, but simply let go of the obstacles to the purity within.
It’s like wishing we could be naked and not realizing that our very nakedness always exists beneath our clothes.
May all beings be happy.
The Master was asked, “Are you enlightened?”
He replied, “How can I be enlightened?
All the great Masters, past and present speak of Love as the answer to all the difficulties of the world, but it is for true disciples of Dhamma to hear these words, not only with their ears, but with their heart and their whole being, and then apply them to their life.
From: The Face of Dhamma by Michael Kewley
Follow Michael on twitter@MichaelKewley and facebook
Next Pure Dhamma Newsletter, January 2021
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