Sometimes the trick with coming up with good content is to realize that people are amazing, and doing just enough for them to see that and share it.
Wow, that is some serious sunshine, but *&$% it, its true.
Sometimes I tell myself its hard to come up with Zen games, but its just not. Tonight was an example.
We sat with the koan:
What is Buddha?
This very mind is Buddha.
While we sat, Buddha was put in context. That it was not a religious reference, but rather a placeholder for our aspirations, hopes, perfection. Therfore, while we sat, the koan was recieted in variations:
What is this thing for which I am looking?
This very mind is that thing
What is perfection?
This very mind is perfection
What is this place for which I have been looking?
This very mind is that place.
We sat, we walked, and we had tea.
Then the game began. We were asked to take a moment and find one of the reasons that we decided to leave the ordinary and seek out meditation. Was it that we thought we were lost,or broken, or hopeless?
Once we had that, we sat again, but this time, whenever we were aware of that striving to better ourselves, we looked at that mind and said "This very mind is Buddha, is perfection, is that for which I was looking...".
Simple things when washed through complex people come out great, and I was stunned by the outpouring of honest and clear reactions to the work.
A: Her mind was spinning, and spinning still, but she felt kinder for having accepted the possibility that there was nothing wrong with that
B: She came to quiet her mind, and found that when she considered that it was perfect, it became more hospitable and perhaps even quieter.
C: Lost the thread and was just happy and grateful for the group and community she has found
D: This was the first time she had ever sat or meditated, and she loved the message that maybe she was fine the way she is.
E: A subtle kindness that she never noticed before
F: Noticed how his mind was repeating repeating a song, and it gave him perspective how it used to repeat repeat the same sad story about his life, but that that had changed.
G: Had sat for years as a young man,then left it for years, and now was back and for a while was concerned that his mind was still full of ghosts, but this koan gave him hope that that was as it should be
E: Noticed that she didn't know why she came, but she came, and missed it when she didn't.
F: Recalled her Jewish faith,where the question, not the answer, was perfection.
G: Knew that it was pain that brought him to practice and watched how his mind lamented that for 9 years he had been in pain, but suddenly he experimented with believing that was perfect
H: Noticed how this koan called to other koans, and each of them said, with excitement, "you are alive"
I: Noticed how when he let it, his mind was not uniform. That his thoughts and physical sensations also ran independent, with more space, and that he could notice them, but not dislike them.
We talked for a while longer, sat again, and called it a night.
What a lovely evening.
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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