One knows it is summer when Tesshin uses a beach related theme for this week’s talk. He invited to group to imagine a beach and then imagine the waves flowing in and out. When looking at waves, we tend to compare and contrast them like everything else in our lives. There are good waves for surfing. There are waves which make the “correct” crashing sound. Of course, there are also weak waves which peter out before they actually do anything useful.
But have we ever considered things from the wave’s perspective? What is the nature of a wave anyway? Tesshin wanted us to consider that even the weakest wave has no shame – it is “of the wide and expansive ocean” like any other wave! This is a very powerful message! Although each wave has different characteristics – at the end of the day, they are simply manifestations of the same unity – the ocean. Whether the wave is tall, short, perfect, or feeble – this is only a temporary characteristic. None of these temporary attributes changes the absolute truth that the wave is the ocean and always will be the ocean. This is the absolute reality or “suchness” of the wave.
Tesshin was using the wave to teach us the difference between temporary relative qualities and our indestructible absolute nature. It is this nature we are trying to rediscover in practice. He called this the “Bigger I” as opposed to the “Smaller I” we use in our day to day existence. So we are invited to contemplate what bigger undying reality we are part of. This is the “True Nature” Buddhism is pointing to through so many skillful means. Our job, like that feeble wave is to realize that we are something much more than this single manifestation – we are one with a much bigger reality – like the wave IS the ocean. At this point, Tesshin cautioned us. He emphasized that the wave is not part of the ocean – that still separates it from the ocean. The wave IS the ocean. It is the same with us – we are not part of suchness we ARE suchness. This is the deep message of our practice. The challenge is reaching this insight when daily life calls on us to exist in the “Small I” of jobs, grocery shopping, and paying taxes.
Tesshin wrapped up the talk by announcing that Yorktown Zen will be holding a “Day of Zen” at the end of August. Tentative dates are either Saturday August, 24th or Saturday August 31st. The day of Zen will include Zazen (meditation) along with classic Zen arts including formal lunch and Japanese calligraphy. Tesshin invited everyone to come out to the retreat and invite friends as well. More details will follow. Please consult our EVENTS page at: http://www.yorktownzen.org/events.html