The Current of the Sangha

At the little grassroots zendo I frequent, we have an open door policy for practitioners and the result is a wide spectrum of practice that both heartens and grounds me.  You come to practice; not to impose your personal view of practice on others.  With that simple respect for others there follows a sense of shared space that empowering us.  A simple, earthy and direct feeling of intent permeates the room.  Just below that simplicity there is an murmured current of the mystical, of the insubstantial, of the unknown.  That is the current of the Absolute (Transcendental crap and Zen trickery according to @yogacic) that awakens both our humility and our arrogance, passing through each practitioner in turn.

The current passes through my own silent sitting (I do not sit, intentionally, with koans); through the insight meditation of the Theravadan practitioner seated to the right of me; it arches to the person clicking through her mantras; it continues to the person sitting with Mu and onward to the simple practice of a confused and overwhelmed newcomer.  The electricity can cause query and debate; in each of us, our Great Doubt and Great Vigor is aroused.  Agreement is not always possible but strive to appreciate the growth that is inherit with differences in perception and opinion.

Labels of practice come and go.  They provide limitations and walls in order to contain that which is chaotic.  A loose taxonomy of our practice.  The evolutionary tree of Zen is like tying a rope around a winter morning’s icy mist.  An illusion of control and understanding.  This person is defined as intellectual; that one practices from the belly; this one is clueless; this one practices for the benefit of all; that one for the benefit of just one.  Each label a presupposition; an arrogance; a misdirection.  Lost in the fog we image we are sitting aloft in the clouds pretending to have roped the Absolute but caught a fencepost instead. 

Practice of any kind does not exist in a vaccuum or on the top of a mist-covered mountain.  It is not isolated on the humid streets of Atlanta or the cold desolation of winter on the plains.  My primal urgency blends with your basic relaxation.  Moments of frustration, skepticism or conversation all add to the spiritual space.  The lightening strike of the sangha sets a blaze of practice.

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2 thoughts on “The Current of the Sangha

  1. Thanks TimmyMac, I appreciate that you are enjoying them. Every time I write I think about what Loori Roshi said “No subject or even object of your attention exists. When you are the thing itself, it pervades the whole universe.” When I write I try to simply write. Just letting it go and see what comes out. Sometimes it works well…other times it doesn’t. But why would that even concern me?Cheers!

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