Feeling superior to others is a common problem for most of us. We cut off other people and dismiss them based on how they look, their gender, or even their age. This arrogance is a barrier to progression in our spiritual life and indeed in all of our life. But it's never too late to see our faults and do our best to turn them around. Our arrogance is based on our conditioning, but if we thoroughly explore ourselves and get beneath the surface, we can understand the root of these attitudes and take responsibility for changing. We see that we don't have all the answers, and this humility allows us to commit ourselves to the spiritual path.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).
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