When we think of spiritual powers, we usually imagine walking on water or performing some kind of miracle. However, Daido Roshi points out that true mystical power resides within the simple actions of our everyday lives, whether we are cooking a meal, washing the dishes, or driving a car. These activities seem ordinary, but they have an extraordinary aspect as well. Yet if our lives are truly filled with the miraculous, why do we experience so much pain and suffering, so much greed, anger, and ignorance? The key lies in stopping our internal dialogue and allowing ourselves to realize the moment-to-moment reality of our life. When we become conscious of our lives and unify our thoughts and energy, our internal light shines without hindrance.
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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