Putting the Dharma Body to Work

Clear Lake CloudsHuineng was an illiterate woodcutter in 7th century China (C.E.), who heard a lecturer in the town square say “Let the mind be present, without abode” (a line from the Diamond Sutra), and went on to become a patriarch of Zen. Here’s part of a speech attributed to Huineng:

The Vimalakirti Sutra says, ‘Suddenly all at once, we return to original mind’. And the Bodhisattva Precept Sutra says, ‘Our original nature is pure’. Good friends, see the fundamental purity of your own nature. Cultivate and put to work for yourselves the Dharma body of your own nature.

(“The Platform Sutra–The Zen Teaching of Hui-neng”, translated by Red Pine 2006)

Cultivate and put to work for yourselves the Dharma body of your own nature

I have an essay on Koichi Tohei’s “Four Points of Aikido”, where I arrive at a thing that matches up with “the Dharma body of your own nature”. Here’s the lead-in, and the substance of that essay:

Tohei cautions his students not to feel the body, even as he advises them to “feel the centrifugal force” and “keep the calmest possible position”.

… The centrifugal force at the place of awareness can find an equal and opposite response from everything that surrounds the place of awareness.

… By advising his students not to feel the body, Tohei is again emphasizing the exercise of the senses that coordinate to provide the feeling of location in awareness, rather than any specific location in the body.

As I sit with Tohei’s emphasis on centrifugal force, I realize that for me the exercise becomes in part the distinction of the direction of turn that I’m feeling at the location of awareness, and that distinction allows the appropriate counter from everything that surrounds the place of awareness.

(Post: Four Points of Ki Aikido)

Lately I am cultivating the appropriate counter from everything that surrounds the place of awareness and putting it to work, and I see that I’m happier because of it. I am acting, and yet I am really only a conduit of action–that’s the source of my happiness.

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