Sokuzan talks about the great importance of sangha, the community of people who study and practice together. By reflecting self centeredness and resonating with clarity, sangha supports your awakening.
Sokuzan’s dharma talk is inspired by a line in Hsin Hsin Ming: Trust in the Heart-Mind, a poem by the third Zen patriarch Seng-ts’an (Kanchi Sosan): “To set up what you like against what you dislike is a disease of the mind”
The first appraisal is the way we feel about ourselves and how we’re doing. The second appraisal is when we don’t like what’s happening in ourselves so we judge others. Sokuzan talks about working with the reaction of appraisal so we see what it really is.
When swamped by a difficult feeling, there is a tendency to label it or jump to a story about it or blame something or someone to get out of that feeling. This covers up the basic situation. Your sitting practice will strengthen your ability to just be with the feeling and help you see what it really is.
Sandokai is a poem by the eighth Chinese Zen ancestor Sekito Kisen (Shitou Xiqian). It is a fundamental text of the Sōtō school of Zen, and has been chanted in morning services at SokukoJi. Sokuzan teaches from this sutra in today’s dharma talk.