Set aside time for retreat practice. It could be a short block of time like four hours or for multiple days. It could be solitary or with a group. Whatever your meditation practice is, it is important to retreat from your everyday busy world and take some time to look at your mind. Receive whatever arises…and don’t evaluate. Whatever you can do, schedule it ahead of time and just do it.
Sokuzan reads from Dogen’s essay “Turning the Dharma Wheel”: “When one person opens up reality and returns to the source, space in the ten directions also opens up reality and returns to the source.” Sokuzan teaches that opening up reality and returning to the source means finding a way to step outside temporarily into the space of being able to receive what is coming at you in the practice of meditation.
This talk is based on these two lines from “Sandokai” often translated as “The Equality of Sameness and Difference”, which is chanted daily at SokukoJi as part of the morning service: “Reading the words you should grasp the great reality. Do not judge by any standards.”
You can’t really think your way out of addictions. Rather than talking about recovering from addictions by controlling behavior, Sokuzan teaches addiction awareness meditation. Through sitting meditation practice, by training the mind to observe what is happening in all of the sense fields, mind and body not separate, we are training awareness to see situations as they arise so what to do becomes clear without evaluating or trying to get rid of anything. You need to spend a lot of time training your mind. Dedicate at least an hour a day to your practice.
Thoughts appear and then start to go away, but because there is something about the nature of thoughts that supports a self, an identity, an ego that just thinks about me, me, me, me and my stuff–or the nearest extension of me like my property, my children, my family–we go back over old things for some kind of resolution and bring them back to life, pumping fuel into them out of fear or desperation or insecurity. What should we do? In today’s talk, Sokuzan teaches the importance of prioritizing awareness to work with the entire situation.