Showing posts with label Zen Master Bernie Glassman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zen Master Bernie Glassman. Show all posts

Zen Master Bernie Glassman passed away yesterday. What a loss.

He is a living example of a great Bodhisattva living his life actualizing anatta and Maha total exertion in activity, integrating Zen practice with social action, benefitting many sentient beings.

Zen master Bernie Glassman, "Instructions to the Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons to Living a Life That Matters"
When I first began to study Zen, my teacher gave me a koan, a Zen question, to answer: “How do you go further from the top of a hundred-foot pole?”
You can’t use your rational mind to answer this koan—or any Zen question—in a logical way.
You might meditate a long time and come back to the Zen master and say, “The answer is to live fully.”
That’s a good beginning. But it’s only the rational, logical part of the answer. You have to go further. You have to demonstrate the answer. You have to embody the answer. You have to show the Zen master how you live fully in the moment. You have to manifest the answer in your life—in your everyday relationships, in the marketplace, at work, as well as in the temple or meditation hall.
When we live our life fully, our life becomes what Zen Buddhists call “the supreme meal.”
We make this supreme meal by using the ingredients at hand to make the best meal possible, and then by offering it.
This book is about how to cook the supreme meal of your life.
This book is about how to step off the hundred-foot pole.
This book is about how to live fully in the marketplace.
And in every other sphere of your life.
Most people come to see me in my capacity as a Zen teacher because they feel that something is missing in their lives. You might even say that most people come to Zen because they are hungry in some way.
Maybe they are successful in business but feel that they have neglected the deeper, more “spiritual” aspects of life. These people come to Zen to find meaning. Other people have devoted so much time to their own spiritual search that they end up having neglected their livelihoods. These people come to Zen to “get their life together.”
Then there are people who want to practice Zen for health reasons. They find the posture and breathing that accompany Zen meditation especially helpful. The regular practice of Zen meditation, for example, lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. The lungs function better, so that you can breathe more deeply and powerfully.
Other people are drawn to Zen for “self-improvement.” They come to Zen because they want to accomplish more or become “better” people.
Finally, of course, there are people who practice Zen for spiritual reasons. These people want to experience satori or kensho. “Satori” literally means awakening, and “kensho” literally means seeing into our true nature. This seeing is done not with our eyes but with our whole body and mind.
All these reasons are valid. Zen can help you restore balance to your life. Zen can be beneficial for your health. Zen can help you sift through your own priorities, so you can get more done.
Zen can also improve your psychological health. The practice of Zen doesn’t eliminate conflict and strife, but it does help put our problems in perspective. Zen practice gives stability, so that when we get knocked over, when something unexpected sends us reeling, we bounce back and recover our balance faster.
The practice of Zen can help us in many other ways as well. It can give us an experience of inner peace; it can strengthen our concentration. It can help us learn how to let go of our preconceptions and biases. It can teach us ways to work more. These are all beneficial effects—but in a sense, they are still all “side effects.”
At its deepest, most basic level, Zen—or any spiritual path, for that matter—is much more than a list of what we can get from it. In fact, Zen is the realization of the oneness of life in all its aspects. It’s not just the pure or “spiritual” part of life: it’s the whole thing. It’s flowers, mountains, rivers, streams, and the inner city and homeless children on Forty-second Street. It’s the empty sky and the cloudy sky and the smoggy sky, too. It’s the pigeon flying in the empty sky, the pigeon shitting in the empty sky, and walking through the pigeon droppings on the sidewalk. It’s the rose growing in the garden, the cut rose shining in the vase in the living room, the garbage where we throw away the rose, and the compost where we throw away the garbage.
Zen is life—our life. It’s coming to the realization that all things are nothing but expressions of myself. And myself is nothing but the full expression of all things. It’s a life without limits.
There are many different metaphors for such a life. But the one that I have found the most useful, and the most meaningful, comes from the kitchen. Zen masters call a life that is lived fully and completely, with nothing held back, “the supreme meal.” And a person who lives such a life—a person who knows how to plan, cook, appreciate, serve, and offer the supreme meal of life, is called a Zen cook.
The position of the cook is one of the highest and most important in the Zen monastery. During the thirteenth century, Dogen, the founder of the largest Zen Buddhist school in Japan, wrote a famous manual called “Instructions to the Cook.” In this book, he recounted how he had taken the perilous sea voyage to China to find a true master. When he finally reached his destination, having survived typhoons and pirates, he was forced to wait aboard his ship while the Chinese officials examined his papers.
One day, an elderly Chinese monk came to the ship. He was the tenzo, or head cook, of his monastery, he told Dogen, and because the next day was a holiday, the first day of spring, he wanted to offer the monks something special. He had walked twelve miles to see if he could buy some of the renowned shiitake mushrooms Dogen had brought from Japan to add to the noodle soup he was planning to serve the next morning.
Dogen was very impressed with this monk, and he asked him to stay for dinner and spend the night. But the monk insisted he had to return to the monastery immediately.
"But surely,” said Dogen, “there are other monks who could prepare the meal in your absence.”
"I have been put in charge of this work,” replied the monk. “How can I leave it to others?”
“But why does a venerable elder such as yourself waste time doing the hard work of a head cook?” Dogen persisted. “Why don’t you spend your time practicing meditation or studying the words of the masters?”
The Zen cook burst out laughing, as if Dogen had said something very funny. “My dear foreign friend,” he said, “it’s clear you do not yet understand what Zen practice is all about. When you get the chance, please come and visit me at my monastery so we can discuss these matters more fully.”
And with that, he gathered up his mushrooms and began the long journey back to his monastery.
Dogen did eventually visit and study with the Zen cook in his monastery, as well as with many other masters. When he finally returned to Japan, Dogen became a celebrated Zen master. But he never forgot the lessons he learned from the Zen cook in China. It was the Zen cook’s duty, Dogen wrote, to make the best and most sumptuous meal possible out of whatever ingredients were available—even if he had only rice and water. The Zen cook used what he had rather than complaining or making excuses about what he didn’t have.
On one level, Dogen’s “Instructions to the Cook” is about the proper way to prepare and serve meals for the monks. But on another level it is about the supreme meal—our own life—which is both the greatest gift we can receive and the greatest offering we can make.
I practiced Zen and studied Dogen’s instructions for many years to learn how to become a Zen cook who can prepare this supreme meal. I got up early, around five-thirty every morning, and sat in zazen, or Zen meditation, for many hours. With my teacher I studied koans—paradoxical Zen sayings such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping.” Eventually I received transmission to teach in the Zen school Dogen had founded.
The principles I learned from my study of Zen—the principles of the Zen cook—can be used by anyone as a guide to living a full life, in the marketplace, in the home, and in the community.
A master chef spends many years serving an apprenticeship, preparing and serving thousands of meals. Some chefs keep their recipes and methods secret. But other chefs are willing to distill their years of experience—including failures, mistakes, and successes—into recipes that everyone can use to cook their own meals. In this book I have distilled my years of experience as a Zen cook and included in it my principles and recipes for the supreme meal of life.
Zen is based on the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha was not God, or another name for God, or even a god. The Buddha was a human being who had an experience of awakening through his own effort. The Buddha’s awakening or enlightenment came about through the practice of meditation.
What did the Buddha discover? There are many different answers to this question. But the Zen tradition I studied says simply that when the Buddha attained realization, he opened his eyes to see the morning star shining in the sky and exclaimed, “How wonderful, how wonderful! Everything is enlightened. All beings and all things are enlightened just as they are.”
So the first principle of the Zen cook is that we already have everything we need. If we look closely at our lives, we will find that we have all the ingredients we need to prepare the supreme meal. At every moment, we simply take the ingredients at hand and make the best meal we can. It doesn’t matter how much or how little we have. The Zen cook just looks at what is available and starts with that.
The supreme meal of my life has taken many surprising forms. I have been an aeronautical engineer and a Zen student and teacher. I have also been an entrepreneur who founded a successful bakery and a social activist who founded the Greyston Family Inn, providing permanent housing and training in self-sufficiency for homeless families. I’m also involved in starting an AIDS hospice and an interfaith center.
Of course, the supreme meal is very different for each of us. But according to the principles of the Zen cook, it always consists of five main “courses” or aspects of life. The first course involves spirituality; the second course is composed of study and learning; the third course deals with livelihood; the fourth course is made out of social action or change, and the last course consists of relationship and community.
All these courses are an essential part of the supreme meal. Just as we all need certain kinds of food to make a complete meal that will sustain and nourish us, we need all five of these courses to live a full life.
It’s not enough to simply include all these courses in our meal. We have to prepare the five courses at the right time and in the right order.
The first course, spirituality, helps us to realize the oneness of life and provides a still point at the center of all our activities. This course consists of certain spiritual practices. This practice could be prayer or listening to music or dance or taking walks or spending time alone—anything that helps us realize or reminds us of the oneness of life—of what Buddha meant when he said, “How wonderful, how wonderful.”
The second course is study or learning. Study provides sharpness and intelligence. People usually study before they begin something, but I like my study of things, be they livelihood, social action, or spirituality, to be simultaneous with my practice of livelihood, social action, or spirituality. In this way, study is never merely abstract.
Once we have established the clarity that comes from stillness and study, we can begin to see how to prepare the third course, which is livelihood. This is the course that sustains us in the physical world. It is the course of work and business—the meat and potatoes. Taking care of ourselves and making a living in the world are necessary and important for all of us, no matter how “spiritual” we may think we are.
The course of social action grows naturally out of the courses of spirituality and livelihood. Once we begin to take care of our own basic needs, we become more aware of the needs of the people around us. Recognizing the oneness of life, we naturally reach out to other people because we realize that we are not separate from them.
The last course is the course of relationship and community. This is the course that brings all the seemingly separate parts of our life together into a harmonious whole. It’s the course that turns all the other courses—spirituality, livelihood, social action, and study—into a joyous feast.


Jundo Cohen:

CNN has a beautiful article on Bernie Glassman ...
An American Zen Master has died: An oral history of Roshi Bernie Glassman
By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor
Glassman, who died November 4 at age 79, was a Brooklyn-born Jew, a recognized Zen master, a Buddhist trailblazer, a restless mensch and a serial plunger.
Glassman plunged into aeronautical engineering, into Zen, into leading a Buddhist community, into running a bakery, into growing that bakery into a constellation of social services, into holding spiritual retreats among the homeless and at Holocaust-haunted concentration camps, into writing a book of koans with a Hollywood star, into mourning when his second wife died and into learning to walk and talk again two years ago after a stroke.
The plunges, as Glassman called them, served a spiritual purpose: to uproot preconditioned ideas, bear witness to what's going on and serve those most in need. At a time when many American Buddhists preferred self-development to social engagement, Glassman dismissed "mannequin meditation" and carried his Zen practice from clean-aired monasteries to chaotic city streets, where he led weeklong retreats on sidewalks and in crowded parks.
"Bernie was very clear that meditation was not a refuge from life," said Roshi Eve Myonen Marko, Glassman's third wife. "For him, meditation was total engagement."


Full article:
Finally, now that my dukkha of examinations has ceased, at least for a while, I've some time to type out something I wanted to share for a long time. Bernie Glassman is a real bodhisattva. I actually have this book 'Infinite Circle' with me for many years but it is only now that the book resonates. I'm starting to read it.

Ah wait as I'm typing this I found that it's already typed online, so it saves me from the trouble of typing.

Bernie Glassman:

Chapter One

No Yellow Brick Road

The Heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra
Maha Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra

The Wisdom literature, or the Prajnaparamita sutras, exists in many different lengths. There are versions of one hundred thousand, twenty-five thousand, eight thousand, one hundred, and fifty lines. The version I'm discussing here is twenty-four lines and represents the heart (hrdaya), or essence, of the Prajnaparamita.
    Some people say it's not necessary to read the Heart Sutra in its English translation, that the essence of this Wisdom literature can be achieved by just chanting it in the original Sanskrit. Before I review the meaning of the title, let me say that when you truly just chant the Heart Sutra, all of it is contained in the act of just chanting. When we chant in such a way that nothing else is happening, that all our concentration, all our mental and physical energies are condensed into just being the sound A (the first syllable of the original text, from "Avalokitesvara"), that is all that exists. Just A! Just the elimination of any trace of separation between subject and object, which is nothing but our zazen itself. If we put all our energy into just chanting in this manner, there is no separation, and that state of no separation is the state of sunyata, or "emptiness," or what I also call not-knowing. That is the state of 100 percent action; everything is fully concentrated in this very moment. This is the heart of our practice, to be totally in this moment, moment after moment. It doesn't matter what words are being chanted; when you are totally A, it is not even A anymore; it is the whole universe, it is everything.
    This is the essence of the first word of the Sanskrit title of the Heart Sutra: Maha. The entire title in Sanskrit is Maha Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra, or in English, The Heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra. In a way, the whole text—as well as all of Zen teaching—is summed up in this title.
    Maha is commonly translated as "great" in both a quantitative and qualitative sense—in fact in a very special sense. Maha is so great that there is no outside. An analogy from mathematics may help. If you draw a circle, that circle includes certain things and excludes certain things. If you make a larger circle, there are still going to be things outside the circle. In mathematics, one way of defining a circle or determining its size is by trying to find something outside it. You ask of any given object, "Is this inside or outside?" If it's outside, then you know the object is exterior to the circle.
    Let's look at ourselves. I draw a circle representing who I think I am. In a way, we all do that. When I say that maha means there's no outside, then any object I name is inside the circle of myself, of who I think I am. Everything is nothing but me. If I look at anger, that's me; it's not outside me. If I look at the trees and the river, they're me, too; they're not outside me. Everybody reading this book is me. Moreover, the stars and moon are me; they're not outside. If this is true, then each one of us is this maha. If we are all within the same circle, then all of this is One Body; there is no outside. Since there is no outside, there is no inside either. This is one of the major teachings of Buddhism and one of the fundamental teachings of Zen.
    When we introduce the term outside, that automatically introduces the correlative term inside and creates a boundary, a circle. If there is no outside—for the circle is infinite—then not only is there no inside, there is also no circle anymore. What remains is a single entity, just one thing. This is what is meant by One Body, which is the fundamental meaning of maha.
    Maha is all-inclusive, nothing is left out. In this sense maha also describes what's known as the Way (Tao). Since maha is no-outside-and-no-inside, it is therefore the Way. By contrast, people tend to think that the Way is some kind of path, or that it refers to the way of doing things or some sort of direction that we take. But the Tao is everything. Each of us is the Way; each of us is walking the Way.
    You remember Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz? Someone sets her on the yellow brick road so that she will finally get to the Wizard of Oz. But there is no yellow brick road! We are already on it. Wherever we are, that is the yellow brick road, that's the Tao, that's maha. And maha declares that there is no outside or inside to the path. Everything is the path; we are all on the Way. Where? It doesn't go anywhere! It's the pulsating of life everywhere.
    The second word in the title is Prajna, which is usually translated in English as "wisdom," but in a special sense. In some meditation halls, a monitor hits the shoulders of the meditators with an encouraging stick known as the sword of wisdom, or Manjusri's sword, to help cut off their delusions during meditation, to cut away all their ideas and notions. So this prajna is not wisdom in the sense of knowledge or a gathering of information, nor does it refer to an omniscient sage who knows all the answers. It's not even the wisdom implied in understanding the essence of life. We speak of prajna as the wisdom of emptiness.
    Prajna is empty in the sense that it has no content of its own. It's nothing but the functioning of maha, which is the One Body, or everything as it is. It's the functioning of reality at this very moment, of nothing but this very moment. Being hot, we sweat; the very act is prajna. Sweating is the wisdom of being hot because it's the functioning of this moment as being hot. You light a candle and the light itself is prajna. When we walk in the rain, we get wet—that's prajna. We step on a dog turd and our shoe stinks—that's prajna, the functioning of what is.
    A Nazi putting a young child into the Auschwitz gas chamber is also prajna, so we can't look at prajna in terms of right and wrong, good and bad. The sword of Manjusri, the sword of wisdom, cuts away all dualisms, leaving only what is. The functioning of that state is prajna. It's so vast that most of the time we don't realize we're even experiencing it. For example, you are experiencing a leaf falling from a tree somewhere in Connecticut right now, even though you don't realize it. That's prajna. It's the sounds that we hear, the rain, the sunlight, the smell of flowers, the airplane overhead—directly experienced as not being separate from us. When our ideas or concepts drop away, so does the separation from what is, and the very functioning of this nonseparation is what we mean by prajna. Because prajna is the functioning of maha and maha is nothing but us, prajna is our functioning and we are nothing but prajna.
    The first half of the Heart Sutra explains what this prajna is. The second half explains the functioning of the bodhisattvas, those who realize this prajna. We all manifest prajna, but bodhisattvas have a realization of what it is. It turns out that we are bodhisattvas too, as we shall soon see.

The next word in the title is paramita, which is often translated as "perfection." However, param literally means "to go to the other shore." Paramita is the present perfect tense ("having gone to the other shore"), so it means "at the other shore." Do you know where the other shore is? Some people call the other shore nirvana. Being at the other shore thus means that nirvana is already here. It signifies that we have already gotten to the place where we are this One Body. Instead of thinking of going from the state of delusion to the state of enlightenment, what paramita means is that we are already there. This is the other shore; this is the state of enlightenment.
    We talk about six paramitas, of which prajnaparamita is only one. But the Heart Sutra deals with prajna as the vehicle that takes us where we already are—this is it! Now obviously, if everything is nothing but the One Body, how could there be another shore? On the other hand, if this was so clear to us we'd have no need for Manjusri's sword cutting off the delusion of duality. But we do! For although there is no other shore, it is neither obvious nor acceptable to us. We are always searching for that other shore, for something extra, something outside ourselves, thinking it is some wonderful place we are going to find. We refuse to accept the fact that this is it.
    We don't go to the other shore; the other shore comes to us. Something happens, and we awaken to the realization that under our feet lies the shoreline. This very body is the Buddha, and all the sounds of the world—everything that happens as is—are the Buddha's teachings.
    Everything in Zen is present perfect tense. There is no future, no past—it's all now. There's nowhere to go, nowhere to reach, it's all here, all One Body, one thing. Since we are already here, we are already at the end of the path and we are also at the beginning. We don't practice to become enlightened, we don't practice to realize something; we practice because we are enlightened. We don't eat to live; because we are alive, we eat. We usually think it's the other way around, that we eat and breathe so we'll be or remain alive. But no because we're alive, we breathe, we eat, we do.
    To say that we practice to realize the Way misses the point, because it implies that through practice we're going to attain something, maybe enlightenment. That same logic implies that because we breathe, we're going to be alive, as if being alive results from breathing. No, both are happening at the same time. They're not linear; cause and effect are one.
    We generally tend to look at life from a linear perspective: We do something and that causes something else to happen later. But in fact it's all happening at this very moment. There seems to be a linear sequence, but it's not real. Looking at a movie, we think it's continuous, but in fact it's composed of separate frames. Reality—everything—is here right now. Our minds think that what happens this moment is going to create the next moment, and in a way it does, but this way of seeing things is misleading. Both what happens now and what happens later are all here right now, this very moment.
    If we stop breathing, of course, we won't live very long. Because breathing is the very function of life, one can't not breathe. But breathing doesn't cause life, it's inseparable from it. Breathing is life. It can no more be separated from life than wetness from water. The oneness of cause and effect is this complete inseparability.
    Dogen Zenji says that firewood does not become ash. From our linear viewpoint, we think that the burning of firewood causes the firewood to become ash. But there is no such thing as becoming! Firewood is firewood and functions as firewood; ash is ash and functions as ash. Breathing is life, life is breathing; they're not related as cause and effect. Just as firewood does not become ash, so life does not become death. Life is life and functions completely as life. Death is death and functions completely as death.
    To say there is no such thing as becoming follows from the fact that this is all One Body, all one thing. It does not mean that things don't change. Shakyamuni Buddha said that everything is change. This is it—and it's changing. This is the enlightened state and it's changing. If we can really see that, if we can really let it soak in, there is no way to be upset about ourselves, no way to feel dissatisfied or guilty about not doing things right. It's all going to change, whatever it is. Instead of being tormented by guilt and bad feeling, we simply say, "Well, let's do it better." Whatever it is, is the enlightened state.
    Since this is the enlightened state, it is the best that could happen at this very moment—but best in the special sense that it's happening and there is no choice. It is in this sense that we say everything is perfect just as it is, in the sense of being complete. Take an incense bowl. It's perfect as it is. If I drop it and it breaks into a lot of pieces, each piece is perfect as it is—because that's what it is. We may have the notion that all those pieces should be returned to their original condition as parts of a whole incense bowl so they can be perfect again, but that's just a notion.
    Another synonym for perfect is absolute. The pieces are just what they are. If we add anything to the incense bowl, we don't make it more perfect, we change it to something different. We are perfect as we are. If we add another head on top of our own, we create something else, another kind of creature. If we add anything to who we are, we're something different. Therefore, whatever happens at any given moment is the best that could happen at that moment. Any other conclusion is the result of our ideas about how things should be or are supposed to be, and these too are just notions.
    Sometimes it helps to think of perfect, or complete, or absolute in mathematical terms, meaning that nothing is left out. Again, take an incense bowl. Is there anything left out? We can say, "Well, it should have a top, the top is missing." At that moment we're pointing to something not there that we want to be there. We're coming out of our notions of what an incense bowl should look like.
    There is a wonderful little story from the Surangama Sutra that illustrates the point I am making. Once upon a time there was a prince who, upon waking up, would look at himself in the mirror and exclaim, "Ah! Beautiful!" He was very handsome and he loved himself. One day he woke up and picked up the mirror the wrong way. Because the back of the mirror was not polished, he could not see his face in it and he panicked. "My head is gone! My head is gone! It's missing! It's missing!" He went completely berserk. Running into the streets yelling in this manner, he searched everywhere to find his missing head.
    Eventually some friends saw him and grabbed him, saying, "You have your head. Why are you running around like this?" "No, my head is gone!" the prince insisted. They took him back to the palace but were unable to calm him down. They did not have straitjackets in those days, so they tied him to a pillar. He screamed so loudly they had to gag him. So there he was, bound and gagged, struggling to break loose so he could continue searching for his missing head. Finally, he got tired. (You can only struggle for so long.) When he had calmed down somewhat, one of his friends hit him in the face, and the prince shouted, "My head! It's there after all!"
    For a few days he was beside himself with joy, telling everyone he'd found his head. His head was there, how wonderful! But when all his friends just looked at him in disbelief, he finally stopped being so exuberant about having found his head. It had always been there.
    We have a notion that something is missing or not here, and one day we awaken to the fact that it is here, if only we could see it. And what is here? Just what we are, as we are. Our preconceptions and ideas block our acceptance and realization of this simple truth.
    Because perfect means neither good nor bad, just what is as it is, even the murder of a child is perfect in this sense. It is just what it is. Good and bad are the judgments we add to what is—they're extra. Rain is what is. If we are farmers, we tend to say rain is wonderful; if we're planning a picnic, we think rain is terrible. But rain is rain. People say rain is wet, but a fish wouldn't. Water is the very essence of life to the fish, neither wet nor dry. The fish attaches no notions or dichotomies to it. When we say that something is perfect, we're pointing to this absence of dichotomy or dualism. Within the One Body, there is just one thing happening.
    The brain functions in a dualistic way, breaking things up into this and that. It judges everything we do as good or bad, right or wrong. But good and bad, including the notion of evil, are extra. This does not mean that evil does not exist or that good and bad do not exist. It simply means that they're judgments that exist in the realm of the relative, colors we add to the thing itself. They're as the woof is to the warp, which brings me to the last word of the title, Sutra.
    Sutra has several meanings. We have the English word suture, a joining or sewing of two together into one. Sutra also means warp, the threads that run through everything, the foundation threads of a weaving, or the interweaving of all things. The threads that run through everything are everything. So the sutra is the plane we hear flying outside. Breathing in and out is the sutra. All the discourses of this One Body are the sutra.

In weaving, the warp is the vertical threads, the woof the horizontal threads. For the warp, one chooses strings that are strong, unvariegated, simple, plain, without knots so they can tolerate lots of movement in any direction very easily. What the warp does is support the pattern give it its basic tone. The threads of the woof don't have to be straight, usually they represent the pattern, so any threads can be used: splinters of wood, feathers, even horsehairs! The more complicated the weave, the more effect the color has on the tone. Together, the warp corresponds to the absolute, the woof to the relative, the weaving itself is their oneness. So the sutras are the strings or threads that run through everything, that allow all motion, all forms of life. But what is it that runs through everything and allows everything and anything to manifest?

Let's look at the word Heart in the title. As we have seen, the heart or essence of the Enlightened Way is not-knowing which makes it possible for everything and anything to manifest. As soon as we know something, we prevent anything else from manifesting, from just popping up. As soon as we know something, we limit the thing we think we know. The state of not-knowing is everyone, everything, and anything, constantly manifesting, constantly popping up in accord with changes in time and situation. But if we live out of knowing, this endless manifestation of things, one after another, can't be experienced directly. We're blocked by our notions of what should be happening and get upset because our expectations don't match the way things really are. When we let go of our expectations, we are with things as they are, and we realize the essence or heart of the Perfection of Great Wisdom Sutra.

Maha Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra:
The whole message is right here. If we could really see this word maha, see this One Body, see this one garden that is us, the world would look different. Instead of seeing trees, soil, manure, and flowers as different, separate things, we'd see them as One Body with different qualities, features, and characteristics. We'd see that when we cultivate the soil, we cultivate all the rest. Taking care of the tree affects the flowers; taking care of a flower affects the soil.

In the same way, we usually see the body as a limited, bound thing, yet we know that it has many features -- hands, toes, numerous hairs and pores (all different), skin, bones, blood, guts, an assortment of organs, many feet of intestines. But they're all just one body with many, many features and characteristics. Hit one part and the whole feels it; the entire body is affected. Eat some food and what part is not affected? Breathe, what part is not affected?

Using the human body as a model of the One Body is a little misleading because the One Body has no outside or inside. We have to see this, we have to see maha. How do we see maha? We wake up!