Buddha Mudra ... And All Space In The Universe Completely Becomes Enlightenment

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(BENDOWA XIV)


"Mudra" means a spiritual or powerful gesture, often performed with the whole body. In this case, "Zazen".

Uchiyama Roshi explains ...

"When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind" means with one's three kinds of actions: physical, verbal and mental. We sit in full lotus with our body, put our tongue against the roof of our mouth and keep silent, and mentally we do not seek to become a buddha but put aside the operation of our intellect, volition, and consciousness. That "sitting upright in this samadhi even for a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra" is really wonderful. When we sit in proper form in samadhi, the whole universe of sitting, the world of zazen, opens.
 
The great Dogen Scholar, Taigen Dan Leighton, puts it this way ...

[In Bendowa] Simply just sitting is expressed as concentration on the self in its most delightful wholeness, in total inclusive interconnection with all of phenomena. Dogen makes remarkably radical claims for this simple experience. "When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi for even a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment." Proclaiming that when one just sits all of space itself becomes enlightenment is an inconceivable statement, deeply challenging our usual sense of the nature of reality, whether we take Dogen's words literally or metaphorically. Dogen places this activity of just sitting far beyond our usual sense of personal self or agency.

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When one displays the buddha mudra with one's whole body and mind, sitting upright in this samadhi even for a short time, everything in the entire dharma world becomes buddha mudra, and all space in the universe completely becomes enlightenment. Therefore, it enables buddha-tathagatas to increase the dharma joy of their own original grounds and renew the adornment of the way of awakening. Simultaneously, all living beings of the dharma world in the ten directions and six realms become clear and pure in body and mind, realize great emancipation, and their own original face appears. At that time, all things together awaken to supreme enlightenment and utilize the buddha-body, immediately go beyond the culmination of awakening, and sit upright under the kingly bodhi tree. At the same time, they turn the incomparable, great dharma wheel and begin expressing ultimate and unfabricated profound prajna.

From: Talk on the Wholehearted Practice of the Way - Kosho Uchiyama (with Shohaku Okumura, Taigen Daniel Leighton)




(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

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