SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XLI

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Below is a picture of the 'Medicine Buddha', typically found in Tibetan and other esoteric schools of Buddhism, and a chanted request that the sick be healed.

In our Zen practice, we do believe in nursing and comforting the sick of this world. It is the Precepts in action.

But, we ask in Zen, what is there ultimately in need of healing?

Is there anything lacking, thus in need of prayer?

My attitude toward prayer is pretty much summed up by this old joke (after all, laughter is the best medicine) ...

At the opening night performance of a play a famous actor keels over dead on stage. There is understandable pandemonium as audience and theater company alike are in shock. The Theater Manger comes out and announces to the crowd, "We are very sorry, but in light of the circumstances tonight's performance has been cancelled."

Way up in the balcony an Old Lady shouts, "Give him an enema!" The Theater Manager explains the situation again and again the Old Woman shouts, "Give him an enema!" This goes back a forth a few times until the finally the Theater Manager tells the lady, "Don't you get it? He's dead. How could an enema possibly help?"

The Old Lady's response: "Well, it couldn't hurt!"

Abandon all involvements. Give the myriad things a rest. Do not think of good and bad. Do not care about right and wrong. Stop the driving movement of mind, will, consciousness. Cease intellectual consideration through images, thoughts, and reflections. Do not aim to become a buddha. How could it be connected with sitting or lying down? [Nishijima]

Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think "good" or "bad." Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down? [SZTP]

Press on arrow for 'play'

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