Sit-a-Long with Taigu: Letting go of our territory

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Master Dogen writes the following lines in the Genjokoan:

When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing. For example, when you sail out in a boat to the middle of an ocean where no land is in sight, and view the four directions, the ocean looks circular, and does not look any other way. But the ocean is neither round nor square; its features are infinite in variety. It is like a palace. It is like a jewel. It only looks circular as far as you can see at that time. All things are like this.

[Click through to read more, hear today's talk, and to "sit-a-long" with today's video.]

Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

What things appear to be is a source of deception. We have a tendency to give a very personal interpretation, a somehow twisted rendition of reality. In good faith we could swear that this is it. The diversity and richness of what surrounds us is only concealed by what we add to the naked show, dressing things up over and over again. Believing in our stories, we also believe in the importance of identities: I am a Buddhist, I am a man, a woman, a European, an American, I am gay, I am straight, I am old, young, knowledgeable, etc. The banners we hold are countless, they represent the groups we belong to, the ideas we cherish, the behaviors we choose. This desperate urge to belong and be loved is one of the reasons we miss the point. We end up being far more preoccupied by our little world than the big one, just under our feet. A good sense of humor could help us to kick these castles made of sand, get rid of the addiction to our stories and give us a good opportunity to see beyond this self-centered world we have created. To drop the solemn rigidity that spoils everything. Playing, exploring are also parts and parcels of our practice. Going on holiday is a great thing to do and in Buddhist practice, we don't need a plane ticket and a destination: just have a break from identification. Anywhere, anytime, you can do it.

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

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