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7-Week Zen Practice Period / The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Week 7: "The Zen of Dharma"
Listen to this talk:
Week 7: The Zen of Dharma (34 min.)
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
Awakening Heart (Community of Mindful Living)
December 19, 2010 - Dallas, Texas

You know, the winter holidays are an interesting time of the year. There's so much activity going on, gifts being bought, Shopping, decorations, cooking, baking, but you know, at the same time, it's getting colder, the days are shorter, the nights are longer and there's a sense of feeling sometimes lonely in the midst of the hustle and bustle. How many of you have ever experienced that before? So many of you know what I'm talking about. And so, for some people, it's very easy to fall into getting lost in the crowd, or feeling left out, or with all the hype-ness going on, it's hard to feel authentic, and without that sense of authenticity, there can be this empty feeling, this lonely feeling, and some people can get a little bit depressed, too.

And also, if anyone has had loved ones pass away, sometime near this time period of the year, or the fact that they're not there anymore, when we're wanting to get the family together, it can be very difficult for us.

Well, tonight's topic is the Zen of Dharma, purpose in life. So I hope that what I share tonight will help all of us to get through the holiday season mindfully, strongly, lovingly, and also to help each other as well. One wonderful gift of the universe that we all have practiced tonight is meditation. Meditation can really help us a lot through the craziness and chaos of this time, just keep us coming back to that center over and over again. And I know that even if we're a little bit down or depressed, it's okay that when we meditate, we might feel — It's hard to meditate. When you're a little bit depressed it's difficult to meditate, so, but you just keep meditating, stay with the feelings, be with whatever is coming up. By the way, one helpful hint, is if it's really difficult, very difficult to sit in mediation because of depression or something like that, try walking meditation! Go outside, get your body moving, maybe even hug a tree!

So, it's so important during this time to use the gifts the universe has given us, such as humor, you know, such as laughter, such as laughing ourselves, seeing the humor in things. And another wonderful gift is just going to an inspiring movie, or listening to inspiring music. I know some people love Christmas music, and there are some Christmas songs I like, although after several weeks of it I just want to scream sometimes, but anyway, because of Buddhism I know that all things are impermanent, and they won't play it forever, and New Years is coming, thank God!

Seriously though. It's important to just listen to inspiring music that uplifts our soul, and watch wonderful movies that uplift us, that have uplifting themes. Especially if you're feeling a grey cloud during this season. I remember several years ago, before I knew about this practice of meditation, I was very severely depressed, almost suicidal, and it was around Christmastime, and I went to the movies by myself, because I didn't feel that I had any friends to go with at the time, so I went by myself, but I saw this wonderful movie that just totally inspired me, and it took enough — it cut a hole through the grey clouds enough that I could see a glimmer of light, and it really helped me a lot. So be mindful of the movies you watch during this time. Or any time when you feel a little down. It's very important to be mindful of what we consume with our minds.

Male: What did you see?

Brother ChiSing: I saw—

Male: You set yourself up for that question.

Brother ChiSing: Yes. It's the one "a box of chocolates" — what's that one?

Female: "Forrest Gump."

Brother ChiSing: "Forrest Gump." I saw "Forrest Gump." Well, if he could get through his life and come up with a positive angle, so could I. So. All right. Let's take a deep breath.

So what is our dharma? What is our purpose in life?

The word dharma is a Sanskrit term that is used in Buddhism, but also Hinduism and Jainism and other Indian traditions, Sikhism, as well. The word Dharma has many different layers of meaning. One layer is that Dharma is Truth. It is the way things are. The truth of reality. Another meaning more specifically that is used that in Buddhism we call dharma basically the Buddha's teachings. Any teachings of the enlightened ones is dharma. So that's why you'll hear things like, "I'm going to listen to this dharma talk." You know. Or the sutras, the sacred writings, they are the dharma of the Buddha.

Another meaning in a less formal sort of way, dharma with just a lowercase d rather than a capital D, dharmas when you say dharmas in the plural, it just basically means a phenomenon. So any phenomenon that's happening. Anything that's happening in your body, your mind, in the world, in the universe, it's a dharma. It's an event, it's an occurrence, it's a happening, it's a manifestation of the universe. So sometimes the word dharma when used in the plural, it just refers to these manifestations of the universe, this bell is a dharma, this thought is a dharma, this heartbeat is a dharma. But what's interesting is that this term dharma, it just refers to what we consider the mundane world of everyday existence, and yet that same word also refers to truth, to the enlightened teachings, to the way things are. And that tells us already that the mundane and the sacred are not separate. That all of this is dharma, that the capital D Dharma is learned through the little dharmas of everyday life, you see? So what is your dharma, this next definition of dharma, is your purpose in life? What is your truth? What is the way things are meant to be for you, you see? That's so we can define dharma as your purpose in life? So what is your dharma, your purpose in life?

There are many different layers of our dharma, just like there are many different layers of ourself. So when we say what is your purpose in life, one layer of the meaning is on a more surface level, you might think, "okay, what kind of job am I supposed to have? What should be my career? What is it that I am to do here? How do I fit in, into the culture and the society and the world?" That's what most of us are actually consumed with, that understanding of dharma. Which is important, it's good, it's necessary, we need to make a living, we need to put food on the table, we need to have shelter, money for clothing, etcetera, we need to exist in a healthy way in the world. But mindfully investigate, you see, we've been meditating, and hopefully all of us have been meditating every day, but we don't just—the meditation isn't just for the meditation time. That's not the point. Even though it's good to enjoy it for the meditation time, but the point of it is also that it creates a field effect throughout our whole day, and throughout our whole week, and throughout our whole life, of becoming more aware. Becoming more mindful. So we can take what we cultivated during our sitting time or walking time, and apply it to mindful investigation of our life. So we mindfully investigate. And I'm asking us all to mindfully investigate what percentage of energy we put on the dharma of just simply our existence, of our job and of our career and maybe our wants and desires and basic needs? And think of what percentage is spent there and then look at the percentage that is spent on another aspect of dharma, your purpose in life. A little bit deeper. Which is your calling as a spiritual being on this planet. You know, we have our jobs and then we have our job. We have our career as a doctor or lawyer or janitor or yoga teacher or musician or whatever, and then we have our job, which is simply this, to be a Buddha. To be enlightened and express that enlightenment. And so we each have a unique way that we express that true job, that deeper job, that job behind the job, the career behind the career. But how much time and energy is being spend on that job, versus the other job, the surface job? Which is important and necessary but if we're not spending enough time on our deepest job, even if we're doing this other kind of job, we won't feel fulfilled. Because there will always be something inside of us that will know that this is really not where it's at, and we need to come back to our true purpose, our true mission in life. So there will always be this little nudge, come back, come back to that center, to that true purpose.

So you've got your surface job, and you've got your deeper job, that's individually your job to do as a spiritual being on the planet, but then there's a third job. It's kind of like lower case j o b, upper case J, lower case o b, but then you've got upper case J, upper case O upper case B, okay, as our third, the deepest job. You've got your, you know, your job, your deeper job and then your deepest job. That deepest job is not individual at all. It's cosmic, universal. Because ultimately there's only one self, therefore there's only one job. And that's not individual, so ultimately there's only one job. And what is that? What is that?

(silence)

It's a rhetorical question. But it's also a Buddhist exercise called a koan. So just ask yourself, investigate, with that attitude, "Well, what is that job? What is the job?" You can't ask what is my job because at that deepest level, it's not about me our you. It's about all of us, the one that we all are. And so, what is the job?

There's a koan that's like, who am I? What is this? Maybe you can add this one, what is the job? What is the dharma? What is the purpose of life?

So there's a couple of things I want to share with you tonight, so I'm going to have to talk a little faster so I can squish it all in the next ten minutes so I don't go overtime. A couple of years ago, maybe it's been almost three years now, you know, we all have spiritual breakthroughs due to the practice, over time. And then there's also what might be called a glimpse of enlightenment, and you'll have maybe several glimpses in your life of practice, and I can tell you it does feel different from a breakthrough. A breakthrough is just like feeling flooded with love, or flooded with joy, or flooded with peace. But a glimpse of enlightenment is like, a different perspective. Well, I guess it's like this. Let's say you're in a room, a dark room, and a spiritual breakthrough would be like lighting a candle in the room. But a glimpse of enlightenment would be like opening the window and looking through the window outside and seeing outside. But you can have different intensities of glimpses of enlightenment. Why? It's almost, it's like you're standing in the way far back of the room and you suddenly see that there's a window open, and you can see outside. You can see everything but it's very small, little tiny scenery, whereas someone might have the experience of a glimpse of enlightenment standing right in front of the window seeing everything. You see. You're seeing the same thing but the intensity level is different. So mine was a very small glimpse at the back of the room, not like Ekhart Tolle or Byron Katie who had like right there at the window, but it was so amazing to realize that there is only this one, and this body, mine, is not who I am, and from that experience I had two weeks of feeling, being in the flow, in the zone of this understanding, this, uh, truth. And during that time, when I would have a thought, it would just manifest automatically, you know, and I've already told you one of the things that happened, you know, I had a discussion with one of my teachers about Ekhart Tolle, and I said, "Oh, I'd love to meet him this year, and give him a big hug and tell him thank you for all that he's done." And three hours later I met him! At the airport, baggage claim number two, or whatever it was. I mean, that's just one of many, many examples.

The other, more important thing that happened during that time was a revelation, an understanding of our purpose in life, of the spiritual journey, of the whole reason for the universe. This universe is a Buddha-making machine, basically. And so I saw ten stages of our—our journey, and this is not different from other teachers in the past, but it's just this is how I saw it from my unique perspective, and when we all are enlightened, in little or big ways, or the ultimate way, we will see the same truth but will refract it through our unique way, see, that's the wonderful thing about it. It's the same light, but refracted in different colors. So this is how I saw it, and I checked in with one of my Zen teachers, and she said this is truth, it's good, and it's also very ChiSing, you know, my own little take on things. Again, it's the same truth, but it's through my lens, my unique lens, just like you will have your unique lens when you have a revelation of the truth, right? It just so happens that it's usually comedic when it comes through me.

So let me just outline over here this revelation that I saw in my glimpse of enlightenment. And I'll try to do this quickly. Some of you have heard this teaching before, but some of you may have not. So the first stage of life, I call that innocence, and you can interpret that any way you want, either as an innocent baby, or if you believe in reincarnation, or pre-life, you can think of it as, you know, being one with the infinite pure potentiality of all things, before manifesting into a human form. But then very soon afterwards, coming into the physical realm, we enter the stage of feeling lost, the stage of suffering, right? And then, if—most of us, because of that suffering, and that feeling of being lost, we start going into that next stage of seeking, we become seeker, a spiritual seeker, hopefully. We do a lot of window shopping, probably. I know a lot of people in Dallas do a lot of that. Spiritual window shopping. They go to this group, that group, this thing, that thing. You know. Which is good, it's part of a stage in our life. But then to mature, you need to stop just flitting around from this and that practice and then commit to a practice, commit to a community, commit to a spiritual tradition or discipline. Maybe that means for you just going to the same church and being involved in the volunteer ministry or whatever, reading the scriptures of that tradition, practicing the prayers, like that. But you see, in every tradition, .there is something even deeper, and people yearn for it. I think that most of society is in the stage of number four. You know, they go to church or they go — they have a practice, but there's something deeper within that practice, and this is what this Dallas Meditation Center is all about, to help us remember that there's more. And that is the way of meditation, the way of the transformation of consciousness at the deepest spirit level. There are other modalities besides meditation that help us do that, but meditation is the meat of it, the bulk of that. It's the easiest way to do it. And then as you deepen in meditation, you begin to have spiritual breakthroughs. As you deepen your commitment to meditation, sitting longer, more frequently, and just being regular about it, you know, not needing it to be always blissful all the time, because it's not, and it's not supposed to be always blissful. The bliss helps you want to keep doing it and the difficult parts make you stronger. You see? And so both are important. And that's why you have both, every other day, on the average. Right?

So, you deepen and have spiritual breakthroughs. But then at some point, you have a glimpse of enlightenment, either small or big, where you wake up from being bound by the human identification and you realize and remember, "Oh. I am all of this. This is who I really am. I am all of this. There is only this one." And then, it does not end there. Even though some people think it does, it doesn't. Because you're just remembering who you already are, big deal. You know what I mean? What if one day I forgot my name, ChiSing? Okay, and then suddenly, "Oh yeah, I'm ChiSing! Wow!" It's, you know, I'm so happy! But really, it's not a big deal. I've always been ChiSing. You see what I'm saying? Enlightenment — I mean, at the time it does feel wonderful, and it is a big deal on some level, but ultimately, from the universe's' perspective, it's not a big deal. You just remembered who you always have been. You are. You just remembered who you are. I mean, you know. Wow. Okay. But in remembering who you are, then you also remember your mission, and that is the point of enlightenment, it's the next stages, which is number eight and nine, which are really the same thing, I just divided them into two because I like the number ten, it's a nice even number. I really received nine revelations but I made ten out of them.

Okay. So eight and nine are basically integration and embodiment. In other words, when you awaken to who you are, then you need to integrate that revelation and that truth into your human mind and body the way you think, the way you feel, the way you talk, the way you act. It needs to affect all levels of your being, you see. And this is the interesting thing, is that sometimes you can be enlightened in your upper chakras, but still not yet be enlightened in your heart chakras or y9our lower chakras. T his is very common. This is why you can have these gurus who are really enlightened, truly! About heavenly matters, but they are so stuck in other areas of their lives, whether materially or sexually or whatever, other areas. That's why there can be that dichotomy. So don't stop at enlightenment. Keep getting enlightened. There's always more, always more to be enlightened in your life. And that enlightenment needs to be integrated, and that enlightenment needs to be integrated and this is kind of — integration can be a bit rough. It's like, "I am the Universe!" "I am ChiSing." "I am the Universe!" "I am ChiSing." "I am the Universe!" It can kind of get, you know, make your head spin, and be disorienting. Okay. So. But then embodiment is smoother, so that's why I divided them into two. Integration is kind of rocky, but embodiment is smoother, because now you've integrated, and you embody very deeply the wisdom and compassion of enlightenment, and you're really light.

It's like people who are like considered saints, or bodhisattvas, people like Dipa Ma, who was a beautiful Buddhist teacher who passed away a few years ago. People said that she lived in a small, humble little apartment, and people would walk up the stairs to her apartment, and started feeling energy before they even walked into he door. And when she would greet them, she would just give them a hug and then put her hands on their head, and bless them. And many people said that liquid light would just flood their whole being. And it's possible for all of us to be like that. We can have our light so radiant that people can feel it from a distance. And then ultimately Buddha, full enlightenment. I hesitate to say enlightenment because it's not like there's a point where you stop. Because enlightenment never ends. So maybe it's full enlightenmentning. Or I don't know. It's an active, continual, ever expansive manifestation of full enlightenment. And so that's what we call Buddha. But you can also call it something else. Every tradition calls it something else. But it's the same thing. Different words for the same thing. You say tomato, I say tomahto, okay?

But then what is our purpose in life? Is our purpose to get out of Stage Two and become a Buddha? Well, we might want to like skip every other step. It would feel nice to us. No, that's not really the point. There's a sutra where the Buddha gives a list of ten different things, what is the greatest happiness? One list is, being able to hang out with nice people and not hang out with foolish people. That in itself is the greatest happiness. And then it's like, being able to listen to monks and nuns read the dharma, have a discussion about the dharma, that's the greatest happiness. You know, different things. Then finally nirvana. You know, absolute supreme peace, this is the greatest happiness. Well, which one is the greatest happiness?

All of them. Every stage of life you're at, wherever you're at, can be the greatest happiness. And that is the point. It's not to skip around and neglect something, but the point of our life is to be the Buddha at every stage. To appreciate life in whatever stage we're at. To see the spirit, the beauty, the wonder of wherever we're at, whether we're in innocence or feeling lost or the seeker, the committed one, the meditator, the deepening, enlightenment, integrator, embodiment or Buddha. You'[re always Buddha throughout the whole thing. And to see the Buddha in each stage of your life. That is the point. Yes there is a goal, but at the same time it's also right here, you see? It's both. It's like you are on the way to Buddhahood, and you are already a Buddha. These are both true, simultaneously. It's like if you had a little baby, and it grew up into a teenager, and then into a young adult, and then an older adult. Baby, teenager, young adult, adult, older adult. Well, it sounds like they're different beings, but it's just human being, human being, human being, human being. So maybe you are a seeker, or a meditator, or a deepening person, or an enlightened person, or an integrator. Buddha, Buddha, Buddha, Buddha. You see? Love the Buddha that you are. Whatever your experience is right now, that's the point. Love where you are right now. Because every experience that you have is necessary. Otherwise you wouldn't be having it. All of the good blessings in your life serve to encourage you and bless you. And all of the difficulties in your life serve to become compost, fertilizer, to strengthen the beautiful flowers that are to come, that you can share with all beings.

So in my revelation I realized a second truth about this which was that the most important step in this process about becoming a fully enlightened Buddha is number two, the part we hate the most, the suffering and the feeling lost. And yet that is exactly the part that makes the difference between a bland Buddha of pure potentiality, just white light, to a creative, unique individual Buddha, with it's own unique flavors and colors and nuances—all of us, you see. A rainbow of Buddhas. Not just one Buddha but many, man y Buddhas. That's what the universe is all about. That's our true dharma, our true purpose in life, our true mission, our true job. Is to help the one Buddha to come, the infinite many Buddhas of various shapes, sizes and kinds. This whole universe is simply a Buddha making machine. And the good news is, no single being will ever be lost forever. It's just a stage in our lives. Every single being will become a fully enlightened Buddha. Guaranteed.

That's what I love about the nature of the Universe. It's just guaranteed. You know? It's like a Christian might say something like this: God's will is that all should be saved and that all will go to heaven. But our human free will is how many hells you have to go through to get there is up to you. How long it takes is up to us. But it's guaranteed that we will all become fully enlightened Buddhas because that is already who we are. But how we do it is uniquely our own path. And by the way, this is not a literal thing, it's not linear. You can skip around, but eventually everyone has to do some of, a little bit of everything. But you know, you can skip around, and sometimes you can stay feeling lost throughout several of these processes. And sometimes you have to repeat over and over and over again. Back and forth. But that's what's so wonderful about this journey. It's what makes us unique beautiful Buddhas of various kinds. Sparkling with all of our various colors and variations.

All right. Well, there was a second teaching I wanted to give about the Lord's Prayer that Jesus gave and spiritual mind treatment five steps and how they correspond exactly and how they also correspond to the seven chakras of the energy body. Um, but you know, even if I'm not sharing with you now, deep down inside you already know what it is. Basically, it's just a teaching on how to take the unmanifest and make it manifest. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. As in heaven so on earth. The one Buddha becoming many Buddhas. It's just that. I've really already taught you, you know. So let's take a deep breath.

Amitabha.

Transcribed by Jennifer Jonnson

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