April 8, 2023 - Great Activity

Mind itself is Buddha. Things “as they are” are already perfect, just realizing it is enough, then we can uphold great Buddha activity. This is like walking on a steep muddy slope, just a moment of inattention and you can slip, sliding down into the rocks below. “If we already have Buddha nature, then why practice?” This is the question that drove Dogen and the answer balances on a razor’s edge.

To see things as they are is to see our delusions clearly, and (we’re taught) delusions are inexhaustible, so our activity must be too. Our delusions are precious. Without them we would cannot come to know and express the Living Dharma, so no one else could either. Without delusion expression is flat and dull, not even a shade of the endless kaleidoscopic activity of a total human being. That doesn’t mean being fooled by them though. It’s a simple question, is the True Dharma real or not? If it’s real, and it has the power to relieve all suffering, then it should be expounded. But how?

How would anyone ever know the dharma without a true teacher acting it out in their Great Activity? This doesn’t mean making a grand gesture to liberate all beings. Beings are already liberated, remember? It also definitely doesn’t mean the complacency of regarding everything as already complete. It means a steady negotiation of delusion in this here-now moment in the ordinary activity of my daily life. It means taking twenty years to build a stupa, one block at a time, and twenty years to dismantle a gambling house.

Who can undertake such a project and under what power? The only force I know of is Emptiness Power, which is to say it’s no different from what you truly are. By accepting the inevitability of some measure of suffering and fearlessly inquiring into its cause, then aiming to bring self and others across, the whole of Life seems to rise to my aid.

True practice activity resounds in the echo of true questions. Where is true safety to be found? What am I choosing today? I’m wondering if the Way of the ancients doesn’t look just like this. Following this Way, maybe one day the stupa will be complete, and beings from hundreds of miles around will radiate with its great light.