“Serene and expansive, [the field’s] directions and corners cannot be found with the mind’s conditioning. People who sincerely meditate and authentically arrive trust that the field has always been with them. Buddhas and demons cannot invade it, pollution cannot poison it. Square or round, they just enjoy the center.”
– Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157)
Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday evening, after our sitting and walking meditation, we are fortunate to explore the wholehearted practice of meditation with Br. Phap Vu, who is visiting from Vermont. I asked him to share with us his intentions for the evening:
Hongzhi Zhengiue is considered one of the most influential monks in the Chan (Chinese meditation) lineage. His life and his writings have had a reverberating effect down the centuries. Much of his writings reflect his deep experiential understanding attained through his practice. As I read his work, I cannot help touching on parallels to the experience that Venerable Master Thich Nhat Hanh refers to as one’s “True Home.” It is through the ardent practice of mindfulness and meditation that we can actually experience this state of expansiveness and equanimity.
Br. Phap Vu (Dharma Rain) was ordained as a monastic by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003. In 2011 he received the Lamp Transmission, establishing him as a Dharma Teacher. Prior to his ordination, as a lay practitioner and aspirant, Phap Vu had practiced meditation in the Chinese Chan tradition for six years and received the Dharma name Original Abiding.
You are invited to join us.
Several teachings by Hongzhi Zhengiue are below
From Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi. Edited and translated by Taigen Dan Leighton.
Drop Off Your Skin, Accept Your Function
In daytime the sun, at night the moon, each in turn does not blind the other. This is how a patch-robed monk steadily practices, naturally without edges or seams. To gain such steadiness you must completely withdraw from the invisible pounding and weaving of your ingrained ideas. If you want to be rid of this invisible [turmoil], you must just sit through it and let go of everything. Attain fulfillment and illuminate thoroughly, light and shadow altogether forgotten. Drop off your own skin, and the sense-dusts will be fully purified, the eye readily discerning the brightness. Accept your function and be wholly satisfied. In the entire place you are not restricted; the whole time you still mutually respond. Right in light there is darkness; right in darkness there is light. A solitary boat carries the moon; at night it lodges amid the reed flowers, gently swaying in total brilliance.
Everyone Included in the Field
Immaculate and dazzling, [the field’s] limits cannot be seen with the eyes’ strength. Serene and expansive, its directions and corners cannot be found with the mind’s conditioning. People who sincerely meditate and authentically arrive trust that the field has always been with them. Buddhas and demons cannot invade it, pollution cannot poison it. Square or round, they just enjoy the center. Their conduct and practice accord with the standard. With amazing effectiveness, as numerous as grains of sand in the river Ganges, they harmoniously mature each other. From this field our life arises; from this field it is fulfilled. This matter includes everybody. Just go forward for me and try to see. People who know its truth nod their heads with comprehension.