White Wind Zen Community

A Community practising and teaching Dogen’s Zen since 1985

Every Breath You Take 126: After the Heat when the Cool Comes

Dharma Talk Presented by Ven. Shikai Zuiko O-sensei

Dainen-ji, February 4th, 2012

bodymind is letting you know you're alive!

in this moment, 
so you can practise, 
no matter what's going on,

no matter how the temperature is, whether it's hot,

whether it's cold, 
whether you're feeling heat

or whether you're feeling cool, 
whether you're feeling tired,
whether you're feeling sore... 

All of these things are moments of experience,

the moment you notice anything about experience, about experiencing,


you're the Knowing of that,

you have the capacity to 

feel the breath

to feel the whole bodymind in the moment 

and through the act of doing that,

you are wearing away habitual patterns and tendencies
you are wearing away the kleshas

of passion, aggression, and stupidity. 

The process of being a human being is the same for all human beings,
that's why what was written 1600 years ago is still pertinent,

is still very much to the point. 

The verse: 

After the heat when the cool comes,
"May all beings

Experience completely Reality

And their heat be cooled." 

So are we talking about the heat of the weather?

Are we talking about the heat that is generated
when attention folds into some story about what's wrong,

and as that attention feeds the story of self-image,

there are effects in the bodymind that can be felt,

we can heat up
and often when states such as anger have been fed

they can seem to be
very hot

very dangerous... 

we can be reminded that the flames of passion, aggression, and stupidity

can be worn out. 

So, a little warning here:

when you notice that you are in a state

of any sort, really,

it's the wrong time to make any sort of important decision. 

Interestingly enough, in our own experience, when we have anger,

when we have anxiety, 
when we have any of the labels that we like to apply
to this amalgam of sensations that bodymind is feeling,

well that's when we really want to say something to somebody,

we feel compelled... 

So do your best:
feel the breath,
feel the feet,

feel the bodymind,
and stuff it! 

Bite your tongue if you have to,
sit on your hands if you have to,
feel the breath,

feel the whole bodymind, 
and wait for that passion,

wait for that state to pass before making any decision,
before saying or doing anything. 

What you're actually doing is recognizing
that flame of burning passion, aggression, and stupidity,

and by feeling the breath,

feeling the whole bodymind, 
you are jumping into that Ocean of Reality, you're saying:

that's not the only thing that's going on. 

There's seeing, and hearing, and tasting, and touching, and feeling, and smelling...
there's the objects of the senses that are seen and heard,

and tasted and touched and felt,

so this state that self-image is firmly convinced of, 
is NOT the only thing going on,
and you have the choice,

you can feel the breath,

you can feel the whole bodymind. 

NOW, self-image,

that contraction into a sense of self

often will pull out things from years ago:

slights and insults and little feelings
and instances that it's completely convinced of,

and throw them onto that pyre

so that we can get a really good blaze going... 

But recognize that those too are moments of experience, those too are dharma, 

so they're just there. 

So take a big chance:

feel that breath,

feel the whole bodymind,

jump into the Ocean of Reality, [O-sensei hisses and students laugh] 

...let it burn out... The verse again: 

After the heat when the cool comes, 
"May all beings

Experience completely Reality 
And their heat be cooled." 

Thank you for listening.