― the 6th Lojong slogan
you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”
-- Yogi Jesus of Nazareth
Today was blog practice. I got up and sat down to the laptop to stare at a blank screen -- and waited.
And waited some more.
After awhile, I got up again, set the timer, and walked over to the altar in the corner of my bedroom. There, I lit a stick of incense and Sat down in front of a different blank screen.
Now, an hour later, I'm ready -- I think.
No longer able to restrain himself, the professor shouted, "Stop. The cup is overfull! No more will go in!". Nan-in replied, "You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup."
I first read that story in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones back in 1970. I now realize I had only glimpsed the rim of that empty cup.
Even as a 24 year old, fresh out of college and engaged in my first year of teaching school, I certainly "got" that there is a difference between the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom. By then, I'd run into factory workers during my seven years of summer employment that appeared to have a much better handle on the Real Deal than most of my college professors. I also sensed from the story that arrogance probably wasn't going to cut it with a Zen master, a fact that I've had verified any number of times number of times over the years as I ran into brick walls with Aries male bravado.
Little did I know, though, that this teaching, like the coffee down at Brad's Place, was being served in a bottomless cup.
Then and Now
For several years now, I've been studying the Lojong Slogans. After reading a number of commentaries a number of times, I began casting a daily slogan from among the 59 slogans for contemplation and practice last year. I continue to be amazed at how helpful they have been.
Today, I cast the 6th slogan of the Lojong Teachings today: "In post-meditation, be a child of illusion." One of the most haunting of the 59 aphorisms that make up this Tibetan Buddhist system of mind training, it is also, perhaps, one of the most radical. It seemingly flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Rather than exhorting us to "grow up and get real", we are encouraged, instead, to recapture the open and spacious sense of wonder that characterizes the mind of the child as we arise from our meditation cushion to move through the day to day activity of our lives.
As Mindfulness Practice develops and we become more acutely aware of the fluidity and transparent nature of our own thoughts and emotions, the ephemeral nature of "mindstuff"