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DMC 4th Anniversary & Wesak: Understanding the Power Available to Us
Listen to this talk:
DMC 4th Anniversary & Wesak: Understanding the Power Available to Us (33 min.) MP3
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
May 18, 2014 - Dallas, Texas

What is interestingly on my heart these days is to be open to the power that is available to us. You know, lately I've been really enjoying the Chinese philosophy of heaven, humanity, and earth, these three energy centers and powers to help categorize our manifold experiences and spirituality. And I've noticed that in my own process of healing that I am doing my best to educate myself on all the different modalities of healing that there are, and wow, we live in an amazing time when there is so much wisdom and knowledge and understanding about health, more than ever before. We may not be aware of them yet, but it is available. All you have to do is Google, and it is there.

So, I am learning about different things, such as maybe around seven major factors that can cause disease and cancer and other things, I want to be able to take a look at those areas in my life and see what changes I need to make. And you can go into so much detail into each one. There are so many details about these things. Here is the thing: As you're trying to go into the details about healing yourself, for example, one of the details has to do with air toxicity. And as I started to investigate the toxicity levels and exposures in my life and others' lives around me, I am shocked to realize that it is almost as if we are all born into a sewer. Really. It is that bad.

In the last 150 years since the Industrial Revolution, our planet really is like one giant sewer now. It is terrible. But as I began to investigate, I started to realize there are so many different ways of being toxic. Not only our water, our air, our soil, our food, even electromagnetic frequencies that are overwhelming for us, our cell phones, the AC generator outside my bedroom window. I moved my bed, by the way, away from that. You see, here's the thing. When you start learning about the details about how to see the toxicity in our lives on many levels and then try to change them, there's one thing you must be very careful of.

If we start trying to do all these details in a frantic way, in a desperate way, in a dreading way, in a way of hopelessness and despair, that is not healthy. Guess what worry and stress is also? A toxin, right? So we do not want to add emotional toxicity on top of everything else. So we need to be careful. We do our best with the details, but we do it in the spirit of trust and mindfulness and a knowing that in the end, all is well. We have to do our part and help and change and transform our lives and our world and at the same time, the truth is, all is well. So we do our changes into the details and do the transformations and do all of our health practices, all in the spirit of trust and faith. All is well.

And you see, as we are taking care of the details, there are also two other modalities of healing as well that we need to take into account. See, I kind of categorized doing the details in the earth category. It is a good foundation. But also, there is also the heart and the spirit categories, or the humanity and heaven categories. And that would cover those aspects of our practice that are about relying on the energy of the universe. In Chinese philosophy, we call it chi. It is also called qi, and other dialects have different pronunciations for it. But chi is always there. As we practice, we are just simply tuning into what is already there.

So you could even say that as you're practicing tuning into what is already there, you are also generating it as part of your manifestation. So it doesn't matter how you look at it. It is just tuning into what is already there or helping to create more of it, however you want to think of it. They're both true on some level. We are tuning into or tapping into what is already there as well as co-creating it into our practice as well. We are creating this force field of chi energy that has power and intelligence. There is a wisdom and a power in the energy of the universe already, and if we can cultivate those in our lives, become receptive to it, channel it, then that chi energy can do things that we may not be able to do on our own.

That chi energy is able to know what to do even if we are lacking in some of the details. You may not know some of the details about what you need to change, but if you practice chi energy cultivation through meditation and mindful movement, qi gong, yoga, whatever resonates with you—you can do that with chanting even, prostrations. There are so many wonderful spiritual practices that can cultivate our chi energy. If we can do that, then the chi field—especially when done not just alone but with the group, you see, it is a collective chi field. That is why I love meditating together and doing qi gong with a group, because if your individual practice is a little weak or you stumble through it or you are not doing the movements quite exactly the way the teacher's showing, that is okay because you can draw on the collective field of everyone else's practice that help support you when you are not able to do all the details, when your energy is weak, and you can just rest in the collective energy. See, isn't that nice?

And then when you are really doing well, all the extra energy you can give to the field, and it helps everyone else in the room, you see? Our practice is never about individuals or just our own personal self. Our practice is always about our interconnectedness and how we receive and give to one another. That is why it is so helpful to not only practice spiritual practice alone by yourself at home, but also at least weekly or monthly with a group of like-minded practitioners. Work on the details and rely on the wisdom of the chi energy field through collective practice. Because even if we don't always have everything in place on the physical level, sometimes just practicing on this higher energy level can actually bring the healing when other details are not necessarily in place.

So, yes, you can be healed by eating more nutritiously, exercising, removing toxicity in your environment, etc., etc., etc., and it is not always possible to remove all the toxins. I mean, we live in this world. It is not always possible to remove every source of disease and illness, if you rely on that energy field through the collective practice and personal practice—and there have been cases of people who have healed just from that collective chi energy.

Now here is the third part. Not only earth and heaven, but also your own wisdom of your own heart, of your own humanity. There is a power there, too, and I like to categorize this part, to speak of developing our intuitive capacities, developing our inner knowing, developing our inner guidance, psychic abilities, intuition, whatever you want to call it. Because if we can do that, we already—it is like meditation is kind of sneaky. You are already developing it slowly, steadily when you meditate. Even if you're not concentrating on developing your psychic abilities, every time you meditate, you are slowly, subtly cultivating your intuitive ability to have contact with your inner guidance, true wisdom. You can do this through meditation especially, but also through other spiritual practices, and any cultivation practices will help.

So, if you can develop that, you see, this is so crucial. Because you can try all you can with the details of the physical modalities, removing toxicities, but you can't always get them all out of the way. And then you can even try to develop your chi energy through qi gong or other spiritual technologies, but you know sometimes we are not all that great at it, or we kind of skip a few days of qi gong or, gosh, give up after only 5 minutes or whatever. We are not always consistent in our cultivation of energy, right? That is why if we can have this third aspect, it also helps because the third aspect, if we develop our psychic and intuitive abilities, our inner guidance, and our inner wisdom, then we will have an inner knowing of what needs a little more work. We will have an inner knowing of which medicine would be best, which doctor would be best, which modality of healing would be best in this situation. We will know better, oh, I need to do a little bit of this practice or that practice. You see? So if we can fully develop that a little bit more, then you we will have an inner knowing of what to do. You see?

So, true wisdom then is to develop all three powers: earth, humanity, and heaven, because they all help each other. We are just baby Buddhas. We are not fully mature and perfected yet in that regard, so, it is good to develop all three modalities of healing and health and wellness and spirituality because they help us in the areas where we may not be so strong. Okay?

So, speaking of the intuitive capacity, because of all the different spiritual practices and health practices I've been doing, I have noticed I am becoming more sensitive psychically and intuitively, and I'm beginning to hear things for spiritually—not necessarily literal words, although sometimes it happens that way as thoughts with words, but a knowing, an inner knowing comes over me once in a while.

And I have been receiving these knowings even in my dreams, so one of the dreams I had this last week was I was in this large gathering at night of hundreds of people from different cultures and different religions, different faiths. They all had candles, and many of them were placing candles on some sort of lotus flowers or some paper flowers on the water. It was so beautiful. And there were different speakers from every religion giving a short prayer or message, and then someone said, "Okay. It is your turn now." So I stood up in front of all of these people of all of these faiths, and I felt a power search through me in this dream, and I just began to speak whatever came from my heart, and I don't remember everything I said. I remember it was very spiritually energizing for me, and it felt like it came directly from divine inspiration.

And even though I can't remember all that I said, I remember three phrases that were part, the main topic of the speech, and it was this: God is many. God is one. God is none. So, what does that mean? Well to me, of course, those religions that practice polytheism, many gods and goddesses, they are practicing with the variety of diversity of divine reality, and those who are practicing faith in one God, that is monotheism. So even though God may have many qualities and aspects, they emphasize that god is unity and not just diversity. And then those who are more humanist, more modernist, mostly practice more faith in science and logic, they may practice some form of atheism where they are seeing the truth that God is really not any of the things that humans say. God is not this and not that. God is not all the fabrications of things made up throughout history by humans in their limited thinking. And I might add, God is not just some man on a cloud in the sky. God is not some tyrant or wrathful judge. God is not the source of all discrimination.

I see that there is harmony among the faiths of the world when we realize that all three of these—polytheism, monotheism, atheism of a sort—all are just simply humans pointing to the truth. There is a truth that they are each three pointing to, and so actually, all three are true in a sense. Polytheism, monotheism, and atheism are all true in a sense, but they are also all false at the same time. One thing I like about Buddhism is that especially Zen, we are able to understand this paradox of opposite and see how they're actually is harmony there through our practice. But now, when I say that God is many, God is one, and God is none, I am not trying to give you a doctrinal statement, something literal to just hold onto firmly and dogmatize about. I'm giving you a meditation to practice with, to breathe with, to live with, until you transcend paradoxical opposites to the unity of enlightenment and the realization of awakening.

See, God is many, and so I honor those religions and practices that see that, many different divine energies and qualities and aspects of God. God is so great. How can you limit it to one expression, one name, one form? I honor and respect those who can see that aspect of God as diverse. But I also honor those who realize that this diversity is actually a manifestation of oneness, that all this diversity comes from unity, the unity of God. Because you see, if you only understand the many-ness of God, you start degenerating your spiritual understanding of God into different kinds of gods and gods that are fighting one another and getting jealous or having affairs with each other. You know, the mythologies of our ancestors. Then you start getting into superstitious silliness when you don't realize the symbolic, metaphorical meanings of these stories. That is why we need monotheism to help remind us of the oneness of God.

However, if you only have monotheism without understanding and respect to the polytheistic pointing to the truth, then what happens? Then only your particular one God is the right God, and everyone else's god is false, and therefore they have to be killed or subjugated, right? Or removed or eliminated. That is false, too, because then what you have done is you have turned the oneness of God into the tyranny of God. The oneness never was meant to be tyrannical, but rather to remind us of the harmony of differences and variety and diversity. And we can all have a different understanding about it because we are all unique in our perspectives, but all of these perspectives really stem from the harmony of the oneness. Diversity in unity, unity in diversity.

But just in case we start getting too dogmatic about our monotheism or polytheism, we have the wisdom from spiritual atheism. And I'm not talking about materialistic atheism, okay? I'm talking about spiritual atheism, those who realize that anything you say about God cannot really fully encapture God, that there is a wisdom in science and logic and humanism that religion sometimes has gone to superstition and dogmatism and religious warfare over ideas when in fact sometimes we need to let go of all of that in the light of reason. So, the kind of atheism I'm talking about is spiritual atheism where we let go of our dogmatic attachment to ideas about God so that we have room to actually live the experience of God, whatever we call it.

So I'm not interested in what you believe about God so much as I am interested in your practice, your spiritual practice that allows you to experience the qualities that we might call God, the qualities of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. See, if we would emphasize the qualities of the experience of God rather than the idea about God, we would not have so many religious wars around the world. We would instead be emphasizing, oh, how can we practice more lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity? You see? You can also call it love, compassion, joy, and peace. So if all the faiths of the world would emphasize that, how can our different ways of practicing cultivate love, compassion, joy, and peace? As that is cultivated, then our ideas of God start evolving.

We start seeing that yes, God is many, and yes, God is one, and yes, God is none of our ideas about God. God is so much greater than our human conceptualizations and ideas. That is why we always have to stay fresh and open, that no matter how great a revelation in the past was, whether it was spoken through Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed or Krishna or whoever, no matter how great their words were, we still have to be open to fresh understanding in each moment today. That is what it means to practice the truth that God is none. God is none of these things. We have to always keep ourselves open and dynamic.

One example is in Judaism and Christianity. I believe that true religion always has to be progressive, that if you get stuck in one revelation in the past as if it is the ultimate, only truth, then you have actually gone astray from the true source of that religion. One example: Many, many centuries ago, some of our ancestors practiced human sacrifice. Now, they were trying to point to the truth of the oneness of earth and humanity and nature, but maybe they got a little carried away. So they started to sacrifice humans. They even sacrificed their firstborn children as an offering. And this was very, very prevalent.

So, along came Abraham, and the revelation through him was don't sacrifice humans. Sacrifice animals instead. Okay? And I believe that was a very useful revelation at that time, to help draw people away from sacrificing humans through sacrificing animals and using the sacrificed animals for food to nourish the community. However, if you get stuck on that revelation and literalize it, then you start to have this belief that God actually loves and requires and needs animal sacrifices. But really, maybe the point was to just help human consciousness move away from human sacrifices to animal sacrifice. You see? So you see this process in light of an evolutionary religious timeline, and you see it as good because it is moving people away from something not as good to something better.

And then, several centuries later, along came Jesus, who said, "Don't do animal sacrifices. Let me be the one sacrifice." And even at the communion, he offered, let this bread and this cup be our sacrifice. No need to kill a human. What was Jesus doing in the consciousness of humanity at that time? I believe he was trying to help people get away from the idea of having to kill anything because people still have this belief that they need to kill something to have atonement. Okay, fine. Let me, let Jesus be that atonement so you don't need any other atonement. You don't need to sacrifice all these animals. Let me be that one last atonement sacrifice. Okay. That is an improvement the evolution of religion.

But it doesn't stop there yet. Over the centuries of time, since Jesus, guess what happened in even the beautiful religion of Christianity? People started fighting over what is the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice? What is the meaning of the bread and the wine? Then what are they do? They start killing each other over their interpretations of what Jesus' sacrifice meant and over their interpretations of what the communion bread and wine means, which of course, when you kill other people over these things, you're actually going against what Jesus was trying to teach, trying to get rid of this violence, trying to help humans evolve from the violence to a higher consciousness.

And so today, I think we are evolving to the next level, which is getting rid of the whole idea of human sacrifice altogether. You don't need Jesus as your sacrifice. You don't need the bread and the wine to be or sacrifice because the true sacrifice is the sacrifice of love. What did Jesus really mean with this bread and wine? When he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, he said, "Take and eat of this. This is my body broken for you." But what did he really mean? I don't think he just meant that the bread itself—see, we are so literal. Humans are so literalistic. I don't think he was meaning just the bread itself. I think he actually meant more the action of breaking the bread and sharing and feeding hungry people. That is the true body of the Christ consciousness, the true way of those who follow the divine way of love, which Jesus embodied.

So when we share with each other our love, share with each other our food, share with each other our friendship and our companionship, we share resources with each other and share kindness and compassion rather than violence. That is the real body of Christ. That is the real substance of Christ, you see? That is the real meat of spiritual practice. And same with the cup. This is my blood. What does that mean? Is it literally the wine that is the blood? Maybe. I think more importantly he was referring to the act of sharing and quenching each other's thirst. When we practice quenching each other's thirst, giving water to the thirsty, physically and spiritually we offer relief to others. When we offer our love and compassion and health and charity, that is the real blood of Christ. That is the real essence of Christ. That is the real juice of our spiritual practice, you see?

Now don't dogmatize anything I just said either. I'm just offering one insight from my own spiritual practice. If you can see that the revelations of the past are not meant to be dogmatically attached to, but rather they are just helping to move collective human consciousness a little bit more out of literalness and violence and heavy, dense thinking to a more spiritualized consciousness, a little more peaceful understanding of spirituality, a more enlightened way of understanding religion. You see? Then you can appreciate all the different things that have been revealed in the past without attaching too dogmatically to them and also not just poo-pooing time as if they had no place. There was a place for Abrahamic revelations in the revelation of Jesus and Mohammed and all the other ones. They all have their place and time in their culture. But don't get too attached to them. Otherwise, you become dogmatic, and you actually create violence, which is the opposite of why they were even given in the first place.

So, I want you to honor your spiritual tradition. If you're a Christian, I want you to be an evolutionary Christian, a holistic Christian, a peace-centered nonviolent Christian. And if you are a Jew, I want you to be a holistic Jew, an evolutionary Jew, an enlightened Jew. If you are Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or Sikh or whatever your faith tradition is, I just want you to be that fully, but in a holistic way, an evolutionary way, a mindful way, an enlightened way. I don't believe that the new spiritual movement that is taking place on the planet is about getting rid of religion. I think it is about each community of different religions waking up to the real message of the religion and living it in real, practical ways that are holistic evolutionary, progressive, inclusive, and humane. So don't be attached to Jesus. Actually follow the way of Jesus, do the practices of Jesus. Don't just worship Jesus, but practice what Jesus practiced. Don't just idolize any of the prophets. Practice what they taught. And don't just admire Buddha, but actually practice the practices the Buddha taught.

If all the religions of the world would stop fighting about beliefs of religion and start practicing the practices of religion, such as meditation, prayer, charity, and service, we could not possibly have any more religious wars. So stop thinking that religion is about having the right belief, because beliefs grow and evolve and change over time. It is not about correct belief only. It is about an orientation of the heart toward practice, toward love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. When we practice that, we will realize the truth that transcends all paradoxes and all opposites and all differences of faith and words and vocabulary and theology.

God is many. God is one. God is none.

Thank you.

Transcribed by Jessica Hitch