Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
February 21, 2016 - Dallas, Texas
Thank you, everyone, for your beautiful practice. Thank you for being patient with the coughs and sounds of my monkey mind. I hope you were able to practice loving my monkey sounds and mind rather than hating them. For, you see, it wasn't too hard to just love me, right? So why are you so hard on yourself when your monkey mind is acting up? If you can love my monkey mind, you can love your monkey mind, too.
You know, half the practice of mindfulness is not just to get to a place of calm and peace and stillness and awareness. The other half is to just be with the noises, be with the body sensations, be with the thoughts, and accept them. This is half of the practice. If you don't realize that, no wonder you think you can't meditate well. But part of the meditation is to eventually come to a place of peace, stillness, non-stress, awareness, and acceptance—radical surrender and acceptance to what is. Because guess what? If you fight reality, who wins every time? Reality. So let's not fight reality. Let's be with it, flow with it, and reality will dance with you and eventually transform you in the world.
I hope many of you have read some of my 10 reflections in the current newsletter. If any of you have comments or questions about one of my 10 reflections, please feel free to raise your hand during my talk. I don't really have a fully prepared talk. I just wanted to speak from my heart. After so many decades of mindfulness practice, it is actually not necessary for me to prepare the dharma talk so much, because my life is my dharma talk. All I have to do is open my heart and open my mouth, and there is the dharma talk. Because it is not just study, study, study, study only. Of course study is part of our practice, but the point is to not learn the dharma, but to become the dharma.
A bodhisattva from a different religious tradition many centuries ago—his name was St. Francis—told his monks to go out and preach the Good News to every human and every creature and only use words if necessary. You don't need to say a lot. People observe you, don't they? They scrutinize you. That is why reality TV shows are so popular. They are looking for something different in you that maybe they can use for themselves. So if you become the dharma, then your attitude, your smile, your generosity, your awareness, your kindness, your way of walking, your way of talking, your way of being in the world is already preaching the dharma. And you don't even have to say anything, unless necessary.
And as I said earlier today, one of my insights* was… I will just read it: "Just by our very existence, we exert a positive force around us wherever we are. Remember that when you gather together in sangha, meditation, for you intensify the positive force. And remember that next time you are in a waiting room or a hospital or anywhere, for you are invisibly helping those in that place even just by simply being." This insight did not come from a book. It came from the dharma of my experience.
I have been in the hospital so many times in the last two years, and sometimes I feel helpless and useless, and sometimes it is so hard to breathe nowadays that I cannot even do normal breath mindfulness meditation, and I can't even do chanting meditation in the normal way. I had to come up with creative new ways to practice. But you know, I realized in the hospital a couple of weeks ago I am never useless. Just by my very existence, the existence of a human being, I already radiate the light invisibly. So the bottom line of our human existence is always positive light, no matter how many weird things you have done in your life, crazy things, poor choices, remember that: the bottom line of who you are is always radiant, positive light. And that can never be erased—never, ever erased.
So if there is nothing that you can do except just be there, remember that your very being is radiating and helping. So I was there in the hospital just being, not useless. No. Just being and radiating. Perhaps someone else in the hospital near me needed my presence, whether they knew I was there or not. So if you find yourself in a place or situation that is really not pleasant, and you have no idea why you have to be there, just remember perhaps the universe needs you to be there to add a little bit more light because it would be too overwhelming without you being there, because each of us, especially when there is more than one of us in a place, there is more light, and if it's consciously done together, with meditation and spiritual practices, wow. You have just added light, a radiant deposit of light, in that place. You may not know everyone in this room, but you have affected everyone in this room with your presence. Don't forget that. Please.
I haven't been able to come to sangha for months because of my health, and I felt like it wasn't really good for me to come tonight, but I was so determined to come tonight no matter what because I do not know when the next time will be that I can come. So it is my deepest desire to be with the sangha every week. So think about that. If that is my deepest desire, can that be yours too? So many people make up excuses: "I'm too tired today to go to sangha." "Oh, I don't need sangha. I can just meditate at home by myself." No. Please. I want you to want sangha as much as I want sangha. I need sangha. I love sangha.
And not only I, but everyone in this room needs me to be in sangha, and everyone in this room needs you to be sangha for them.
I believe the ultimate destiny of humankind will be positive, that we will eventually overcome all these wars and discriminations and prejudices and fundamentalisms and persecutions and all those nasty monkey mind habits. But it will not be accomplished without sangha.
If you are not actively supporting your local sangha, this ultimate destiny will still occur, but it may take a few more centuries. It is just going to be slower paced. But for the sake of all the suffering that doesn't need to happen between now and then, I implore you to take refuge in the sangha and encourage others to take refuge in sangha. This is the celestial speed up, through sangha.
So it is up to you.
We all have free will. Will we go through all of this craziness for many more centuries? Or will we choose to transform it in one generation, just 40 years? It is possible. I have seen it in visions. It is possible to completely transform this planet and just one generation, just 40 years. I don't know if it's going to happen. I don't know if everyone is going to choose that, but it is possible. It's up to us.
So, definitely take refuge in Buddha, which means your enlightened nature. Definitely take refuge in the dharma, which is the teachings and practices and the radiance of being who you are, but most importantly I think, take refuge and support the sangha, because that's where Buddha and dharma become real, as sangha.
Well, I want to say thank you to the enlightened ones because with all the medications and drugs I'm on, I can't believe I made any clear sense. It's a miracle. Hallelujah.
Okay. I would like for us to do five minutes of small-group sharing and five minutes of random sharing from the large group. This is the practice of sangha, so don't leave during this part. This is the good part. Because there is food afterwards. Okay? Thank you. So just groups of two or three or four people. Just share for a half minute or minute each…