Dear brothers and sisters, what a beautiful, sweet spirit we are creating together tonight. Can you feel it, too? So sweet. It is like the sweetness of lots of harvests of fruits and colors. I just feel like everyone is like a beautiful color, and we're all gathered together, such sweetness. You know, this weekend my ADD side of myself was very strong, and I didn't get a lot of things done that I had intended to get done. But you know, I've been practicing long enough to know that that is okay because the Buddha takes lots of different forms, including blonde Asians, you know? Blonde Asians. I used to say that and it was a joke, but now I have put highlights in my hair. No. I am just teasing.
So, now I am turning red. So, what I mean by saying all of that is that the Buddha expresses, the divine nature, the spirit of the universe expresses as all of us, and every quirk and every personality type there is, it is all beautiful, and it can all be utilized to express the light. Yeah. So anyway, I did not know what I was going to say today. I did not even prepare a format for tonight. But I meditated for about 20 minutes before we started tonight just knowing that if I just sat and breathed, that it would all be okay. And it's interesting. The candle just went out right now, and I like it when things like that happen because they're like signs that what I just said is right on target. Because really the true light is each of us. We are all candles in this room. And these things, rituals, candles, they are just simply outward symbols, artistic expressions of the truth that is already within us.
So, I didn't know what to share today, and I still don't know what I am about to say, but I learned through practice that being surrounded by open hearts and being in a place where I know that my heart is open, that is enough. You know, it is said that an Asian Buddhist circles that when Westerners go over there to listen to the talk, sometimes they get really bored, and it is kind of an interesting sometimes. Sometimes it is really great, but most of the teachers will tell you the true dharma teaching has almost very little to do with what they're actually saying with words. It is a presence. It is a power emanating just from the way they are, their beingness, and that is the true teaching if you can tune into that.
So, gratitude seems to be the theme for tonight. Receiving the fullness of life into our heart seems to be the theme. So think about what you were reflecting on during the meditation. I felt such gratitude and love and joy welling up within my heart during that meditation and during the music. It was so beautiful. Just this past week, in my meditation, the mantra that I normally use the name of the Buddha Amitabha, which means infinite light. Breathing in, I am one with that infiniteness that is my one true nature. Breathing out, I express that infiniteness as light, as the love, as life.
And as I was just chanting that name Amitabha in silence with every breath, I realized deeply that that is already the truth. The infinite light is already the truth of my being, but by saying it over and over again in my mind silently in my heart, what is that? And I realized saying that over and over and over again with every breath is simply, "Thank you. Thank you." That just is the truth of my being. Thank you as this infinite light surrounds me, that I sit and I breathe in that magical ocean of love, of light, always. And so Amitabha for me, I realized the deeper meaning. The deeper meaning is simply thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
It is kind of like the word aloha or shalom. Just thank you. Thank you. And whatever special word is special for you, if you meditate long enough with that word, maybe you will find out that also means thank you. I'm so grateful for this path that I am on that opens my heart more and more to the great open heart that was always there, that I always have been and always will be.
Recently I was on retreat with a Zen master named Genpo Roshi, who teaches this new method of combining psychotherapeutic things with Zen practice. I did not share details with you last time, so I might share a little bit with you right now. I won't share the whole thing, because it is a whole process, but basically we were getting in touch with all the different aspects of our self, maybe parts that we were ashamed of or that we felt heard about were disowned or things that we didn't like, and we just like put it all out there on the table, really letting each voice speak out as we would just kind of close our eyes, take a deep breath, and be that voice, maybe the voice of fear, and just speak what it would be like if we just let it say what it wanted to say.
So, we were doing this process in the context of a mindful space, and after anger and control and all those other things, we got to that part of us which feels like the damaged self, the wounded self. That was very difficult for me because it felt so icky to me. I didn't like it. I didn't want to deal with it or let myself be with it, and the pain. And then as he guided us through the process, suddenly I had a shift, and that shift was actually the shift of gratitude. It was a very small shift at first, but it led to something wonderful, and what it was was I realized that this damaged self, by very nature of being a damaged self, that is just what you do. That is your job. You're just taking the damage so that other parts don't have to, so that that beautiful innocent child, the divine child that we are that has never been hurt, has never been blemished, is pure and holy always can always be that.
And so this part of me that would just continue to take it in to protect that beautiful child, I realized that damaged self is like a Christ. It is like a bodhisattva, a truly enlightened being. And when I realized that, it was so weird because from one moment, damaged itself, really want it, I really don't want it to I love you. Thank you. I am so in awe of you. You're so strong. That was the beginning of this great shift that I went into, which after the damaged self, then we really allowed that beautiful innocent radiant child to come forth that has never been damaged, that has never been hurt, that has always been who we really are, that divine spark or walls that doesn't have to have guard. It never has to close itself off, and we just are allowing ourselves to be that, and then our heart just starts to open and expand, and then we allowed ourselves to then let our true nature, big mind, Buddha, whatever you want to call it come forth and shine and to really be that.
And when he guided us through that, I felt this immense powerful energy just surge through my whole body, and I think that is what happens when we let go of all the things that tell us that we are not really the Buddha and that we are not really divine. When those things like go completely, even if just for a few seconds, there is a vast energy that just rushes through, and is so powerful and I just felt like, I am everything. I am the wall. I am my neighbors. I am the desk. I am Buddha. I'm Christ. I am God. I am the whole universe. I am love. I'm vast. I'm emptiness. I am fullness. And I just let myself just be that for several minutes.
I won't go over all the rest of the process, but then he allowed that Buddha to come back to the human body and human form and just integrate back. We didn't come here on earth to just stay there in the bliss, but to bring that into our human form, into our human consciousness, into our personality, into our quirkiness, and just let it integrate and express. And one of the things that I came out of that retreat with was to really realize that this integrated human self that expresses that infiniteness in a limited form is unique. There is no one else ever going to be just like me, this particular expression.
So why compare? There is no need to compare. Every single person is uniquely an expression of the Buddha nature in form, and there is no need for comparison. When I realized that, it was so powerful and joyful for me I did not have to prove it anymore, and I just felt this relief, but the instance I realized that every single person I saw, I realized I don't need them to compare to me either. I don't need to compare them with each other. Every single person is unique. They are beautiful. Every single person is a hero. Every single person has a beautiful story. Every single person's journey is full of courage. It takes a lot of courage for Buddha to come in the form. Amen.
ChiSing: That is the Baptist part of me coming out. Someday I'm going to write a book called, From Baptist to Buddhist and Beyond. Anyway. You know, when we open our hearts in gratitude and receive, the universe just gets to really give because the universe is always giving, always wanting to give, and so when we open our hearts faithfully to receive, then the universe joyfully gives. Just like this morning, I spend the night at a friend's place and I didn't bring any of my toothpaste and all that stuff because I just forgot to. And by the way, this is just a friend. But anyway, he had everything for showering and products and whatever, facial moisturizer, except a razor. But I just believed that the universe provides, and lo and behold, he went and got the newspaper, and there was a razor included this morning. So the universe conspires to our good, to give. When we are openhearted and grateful, we receive. We really do.
Anyway, I thought it was kind of humorous. The universe, just in case I let it get my head a little bit or to my ego, I locked my keys in the car this morning afterwards. Just remind me that the Buddha is abundant and I'm also in this quirky human personality that I am working with, and it is all good. It is all humorous, and it is all lovely. So we can laugh. We can cry. We can be silent, and we can shout. We can be the Buddha, and we can be a real human being because it's all whatever that word is. It is all ...