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"Universal Awareness"
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
Awakening Heart (Community of Mindful Living)
November 8, 2009 - Dallas, Texas

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow--even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hinds. And I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.

["Call Me By My True Names" - Thich Nhat Hanh]
Tonight I don't really have anything new to share with you as far as words are concerned. Just a reminder that our practice is so vast. So big. So great. As I've shared before, The Buddha once said that if you take a bowl of water and you pour a cup of salt in the water and stir it up, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you take that same amount of salt in the cup and pour it into a crystal clear stream of water and stir it up, wade in it, you can still drink from that crystal clear stream of water. The same amount of suffering, but one was in the context of someone who doesn't realize that their heart, that their practice is vast. They still have this belief that they are small and that they are unable to handle all the different ups and downs of life. But through our practice we begin to awaken to the real truth that our heart is vast like the sky. Infinite, free and spacious. That's our true nature. That is Amitabha. Infinite light.

So, its not that we become small to great. It's that we awaken from the illusion-the delusion that we are this small self. And awaken to the reality that has always been there from beginning less time. That we are the whole Universe. We are all of it and more. And when we realize that and awaken to that, whether it is just for a second, for twenty minutes, for a day, for a month, for a year, we just allow that realization to keep growing because Enlightenment is infinite and it never ends. We allow that awakening to keep growing so that through time and space, together, as a Sangha, individually, as a practitioner, that infinite vastness manifests in real tangible ways. In the way we think. In the way we feel. In the way we speak. In the way we act. In the way we relate with others in the world.

So in our practice, we're not just practicing so that we can open our heart to all the wonderful joys of life. Of course we want to do that, that is definitely a very important part of our practice because so much of us, we are just so used to just focusing on the negative only and we just aren't aware of all the joys that are right here and now and everywhere. So our practice first of all is then to awaken to all that joy.

But a second aspect to our practice is to know that we can handle and embrace and be in solidarity with all the pain in life as well. That we are strong enough to be in solidarity with someone who is dying. With someone who is depressed. That we are strong enough to be in solidarity as a collective Sangha to make a stand for justice and righteousness in the world. Even if it means that we may have to sacrifice certain things in our life to help all beings. We can sacrifice even our life for the sake of love because if we are awake we know that this one body does not contain all of who we are. Even if this particular body falls in the act of love and sacrifice we still are present in these bodies. And in these bodies. And in this cosmic body. No birth, no death. Because who we are is never born and never dies. It's simply manifesting in more and more ways. Moment by moment. Breath by breath. Heartbeat by heartbeat.

And when we awaken to that truth deeply with our whole being, not just in our head, but with our whole being; fear-we can handle it. Sadness-we can hold it. Anger-we can be with it until it transforms. Joy-we can celebrate it. Love-we can offer it. Peace-we can radiate it. That is how Infinite this heart is. The heart of who we are. The heart of Amitabha. It is so great that it can hold all the joys and the pains of all beings. Because we are all in this together. In this project called "Human Life" and life in general. This messy, glorious project. This perfectly imperfect project of how to take Infinite light and express it in form. In color. In sound. In taste. In texture. In human life. In animal life. In all of life. And at the deepest core of all we know that despite all the craziness of it, it is worth it. It is worth it. Because it is here that the Infinite light actually experiences deep compassion. Deep wisdom. With many, many forms. Together.

I am the twelve year old girl refugee on a small boat who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate. My heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. Please call me by my true names. Amitabha. ChiSing. Catherine. Paul. Susan. David. Amitabha. Please call me by my true names so I can wake up and so the door of my heart can be left open. The door of compassion. The door of Infinite light. Infinite love. Infinite life.

So that was just the first part of my talk. I just let myself channel a little bit. It's nice to do that sometimes (laughter). But now I want to talk some practical things. So just let the human ChiSing talk to you too. Not just the Amitabha ChiSing. Never think that your human self is inferior to your Amitabha Buddhist self. It is equally important and precious. It's all one package. And it has its place.

A few days from now on Wednesday, it will be November 11th. Eleven-eleven. And two years from that date it will be eleven-eleven-eleven. Right? Or is it three years, I can't remember. No, two years from now (laughter). Yeah, so I love celebrating that day each year but even more so now because of the time in history that we are living in. I would like for each of you to make a dedication and commitment to practice in solidarity with me for forty days. And I am using that number forty because, well, in our Western spiritual traditions, Moses went to the mountains for forty days and Jesus went to the wilderness for forty days and actually it takes about forty days to really get deep in a particular practice to help transform your habit energy. So from November 11th to the Winter Solstice December 21st is forty days. And this particular Winter Solstice this year is exactly three years before the Winter Solstice of 2012.

Now there is going to be a movie coming out this week with a lot of crazy hype and Hollywood hype. And there is a lot of things on the Internet and in books that are now being written. I am sure there is going to be a hundred more books written about it in the next three years. It's okay. Maybe it will help people be more curious about what is going on in history right now. But really, behind and beyond on all the hype, it's not about cosmic cataclysm or global destruction or the end of our civilization in an instant. It's not about that at all. It's actually a symbolic wake up call, a spiritual symbolic wake up call to say "Hey! Everyone..Ummm…Hello?" (laughter). "Knock, knock, anyone in there?" This is a very crucial time in history. There are so many species, endangered species that are going out of existence. Global warming is increasing. Wars are increasing. Economic turbulence is increasing. Human agitation with all the new technology...with you know, with this IPod and that IPhone and whatever else technology. It's like, you should see the teenagers in school these days! It's crazy! Not like when I was in school. Maybe not like when you were in school. It's even worse. It's just "Ahhhh!" Liz probably understands. She's a teacher.

It's there's so much going against us. Trying to delude us. Trying to keep us from being awake. But this time in history is so crucial because everything is accelerating. It's like this critical mass is coming to a head and it is time now for all who are mindful, all who are deeply in touch with their true nature, to make a stand. To make a deeper commitment to let that light shine. Because it's not that all the other people do not have that light. It's just that it's been crusted over with all these societal lies and junk. And they don't know any better. So it's up to us to let our light shine and when we let our light shine, it allows them, it gives them permission to remember that they are the light too and then they begin to let that light shine. You see, as they see your light shine, they say "Oh! Oh, I have a light too! I can let it shine." And as they let it shine, it just can shine all across the world, and so, not necessarily literally on December 12, 2012 but sometime in the next few years I am hoping that instead of the direction of history going further and further downhill that somehow all the spiritual and mindful people in the world can help start to make history make a turn upward. And allow a movement to take place. A movement toward Universal Awareness. A movement toward compassion. A movement toward mindfulness. And spirituality.

But even if, in the next few years we are not able to help pivot history that direction, its so worth it that we are practicing now. Because if history starts pivoting downward, starts to pivot downward over the next several decades, we are going to be there, and we are going to be the ones to teach our children and their children to be lights in a world of chaos. We will be the ones that people run to for refuge because even if people everywhere are like scared and they are feeling desperate and they don't know what is going on, we can be there. Calm. Safe. A light for all these beings.

But my hope is that we move history up towards a more global awakening so we can all collectively remember that we are Amitabha. That we are Mitraya, a Buddha of Love. It is said that the next Buddha to come is Mitraya Buddha. Mitraya means friendship and love and kindness. Isn't that interesting that is the name of the next Buddha. Friendship and love is not a single person. Friendship and love only happens in a relationship. And so that may be a clue that the next Buddha is not a single individual. But is a Sangha. It is a collective movement of people practicing wisdom and compassion together. We may indeed be the next Buddha of Love.

So, I am going to send an email out tomorrow and I would like for each of you to make certain commitments for that forty day period in solidarity with me. And I can give you some helpful practices that you can do for forty days. See what happens in your life. You know it's really nice to do this because it's going to be Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah and all those crazy things with people buying and being materialistic and the rush and the craziness and all the family drama (laughter). Wouldn't it be nice to actually practice in such a way for forty days that you are going to be totally at peace with all of it? And a light. The true meaning of Christmas and Hanukkah? You will be the light of the world. You are the light of the world. And for your family and friends and your neighborhood. And your school and your work.

So I encourage us to practice these forty days because we are preparing these forty days for the next three years. Of deeper practice as we prepare symbolically to be a part of the movement towards global awakening. So whether or not that date is literal or not, that doesn't matter. Let's use it. Use it to motivate ourselves to really practice deeper. And imagine what if in just three years we could be fully enlightened? It's not impossible! Shakyamuni Buddha did it in six years. But he didn't have much help you know. We have so many resources today. I think we can do it in just three years. Become fully enlightened. Let's just try anyway (laughter). Alright, thank you.

Transcribed by Marche Gallagher

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