Yoga was a means to one end for me. Good works, so to speak, the promise of the cessation of my suffering or split mind. After decades of spinning my mental wheel, it just fell of and Buddhism was there. For me Dharma practice is the end of means to an end. The end of effort and the beginning of Seeing.
Then of course there was my Alan Watts phase when I got his talks and listened to them over and over in my car, and read his books over and over. While I had read Watts works in the 70s, it wasn’t until 2005 that the Dharma came and got me…after I had given up the struggle of yoga.
I like the term Urban Buddhist. American Buddhism—Buddhism is like yogurt that takes on the flavor where it grows—is pure Dharma practice without the trappings of ritual and symbolism of Asian Buddhism. Stripped of devotional Buddhism, Urban Buddhism is a science of the mind as subjectivity instead of psychology which is the objective study of the mind. Buddhism makes the subjective mind objective. and slowly dissolves the investment in a separate self as an object.
The Awakened Mind (the Buddha) is nothing mystical or special, but just a creative integrating mind that spontaneously connects dots and sees the bigger picture. The reference of this mind is always towards a Dynamic Unity, a MacGyver mind that uses what’s given to get out of a fix.
Zen and the Heart Sutra is about arousing the Prajna mind that doesn’t rest on form, or the known. This takes me back to J. Krishnamurti, who was always talking about freedom from the known, which is memory. So this Prajna is a liberated creative mind, the mind of an artist that is free from the forms, or the known, of the past. Buddhism is the art of life, the artist mind free from a specific art like painting.
J.Krisnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts, all Prajna minds that don’t rest on the known, that don’t reference reality to the past, but points to the dynamic unity of ongoing creation. Prajna is a mind in alignment with life itself. Being that is knowing, knowing that is being…Even Jesus said the Son of Man (prajna mind) has no place (the known) to rest his head (mind).
The mantra of the Heart Sutra (gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate: Bodhi Svaha! is like the pirates planks where Zen is the pirate that judges you off the edge of the known until you step off in faith.
Zen, to me, is the real Faith Mind. Like Indiana Jones, you step off the edge of the cliff without any guarantee that a bridge is there. This is the creative step because the Step of Faith actually creates the bridge, actually creates the new form or world into which you step. There is a shift with this Faith Mind from being the created in a given reality to being the co-creator of your reality. This is a shift to radical responsibility for. one’s life.
Now with the birth of Faith Mind, the question is not who is doing this to me, but what am I doing.