The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective


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What is the way?

What is realization? That which is always at rest and does not move, does not come or go. It is total peace. It is that which does not change, because it has no substance.

Message from Henry: Six Paramitas

Substance is always changing, you know, but this has no substance. So, that is ordinary mind. That is everyday mind, which we seek to uncover in our practice. What is the point of aiming for perfection? Aitken: One does not aim for perfection. One practices it.

But, in Zen it is said that the Buddha Shakyamuni is still practicing somewhere and he is only halfway there. The perfections are lights on our path. They are modes of practice. We are always in process of crossing. Audience: It seems to me that the awareness of imperfection is just as important.

With that self-punishment, one is stymied. Audience: You spoke about Buddhist and Christian peak experiences. Could you speak about viewing daily experience from the context of a peak experience, and how that relates to fear?


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Aitken: Yes, of course. Coming back from that peak experience, you are aware that there is no fear, even when you are afraid. Don Quixote , at the edge of the abyss, commends himself to his god and to his mistress and spurs his horse and leaps with his full armor on into this horrible sea full of monstrous creatures, and before he knew what was happening to him, he found himself in fields beautiful beyond Elysium.

That is the conviction that the pilgrim of any religion has, that I walk through this valley of the shadow of death and it is the context of my practice—it is the mood or mode of my practice. And, I go right through. Audience: Satoris and Kenshos and peak experiences are so temporal. How have either the masters or you or advanced students been able to hold on to enough of it to carry you? If these peak experiences are genuine, they are transformative.

Robert Aitken on the Art and Poetry of Zen | Bodhi Tree

Your life is changed by them. He devoted the rest of his life in his cell to painting that vision on the wall of his cell, rubbing it out and repainting it. What might have he gone on to, you know? All these peak experiences are milestones on our path. And the be-all and end-all experience for some is only the beginning for others. Audience: Do you see Zen practice taking on an American flavor? Have you seen that happen in your experience, since Zen centers tend to be Japanese , Chinese , Korean or Vietnamese?

Dhyana Buddhism came from India with Bodhidharma, they say, in the sixth century. Perhaps one day we can exchange chants in person! Our morning yebul is similar to yours. For evening, it starts off with the same bell chant as in your book, and then exactly the same, concluding with the heart sutra.

However, our noon ceremony is looong! Not much under 45 minutes, with more componets than I can count off hand.

BUDDHIST SPIRITUAL PRACTICE ON THE SACRED FEMININE - Full Program - 2018 Festival of Faiths

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The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective
The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective The Practice of Perfection: The Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective

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