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Living Beyond our Patterns

In the practice of Zen, 零柄 (Rēhē)... zeroness or being without patterns can be seen as the essential quality of formlessness within form, the embodiment of the absolute in the relative. For me, it Is... the brushstroke that does not adhere to the confines of the pattern or preference of what was created before. To notice Rēhē is to experience as Reality rather than chase the idea of boundlessness in the bounded, to discover silence within the noise of living, to experience the wholeness in each fragment, as an aspect of ZERO.

As an everyday gutter monk, I could say that the cultivation of an awareness of Rēhē is pivotal. In each moment, in every action, there is a departure from clinging to fixed patterns. It is an invitation to a direct experience that does not discriminate or differentiate. The importance of Rēhē lies in its opportunity to embody the truth that form is exactly emptiness, and emptiness exactly form, as pointed toward in the Heart Sutra. Through such understanding, one may begin to live with the spontaneity and freedom that is not entangled by the artificial and superficial distinctions of the thinking aspect of mind.

To sit in zazen, to engage in koan practice that's everyday life, is to dance with Rēhē. Each moment of attention and mindfulness... each breath taken in silent observation... brings one closer to the realization that what appears empty is brimming with the infinite... Here and Now... not some where or when down the road. Our shared task is to point directly to this truth, beyond words and beliefs which is really just another kind of psychological pattern, supporting each other in an experiential understanding that what is empty of selfing... egoistic clinging, craving and demanding is full of everything.

Rēhē... taking vacations from our well established patterns and default reactions, must be lived, breathed, and ultimately realized within our true center of gravity... the hara... the lower abdomen... the place where those with reproductive capacity push from when they're giving birth. It is the great matter of life and death, the canvas of enlightenment — a mirror reflecting nothing, which is everything. Zazen... Zazen... Zazen...

一We All Share the Same Sky

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