Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shodo Harada Roshi: Rooting out the Egoistic Sources of Societal Dysfunction & Tapping into Liberated, Universal Mind

Martin Frid has posted an illuminating clip at Kurashi: "Zen: Shodo Harada Roshi in America" in which the Zen Buddhist master tells us that the outer problems of the world mirror the toxicity of the individual minds that make up our world's societies.

Martin said that the roshi "has a website in English, mostly translated by Priscilla Storandt, an American Zen Buddhist priest who also studied with Mumon roshi, the teacher of Harada. Mumon roshi was an interesting character and led Hanazono University for a while in Kyoto, as well as being head abbot at Myoshinji, and other temples too before that. In addition he also travelled in East Asia, meeting Buddhists and people from all faiths helping to heal wounds from the Japanese Imperial era and Pacific War atrocities."

In his lecture, Shodo Harada concludes that the only way out is for individuals to purify themselves of their narrow egos and tap into a liberated mindset that sees the interconnections between every person with each other, our planet, and the universe:
This is something that everyone understands very easily. Everyone is capable of sensing the situation in the world today. There's no one who cannot sense that very deep despair that everyone feels.

But it's not a question of only fixing what is external. It's a question of also going within and taking care of the egoistic source of these external problems.

Today there are a lot of things that are being taken care of on the outside. There's a lot of healthy food being eaten. There's a lot of care to preserve our health. There's beginning to be care to preserve our planet. People are coming to consciousness that is needed to address these external social problems.

And that's good. But even if those go to greater lengths that we're going to now, if we don't take care of the problems that's within ourselves, it's not going to work. No matter how much external work is done, if what's happening inside is not being repaired, it's not going to help. It's not going to help the inner problem. The inner problem is something each person has to do for themselves...

...When we feel we are too self-aware and self-conscious and living on our own small energy instead of a greater, larger picture, we don't know what to do about that...

...And for that reason, we have za-zen, we have this practice that is designed to dig in and dig out that ego, to find that place where it isn't happening, to get rid of that filter, to cut away, shave away, dig into the deepest possible roots and find that place where the water of clear mind is flowing freely...and return to that base where that huge, clear, liberated mind comes from...

...And when we do that, when we return to this place where we can feel our center free from having to be told what to do by that ego, free from having to be controlled by that ego, then we can take that mind back out into our life, into the outside world and we can start dealing with the external problems from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

And that's the only way we are really going to be able to get rid of this egoistic heaviness in the world...

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