Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
Zen Mountain Monastery, Mt Tremper, New York, Sunday 04/30/2023
Dharma Encounter at the conclusion of the 2023 Apple Blossom Sesshin; From the “Maha-Parinirvana Sutra”
A teaching in the Maha-Parinirvana Sutra uses the metaphor of an island. The Buddha says: “… You should all live with yourselves as your island, yourselves as your refuge, with no other as your refuge, … with the Dharma as your island…” This may seem to us to be affirming a “me-oriented” culture, reinforcing individualism, etc. On the contrary, Shugen Roshi asks the sangha: How is that not cutting ourselves off from others? How is that not retreating into our habitual self-clinging, our ego, our impulsive consciousness, our opinions? How is this not putting ourselves first, above others? How is the metaphor of an island not isolating? How do we live this teaching as the Bodhisattva vows? What does this teaching have to do with trust?