Three practices in three realms – Ryoo Zan An 龍山庵

In our practice of Buddhism we must consider the combination of all aggregates that make us alive. Whether we are lay people who join meditation at a Zendo, or practice contemplation while taking a morning stroll, maybe we are a monastic who studies the Dharmas and meditates our whole life in the seclusion of our monastery, or the priest who oversee a small community of practitioners with Dharma talks, meditation and the occasional ceremony. Even if we are a lone practitioner, lay or clergy wandering the mountains, forests, beaches, etc. We must practice with balance of mind (meditation and contemplation), word (reciting mantras and sutras), body or action (mudras and prostrations). These are modes of practice the join our essences in which the Eight Fold Path can manifest through us.

An excellent example of this is found in the Goma practice of Japanese Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. The following are only descriptions of the interior or principle and exterior or physical practice. Mind is internal and action is external, voice is the bridge between internal and external.

“When the interior (ritual) is performed alone, success can be attained. When the external ritual is performed alone, success is not attainable. Therefore the interior ritual must accompany the external ritual”. Yugakyousou

Esoteric Buddhism distinguishes the interior Homa or Goma (nai-goma), which is the “principal” Homa (ri-goma), and the exterior Homa (ge-goma), which is the “physical” Homa (ji-goma). The interior Homa is practiced in the mind. The Fire of Knowledge, mentally visualized, burns away karma and the passions. In the external Homa, by contrast, the sadhaka purifies his three actions by setting up an altar, kindling a fire, and making offerings by burning milkwood, the five grains and other substances.

“Nevertheless, when it can be managed, the performer of the ritual should do both; when it cannot be managed the performance of the ritual in the mind alone is successful…” Subhakarasimha.

Kobo Daishi says that the Dharmas arise by dependent co-origination from the three Universals (sandai-engi), namely,  Universal Essence (taidai), the permanent and indestructible essence of the Dharmas; Universal Form (soudai), which is the immutable Form that manifests in the myriad forms assumed by the Dharmas; and Universal Function (yuudai), the perfection of action, the pure and undefiled functioning of the Dharmas. Each Dharma has three corresponding aspects: it has an essence (tai), which is its real and abiding nature; it has form (sou), which is the sum of the distinguishing characteristics whereby it is recognized as what it is and not as something else; and it has a function (yuu), meaning the sum of its actions that give rise to effects.

Kobo Daishi explanation of tai, sou, and yuu is not only on macro-cosmic level it is on the micro-cosmic and atomic levels. By combining the attributes into a harmonious balance we on all levels reach Sandai-engi. Tai is the essence of the Dharmas, our consciousness (of the various levels) and those things call electrons. Sou is the myriad forms of the Dharmas, our voice and neutrons. Lastly,Yuu is the function of the Dharmas, it’s forms, our forms/action and those protons. All things exist at these three levels and thus they also are represented in our own consciousness. Through practice we can combine these three forms and levels that will give us the key to the Gateless Gate and allow us not only to enter into the original mind, tenth consciousness (Mu), Satori, but we will manifest it in all forms without form.

It is only through balance that we my reach Buddhahood in this life. A balanced life does not mean you have to go to the gym or eat organic. Yes, this is good, but what I mean of balance is your mind, body and speech. Do not be fooled by those who say they have the secret of enlightenment, they can not give it to nor can you buy it. Also do not be a fool and think that it is easy, yes you can reach Satori in this life, but it may take you fifty or more years. This is a way of life and it takes perseverance, discipline and a lot of guts. Many of my peers, teachers and myself have fell off the practice and have been in some dark place, but a few of us have come back for more, some have just departed. 

Namu Daishi Henjo Kongo



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