The dharma is the teaching, the understanding, the contents of enlightened mind. It is the joy of the experience of Intelligence knowing itself.
Those of us who have a daily meditation practice will recognize these words as the first line of the Daily Recollection, the recitation that begins the first meditation of the day. In the words of D.T. Suzuki, “Zen has nothing to do with letters, words, or sutras.” And so when words are offered to us, we pay attention!
The Daily Recollection, like the rosary it accompanies (every bead corresponds to a line in the recitation) is a garland of teachings, a collection of the Truths that reveal themselves to the seeker along the path of awakening. Truth is Self-evident, transparently radiant in the light of Presence but obscured by how we conventionally “know” the world. An alchemy of seeing is required to be aware of the divinity hidden in plain sight, and the discovery of this new way of being (kensho in Zen), or Awareness aware of itself, is the quest of every practitioner. There is delight when the veils part and we directly encounter the moment. But should we be satisfied by occasional moments of enchantment when continuous bliss is possible?
We recite the Daily Recollection at the first sit to bring into conscious awareness the Truths that we all “know” (for, to quote Dogen, we are all already enlightened) but have to actively recall because of a conditioned habit of inattention. The mechanics of recalling the truth of the teaching by reciting it, by manifesting it through expression, is the finger pointing to the moon, an invitation to a powerful and essential practice of being awake, the ability to stay constantly present to the Truth, to always abide in the bliss of compassionate comprehension.
That Thou Art, the focus of 2022, was an investigation into the process of the joy of Intelligence knowing itself, an inquiry into what we are not, a recognition of what is us. What “ails” us, we’ve discovered, is the ego’s uncanny ability to get us to forget, ignore, disregard, overlook, and negate True Nature, to talk us into falsely identifying with it as who and what we are. If only we could always recall our inherent Authenticity!
Though we may not yet have sufficient love to be uninterruptedly Self-attentive throughout all states of waking or dream, that should be our aim, so we should try to be self-attentive as much as we can be both at this present moment and at every other moment.
— Michael James
Abiding uninterrupted in Awareness through a practice of Daily Recollection is the subject of our exploration in 2023. The 2023 Yearlong Retreat includes:
Your Best Practice Year Yet: January 15, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. PT
We begin as we always do with a best-year-yet-esque workshop. As stewards of the Life force, we recollect our responsibility to the well-being of the human incarnation, consciously prioritizing the contexts that allow for the flourishing of a focused recollection of continuous well-being. What lights us up? What gives us joy? Where are we happy? Where do we find ourselves being tripped up by ego? How are we made to forget that enjoyment is our raison d’etre? And so where should we focus our practice? This workshop provides a framework to recollect what is important to our well-being and to create a plan to keep it in the forefront of conscious awareness.
Email Class: Obstacles to Recollection: January 30 – February 26
It is always good to know what we are up against! What clouds the mind and obscures our sense of well-being has to be recognized to be transcended. This 4-week email class will provide a looking glass, a way to see how conditioned mind causes us to ignore/forget the truth of True Nature.
Daily Recollection: March 13 – December 8
March 13 kicks off another year of daily practice in the format that many of us have integrated into our lives. Weekly assignments and daily radio shows will support our training to recollect the Truth of True Nature, moment by moment.
Cost: $600 (If you registered for the Best Practice Year Yet workshop, your donation for the workshop will be refunded.)
Registration has closed.
Join Sangha for another powerful year of practice.