Buddha, Dogen, Dreams of Flight

Chapter ???: Wherein the Cop Meets the Buddha

“I actually seem to be getting tighter!”

The 4 Noble Truths

1. There is suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering.

May I suggest yoga chitta vritti nirodha (yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind)?

Yeah, it’s a long freaking path, but what else do we have to do?

***

Svadhyaya: self-inquiry

To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever.

Dogen

***

Okay, so practice is all about the ribcage lately. Kinda nice. Very bird-feeling — light and flighty. A lot of sensation around the xiphoid process (the little bony area at the bottom of the sternum). Apparently the diaphragm hooks in there, I’ve just discovered; and it makes sense, because that area gets stimulated by deep breath. Here’s a picture of looking up at the underside of the diaphragm. The xiphoid process is at the top of the image.

All I want to do in practice lately is puff my chest out and wiggle my ribs. It feels very playful and gives me flashbacks to childhood. Oh crap, this is my freaking heart opening, isn’t it? I have to knock this off!

Kidding.

Anyhow on the xiphoid process page on wikipedia, it mentions that birds have a keeled sternum. The “keel” refers to “a strong median ridge running down the length of the sternum, or breast bone. This is an important area for the attachment of flight muscles.”

Ah, very poetic. So this is where our flight muscles used to attach.

Yes. I would like to be a pigeon, please.

***

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the world’s ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

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4 Responses

  1. Was The Cop comforted through your revelation to him of the Four Noble Truths?

  2. Oh, I didn’t say any of that. As I suspect you know, people don’t usually appreciate those kinds of thoughts when they are feeling frustrated.

    I turned it over in my own mind a bit, and then I wrote this entry.

    LOL! This just reminded me of something they say at the zendo: “You already know!” The Cop already knows all of this stuff. My pointing it out would have been a waste of everyone’s time.

  3. I certainly am familiar with the four noble truths. But when your knees and ankles are hurting, you’re regretting the quesadilla and beer from the night before and your hip joints are on fire, it’s tough to focus on detaching from your own suffering. I prefer to just beat it into submission.

  4. The concept of wiggling one’s ribs is intriguing…

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