Sunday morning at the prison. Crisp blue cloudless sky, cool breeze, warm sunshine and prison dharma.
We did the Shambhala AM chants, sat for 15 minutes and started our lojong discussion. There were nine people present. It really doesn’t seem to matter who is Theravadin, Tibetan or Zen practitioners.
We started the discussion talking about the difference between absolute and relative bodhicitta and the absolute and relative slogans. This discussion lasted the entire class. We took the slogans “sense all that appears as like a dream” and “don’t wait in ambush” as examples of absolute and relative. We had great fun trying to understand the notion of relative and absolute bodhicitta and how ultimately they are joined together as an inseparable unity!…there was some confusion and quite a bit of insight as well. We talked about how things are impermanent, transitory and therefore illusion-like with many examples provided. We talked about meditation and cutting speed, slowing down our mental processes like slowing down a film projector and realizing that the movie is made up of individual frames revealing the emptiness of that process. We talked about emptiness and form as expressed in the Heart Sutra being one and the notion of two-fold egolessness. And we talked about much more.
It does appear that the buddhists will be getting a new practice room that will at first be about the same size as the current room but will be much quieter… I can’t say that I’ll miss the Jesus hymes above us…although I do find myself occasionally humming them on the ride home Norfolk 🙂 I think we will have a good turnout for Fleet this Thursday as the guys are talking him up in the big house quite a bit. I told them that Fleet is a Buddha which got them excited. I reminded them that we’re all Buddhas which settled them back down.