I was asked to speak today, so I'll say a few words as a preface to this last sitting. Sometimes some of us are referred to as "teachers", but that can be misleading.  Spiritual truth cannot really be communicated to us by someone else.  We must find it for ourselves.  The Buddha once said, "Be a lamp unto yourselves." 

All of us here are students, students of the Dharma, students of life.  The more deeply we probe into who we are, and what we are doing here, the more and more profound the question and the mystery become, the less and less we find we actually know.  We arrive at a realm where words are meaningless, and the intellect falls short.

Once a new monk approached Baso.  Baso asked "Why have you come here?"  The new monk replied "I have come for Buddha's knowledge and insight."  Baso said "The Buddha has no knowledge or insight.  Knowledge and insight belong to Mara (Mara being the personification of delusion)." 

We can only enter the spiritual realm naked, letting go of our knowledge, letting go of who we say and think we are, and especially letting go of our notions of having separate personal selfhood.  To the extent we do this, that which is universal appears. It's best to leave it unnamed, but it is none other than our own true nature.  Already, we are perfect.  We just don't normally notice.  It is like the beautiful full moon which we can't see because of obscuring clouds.

So, if teachers can't reveal it to us, and our thinking mind with its knowledge can't find this
perfect original nature, how are we to proceed?  How do we disperse the obscuring clouds?
Fortunately, there is a simple way, the way used by the Buddha, what we are doing here -sitting meditation, zazen.

For this last sit, let's give ourselves completely to the sound of the meditation bell, the sound of the passing traffic, the sound of the ticking clock.  Who is hearing?  The sounds alone fill the universe for a moment, with the separate self appearing as an afterthought.  Let us investigate, now, this disappearing and reappearing of the self.


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