31 December 2015

Jikan's Resignation

A few moments ago, I emailed my resignation from my leadership of Great River Tendai Sangha to the leadership of our Board of Directors.  I made plain my reasons for doing so (see below); they do not reflect negatively in any way on our local community, Tendai Buddhist Institute, myself, or anyone else.  This is simply a transition that ought not to be postponed.

When I was invited to take over the leadership of our little community five and a half years ago, I didn't know how long I would be living in the DC area and I had no idea what to expect.  So I set myself one primary goal:  to ensure that, somehow, this group could persist and thrive in my absence.  I have been on leave from leading the group for about three months.  In that time, the community has prospered.  So I say with confidence that my goal has been met. 

I can also say that, due to life circumstances, I am no longer in a position to lead our community.  These are the ordinary commitments that we all have, such as caring for children and aging parents, searching for jobs, trying to make ends meet.  Leading a Buddhist community requires a significant commitment of time and energy--a commitment that is greater than what I have to offer now or for the next two decades.  I am no longer up to the task, but I am delighted that Junsen is.

It is with a mix of gratitude, respect, and relief in a job accomplished that I offer my resignation.  I will not be deterred from practicing Dharma as a layperson, and I am eager to offer what support I can to the community in the cherished role of an ordinary person in ordinary clothes, just some nobody. 

Every member of this sangha has enriched my life in some way.  Thank you for that. I hope I have made some positive contribution to yours so far.

Great things are afoot.

Yours in friendship always,
Jikan Daniel Anderson

This community will persist, and I rejoice in the Dharma practice of our members.  I say "our" because I do intend to participate as a layperson to the best of my capacity.

Jikan Daniel Anderson
31 December 2015

12 December 2015

Contemplation: Tendai Daishi's Endonsho

After reviewing the guidelines for this practice, take the following as your contemplation:

The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates and sense-accesses of body and mind are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment, there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right way, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsara is identical with nirvana, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the intrinsic inexistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and its cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality is all there is – no entities whatever exists outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent is called “calming”; that this nature, though quiescent, is ever luminous, is called “contemplation”. Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is no ultimate duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called “the perfect and sudden calming and contemplation.

Donner, N. and Stevenson, D (1993) The Great Calming and Contemplation: A study and annotated translation of Chih-i’s mo-ho chih-kuan. Honolulu; A Kuroda Institute Book: 112-114.