from your heart to my heart

Updated: May 20

puget-thénier, alpes de haute provence, april 2022


visiting ei-tai ji temple and meeting master ryotan tokuda after a long time. he does not like being called roshi and wants to be just called sensei, teacher. yet if anyone deserves the title, meaning master in japanese, it would well be him, for him it just feels pompous and unpalatable to be called anything other than the teacher.


time was needed to process how much it means to reconnect with your teacher in person after a long interval of years. quite a stirring experience, stirring not unlike how we are stirred when exposed to the dharma. but isn't that the essence of i shin den shin, heart to heart transmission? a deep stirring and reorientation of heart and mind.


you don't quite know what flows into you but whatever flows into you turns you around. pulls and turns you around to return you to your original face, intimacy with the faceless gate of unknowing through which buddhas freely come and go.


transmission, what is it? it's an inflowing and outpouring that is at once an emptying. what the other fills you with, the dharma, is exactly what empties you out for you to receive it. in this sense, you could say heart-to-heart transmission, not unlike a kenotic process, allows for the self to empty itself out so that it becomes a vessel to receive the dharma. that's the teacher's greatest gift; she or he fills you by emptying you thus allowing you to forget yourself. forgetting yourself you become a remembrance of the all-pervading presence of dharma.


an emptying that is an opening that is an awakening.


when the boughs open spring wind scatters the petals both far and near.


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