Father McMurray had spent much of his life praying and fasting. He deeply wanted to purge himself of desire, but his ambition to be a bishop or maybe even a pope kept breaking into his meditations. Eventually, the priest went to his good friend, Texas Buddha, to ask how he might obtain the purity that eluded him.
Over dinner, TB lifted up a glass and asked, “What does it mean to speak of “pure” wine?”
The father knew his friend was leading somewhere, he smiled and answered, “It means the wine isn’t mixed with anything else?”
“Exactly. So when we speak of a “pure” human being could it not mean someone who is “purely human,” not tainted with artificial beliefs, constraints and aspirations? Have you ever danced with such abandon that you completely forgot about your feet? Purity is like that. If you can feel your teeth there is some decay. If you see your eye as you look out of it there is some damage. Purity of heart is when we are so fully present to life and to others that the self disappears. Stop fighting with your desires. Give yourself fully to living and loving in this moment and everything else will drop away.
After desert, TB concluded, “The pursuit of religious purity can be completely self-absorbed. Our egos are endlessly tricky. They do not mind if we fast or gorge so long as we are focused on ourselves.”
Ah, the Texas version of Dogen’s famous quote from Genjokoan: To study Buddhism 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. To be enlightened by all things is to be free from attachment to the body and mind of one’s self and of others. It means wiping out even attachment to satori. Wiping out attachment to Satori, we must enter actual society. When man first recognizes the true law, he unequivocally frees himself from the border of truth. He who awakens the true law in him self immediately becomes the original man.
Donna, That’s beautiful. I’ll have to pull Dogen out, it’s been a while.