Ezra Bayda and Elizabeth Hamilton give dharma talks at Zen Center San Diego, Santa Rosa Zen Group, and other venues around the world. We have compiled some of them here, in different formats, along with readings by other teachers.
What Is Our Life About?
By Ezra Bayda
Our aspiration, our calling, our desire for a genuine life,
is to see the truth of who we really are --
that the nature of our Being is connectedness and love,
not the illusion of a separate self to which our suffering clings.
It is from this awareness that Life can flow through us;
the Unconditioned manifesting freely as our conditioned body.
And what is the path?
To learn to reside in whatever Life presents.
To learn to attend to all of those things
that block the flow of a more open life;
and to see them as the very path to awakening --
all of the constructs, the identities,
the holding back, the protections,
all of the fears, the self-judgments, the blame --
all that separates us from letting Life be.
And what is the path?
To turn away from constantly seeking comfort
and from trying to avoid pain.
To open to the willingness to just be,
in this very moment,
exactly as it is.
No longer so ready to be caught
in the relentlessly spinning mind.
Practice is about awakening to the true Self;
no one special to be,
nowhere to go,
We are so much more than just this body,
just this personal drama.
As we cling to our fear,
and our shame, and our suffering,
we forsake the gratitude of living from our natural Being.
So where, in this very moment, do we cling to our views?
Softening around the mind's incessant judgment,
we can awaken the heart that seeks to be awakened.
And when the veil of separation rises,
Life simply unfolds as it will.
No longer caught in the self-centered dream,
we can give ourselves to others,
like a white bird in the snow.
Time is fleeting.
Don't hold back.
Appreciate this precious Life.
From Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life
From Ezra Bayda: I wrote “What Is Our Life About?” the day before my fiftieth birthday. My intention was to read it daily, to help rekindle my aspiration and to remind me what was important. Since then I have revised it slightly to reflect subtle changes in my understanding of practice. It is now read as part of service at zen centers, and many have found it helpful in clarifying the practice path.