If you want to practise Tao Sangha Nembutsu, the Bodhisattva Nembutsu, there are two conditions as a bottom line.
What is the bottom line?
Tao Sangha teaches how to sense ki. So:
1) Follow ki.
2) Create ki.
1) What is the meaning of “follow ki”? It is following the ki of the universe.
Lao Tzu said, “If you follow nature, you’ll be healthy.”
But this meaning of ki is not individual ki, this means the ki of the universe.
When you practise and study in Tao Sangha you learn, for example, that if you have a giving heart, the other person can feel the lightness and comfort from the ki. This means that if you have a giving heart, you receive the ki of the universe, which is warm and comforting. So it doesn’t mean individual ki—this ki is the ki of the universe.
In ancient times, in the classics of Eastern scripture, when “nature” is referred to it doesn’t mean nature as is meant in the West, because there were no buildings, there was no modern world: everything was nature, right? Mountains, rivers. Everything was nature, so what is natural is to follow the ki of the universe.
One of the precepts of Buddhism is the wisdom of “universal action.”
An example of universal action is when Christian Saint Paul said, “I’m not living anymore, Jesus is living in me.” This means that you don’t feel your actions are spontaneous actions, you feel as though your actions are the result of the movement of the whole universe at the same time. The universe does not make any action individually. Even if you think you are moving your finger, making a single action, it’s a result of all movement of the universe—your action is the movement of the universe—but your conscious calls out and you think maybe your action is made spontaneously by you (your ego), but actually the universe is all connected: any action, any individual action, is really the result of the action of all others. So your movement and the movement of all others affects the whole universe and this is cause and result. This is equal. Cause is result. Result is cause. When they happen at the same time you will feel unification with Amida Buddha—when you feel that you are not acting spontaneously, when you feel your action is Amida Buddha’s action.
In the words of Zen Master Dogen, “Body and mind have dropped off.”
This means that your ego conscious is lost. What becomes clear when this happens is that the non-state of true self reappears. What’s interesting is that “body and mind have dropped off” is from Zen and “the non-state of true self reappears” is from the words of a Pure Land master. Christianity also has this, in the words of Saint Paul, which I mentioned. Paul said “I’m not living anymore, Jesus is living in me.”
My body and mind have dropped off, and what comes out? The non-state of the true self reappears, which is Amida Buddha coming out, and all action is a result of the whole universe, the result of Amida Buddha.
This is the meaning of the Buddhist precept of the wisdom of “universal action.” The wisdom of Amida Buddha.
To be in this state in your daily life, you need to follow ki. Do you know what this means?
This means that when you consider “Should I do it this way or that way?” you have to follow the way of ki that shows itself to be comfortable, which ki is light. The other way is the ki feels uncomfortable and heavy. It’s only one or the other in ki, when you consider it.
We don’t recommend or want to force anyone to practise Nembutsu or do the volunteer work that we do, but we do recommend that you determine which ki source is comfortable, light, and warm for you. This is because it is good for health, good for the future, good for other people—it’s good for everybody.
If you determine to practise Nembutsu, if you find the ki is comfortable, the ki is light and warm, then you have to choose this way. If not, don’t choose it!
But, up to now, not many people have chosen the way of comfort, light, and warmth, which makes a person happier, which makes a person’s future brighter, which makes relationships with the people around that person happier. Why don’t they choose it? Because it usually goes against their ego.
Ego always chooses the uncomfortable, cold, and heavy way, because ego consciousness is connected to fear, it is connected to negativity. Why they do not choose the way of comfort, light, and warmth is because they cannot see the future. What will the future be? It’s not “que sera sera.” It’s not “whatever will be, will be.”
We know the future. If the ki is comfortable, light, and warm, phenomena will appear to us when we follow this ki; if the ki is uncomfortable, heavy, and cold, the phenomena appears in the future.
Ego makes you blind.
Ego makes you lose your wisdom.
If you have wisdom, of course you must choose it.
How can you be in the state of dropping off the body and mind without following the comfortable, light, and warm state of ki? How can you be in the state of the reappearance of the true self without following the comfortable, light, and warm state of ki? How can you be in the state of Jesus living in you without choosing the comfortable, light, and warm state of ki?
Ego always creates excuses. People become blind about the future. If they have enough wisdom to see the future of what will be, they can choose it, but because they don’t create the ki, they cannot see the future.
2) This is the structure, the relationship: Create ki.
To “create ki” means that before you say something to someone you have to create ki—don’t just say words. If you want to say something good to another person, you have to create the ki that makes the other person comfortable, and you have to say the words after doing that, because words follow the ki. If the ki and words are different, it makes the people and the situation uncomfortable.
“Creating ki” includes creating the future. It includes the field of your self. “Field of your self” means, when you are by yourself, there is energy around you. What kind of energy do you have around yourself? What kind of energy do you feel as a reaction to the image in your heart and mind? Don’t think that you have a good future if this is uncomfortable. Most people are living uncomfortably with this energy, all the time, and that’s why when they think about the future, it’s very scary. And because the future is scary, they don’t want to see it. This comes from that uncomfortable energy. You have to create ki with comfort, with lightness, and brightness.
How do you create this ki?
Basically, you have to determine that you will follow the ki of the universe and whatever is comfortable, whatever the ki shows you, you have to follow.
Why people decide to not continue practising Bodhisattva Nembutsu is because they are always in a state of uncomfortableness. If this uncomfortableness is always present in their state, even though they sometimes experience comfort in Tao Sangha work, the comfort is only temporary.
For true Tao Sangha Bodhisattva practitioners, their experience will be the opposite. They are creating a comfortable field of ki all the time because they are receiving comfortable, warm, bright, and relaxing ki from their Nembutsu practice, from Amida Buddha, all the time.
If the ki of the field surrounding the person is comfortable, the future is comfortable. Whatever decision, whatever thought, whatever action may make them uncomfortable, they can judge to not take it. That’s how they are always able to decide the comfortable way. But if uncomfortableness is there all the time, it is difficult to decide what the comfortable way is.
There has to be a turning point when a person decides to receive wisdom, to receive the comfortableness of the ki all the time. Because they determine to follow the ki, they receive the comfortableness of the ki all the time.
I really, really wish for you to be in this state. All the time with the comfort of the great vow of Amida Buddha, all the time filled with the great love and comfort of Amida, and the comfort of the wisdom of Amida Buddha. This will produce a good future and you can transfer this ki to other people.
This is the purpose of our existence: to let everybody transfer the comfortableness and brightness of the Universal Buddha to each other. This is why we are living. I hope it’s clear that this can be made possible through the method of Nembutsu.