I'm sure we've all heard the Buddhist maxim regarding practice, "No gain," which roughly translates to: let go of all ideas of spiritual attainment. And while this is certainly good advice, and a solid perspective for practice, what about all of the subtle ways that our ordinary clinging mind tries to turn Buddhism into yet another ego project? I'm referring to the all too prevalent idea and assumption that pervades Zen centers, that "If I put in my time I will get the authority to do..." such and such. Or, "Who does this newcomer think she is? I've been here for five years..." "Maybe in a couple more months I'll be 'promoted' to chant leader--woohoo!"
These kinds of competitive and grasping tendencies are all motivated by two fallacies: that there is some "I" who is going to get "something." But in a truly empty universe, there is no "I" to get anything, or any "thing" to be gotten.
Please enjoy this Dharma talk.
Introduction and sound engineering by Tom Inzan Gartland.