Liberating the Mind from Bondage by Seiyu Kiriyama

It is so nice to be back in New York again. It’s been exactly one year since I was last here.

This is the second year in a row that I have been able to achieve my long-standing desire to perform a goma fire ceremony in New York City. Today’s service would not have been possible without the close cooperation of the management and staff of the Riverside Church and the efforts of many people who have been working behind the scenes. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to all those people, and to you, who are participating by your attendance. Thank you very much.

Before I proceed, let me first take this opportunity to express my profound sorrow and sympathy on the recent, tragic terrorist attacks against the United States.

I am deeply impressed by the determination and heroic courage that the American people, led by President Bush, have shown in the face of this sad and painful crisis. In particular I’d like to pay my sincere respects to the fire fighters, policemen, and emergency workers who have been doing such a wonderful job.

I watched the coverage of the memorial service held at Yankee Stadium on September 23. This, too, was truly soul wrenching.

Mayor Giuliani made a speech during the service. I’m sure you all remember his words, but they are worth repeating here. Mayor Giuliani declared: “To those who say our city will never be the same, I say, you are right. It will be better.”

These words, more than anything, show that

 

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Water ceaselessly changes form. So does the human mind. It changes form from moment to moment, instant by instant. As I said in the video: “People experience grief, sadness, and joy. However, this does not mean that people have fixed feelings of grief, sadness, and joy in their minds.”

That’s right. When we look at water, we see that it constantly changes form in response to conditions. Now look at the ever-changing mind with the same eye that views the water. Accept the functioning of the mind for what it is. Don’t get caught up in the constant transformations. Cut the attachment between the observer and what is observed and free your mind from bondage. Entrust to the flow and watch the arising and extinguishing of all phenomena as though you were watching a passing stream.

I imagine that right now many of you are still deep in sorrow, having lost relatives, friends, colleagues, and fellow citizens to this demonic

Water ceaselessly changes form. So does the human mind. It changes form from moment to moment, instant by instant. As I said in the video: “People experience grief, sadness, and joy. However, this does not mean that people have fixed feelings of grief, sadness, and joy in their minds.”

That’s right. When we look at water, we see that it constantly changes form in response to conditions. Now look at the ever-changing mind with the same eye that views the water. Accept the functioning of the mind for what it is. Don’t get caught up in the constant transformations. Cut the attachment between the observer and what is observed and free your mind from bondage. Entrust to the flow and watch the arising and extinguishing of all phenomena as though you were watching a passing stream.

I imagine that right now many of you are still deep in sorrow, having lost relatives, friends, colleagues, and fellow citizens to this demonic

 

terrorism. The reason you are able to experience such feelings is because you already possess hearts that are filled with genuine love. I want to remind you of that today. Your capacity for sadness means you have the capacity for abundant joy.

We human beings walk. We run. Sometimes we stumble. As we live our daily lives, we laugh, we feel joy, we embrace, we comfort each other. The earth that we live upon is alternately drenched in brilliant sunlight and bathed by lifenourishing rains. The winds blow the clouds across the sky and over the open seas. There is not one thing in all of creation, including human beings, which does not change. All living things, by definition, are constantly growing and being transformed. Change is the function of our existence.

Behind the ceaseless change, however, is something permanent that never changes. This something is the truth. We meditate in order to

attain this unchanging, eternal truth.

The attainment of truth brings with it a supremely still and tranquil joy, an infinite happiness. This is the realm of Nirvana of which the Buddha speaks.

Reaching Nirvana unleashes a true joy for living and a profound desire to share this joy with all other sentient beings. This is what engenders a genuine love for all mankind.

Our world is always changing, and this constant transformation is what carves out the rhythms of the natural universe. However, elements arise within this rhythm that act to subvert and threaten the order of things, such as terrorism. I think that terrorism is the complete negation of democracy but also, above all, a mortal wound to hearts that love.

When all people have attained a state of true love and higher wisdom we will be able to create the foundation for a lasting world peace.

attain this unchanging, eternal truth.

The attainment of truth brings with it a supremely still and tranquil joy, an infinite happiness. This is the realm of Nirvana of which the Buddha speaks.

Reaching Nirvana unleashes a true joy for living and a profound desire to share this joy with all other sentient beings. This is what engenders a genuine love for all mankind.

Our world is always changing, and this constant transformation is what carves out the rhythms of the natural universe. However, elements arise within this rhythm that act to subvert and threaten the order of things, such as terrorism. I think that terrorism is the complete negation of democracy but also, above all, a mortal wound to hearts that love.

When all people have attained a state of true love and higher wisdom we will be able to create the foundation for a lasting world peace.

 

“Practice, practice, keep practicing, in order to build domestic and world peace.”

This is what the Heart Sutra teaches us.

Today we have come together in the spirit of prayer and healing. My heart is gladdened and grateful to have shared this opportunity with you. I hope we will have the occasion to meet again before long

Bless the United States and its allies for a swift resolution of the present difficulties. New York, be safe and be well.

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