How to live moment by moment


In the first chapter of The Diamond Sutra, the Buddha goes about his normal day. He puts on his traveling robe and picks up his bowl and goes to town, to beg just like any monk would. Then he eats. Back in the forest with the monks, he puts away his robe and his bowl. He washes his feet. Then he sits down in the meditation posture and “[turns] his awareness to what [is] before him.”

The translator, Red Pine, tells us:

In the first chapter, we see what a buddha does, which is not so different from our own daily round of existence, if we could only do what we do unhindered by attachments and see what we do unobstructed by delusions. What this sutra teaches us is how to transform attachments and delusions, how to be a buddha. And it begins with a patched robe, an empty bowl, and the Buddha’s daily practice of his teaching. (pp. 39-40)

A long time ago in a Zen center, I heard someone ask the teacher how she should spread all this wonderful Buddha-dharma to her friends and neighbors. She wanted to share it, but she didn’t know what she should say to them.

The teacher told her not to worry about telling other people about the dharma. He said if she would simply live her practice, then by her example, others would come to know the dharma.


The Diamond Sutra, translated by Red Pine (2001)


3 responses

  1. I’m very curious about this point, “Then he sits down in the meditation posture and ‘[turns] his awareness to what [is] before him.'”

    I would have thought that the monk would have turned his awareness to what is before hm while putting away his robe and bowl, washing his feet, and sitting down in meditation posture.

    This probably means that I need to go off and read the sutra from myself!

  2. Barry, I would guess the attention is that of meditation, whereas while walking or eating, one is mindful but not meditating. Yet “attention” is something that can be practiced at all times …