While I was traveling this month, I spent some enjoyable time with some old Dharma friends in McKinleyville who also happened to be lay followers of Reverend Master Daizui MacPhillamy. While there, I came across this short teaching by Rev. Master Daizui and thought it might be useful to share. Rev. Master Daizui was one of Reverend Master Jiyu’s chief disciples and he took on the job of head of our monastic order after Reverend Master Jiyu passed away. (For a bit more about Rev. Master Daizui, go here.)
For me, he was one of those people, teachers, who come along at just the right time, to give just the right teaching in just the right way: in his quiet way, he was transformative for me. In this list, he gives a sort of condensation of some aspects of the Dharma which he felt had an abiding importance in practice.
A few things about this list come to the fore for me today. The first is his emphasis on seeking the truth in all matters. Seeking to be truthful or to be honest is, in large part, the foundation of preceptual inquiry; it is at the foundation of my practice. Rev. Master Daizui understood that there are many levels of truth and that the Truth that the Dharma points to is beyond the duality of true and false. Coming to know this points to the next thing.
The second thing on the list that stands out for me is his emphasis on trusting that which is greater than we are. Rev. Master Daizui was, in many ways a man of science (in addition to being a clinical psychologist, he had keen interests in natural history, astronomy and ornithology) and he described his sense of that which is greater saying: “I’m the type of person who uses words like ‘That Which Is’ and who likes to look up into a moonless starry sky at night alone on a remote mountain and feel his utter insigniﬁcance before the awesomeness of the universe.”
He had a great ability to look unflinchingly at the world as it really is with all its imperfections and brokenness and he made a determined effort to uncover the truth. And yet, for all his subtlety of mind, he just had a simple faith that there was more to our existence than meets the eye. He knew that compassion, love, and wisdom exist and are there, available to us in all circumstances, if we should chose to turn to them.
“What is important? I think that these are some things that are important:
To know that the Hand of Buddha encompasses everything and to trust it;
To seek the Truth in all matters, within the limits of my ability since ignorance is the root of all attachments;
To speak what I believe to be the truth on suitable occasions, without insistence (for only the Eyes of Buddha can discern what is true with certainty), and otherwise to keep silent;
To show loving kindness to all those whom I can find a way to love, without attachment, lust, or embarrassment;
To fear nothing, for out of fear even the good harm one another;
If anger should arise, to refuse it lodging in my heart, nourishment in my mind, and life in my speech and actions;
To accept what I have not the wisdom to change for the better and to know that it is enough to do what I can;
To abstain from that which fosters ignorance, including indulgence in fantasies, ideals, and notions of what should be;
To deal fairly and honorably with all people; and
To have no greater ambition than to be remembered as a half-way decent human being.”
~Rev. Master Daizui MacPhillamy