Digest Your Own Dead Karma

There is a very beautiful forest at Providence Zen Center. It’s a deciduous forest, a very high-class, ecologically advanced forest. In a deciduous forest about seventy to eighty percent of the energy comes from its own dead matter – the leaves and trees that fall and rot over a period of years. More than the sunlight and the nutrients it picks up from the air, the forest gets energy from its own dead matter. We can be the same. Often we feel like we have no energy or the situation is overwhelming us. But it’s very rarely the situation. It’s just that we’re keeping seventy percent of our energy locked in our own dead karma, so practicing is very important. If you practice correctly, you’ll digest your own dead karma, and you’ll have lots of energy.

Why is it difficult to practice? We face a lot of pressure in this world to go fast, and we've become very complicated. We have to make our minds simple, present, and attentive. If we don’t make our minds simple, it’s very difficult to pay attention to what we’re doing. If you can wash the dishes, drive to work, do your job, and take care of your family with attentiveness, then everything is your gate. Everything is your way in, and every action can be saving ourselves and saving others.