Shopping and spending money is a major part of our culture, and few of us are immune to the seductions of consumerism. Big business knows this, and they count on the fact that we are all conditioned to crave what we do not have. It is possible, however, for us to stop living out of our conditioning and realize that nothing is really missing. Each of us is perfect and complete, lacking nothing, and once we realize this our entire life begins to change. When we start living with a sense of fullness, we can let go of greed and craving and learn how to give with a totally open heart.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).