Regard all dharmas as dreams.
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The slogan for this week is: Regard all dharmas as dreams. The sanskrit word dharma has multiple meanings. Literally it means Truth, the Teachings, or, originally, Natural Law. In Buddhism it takes on a broader meaning as the â€˜ten thousandâ€™ things (short for everything) or â€˜phenomenon.â€™ The thinking goes that anything that manifests itself has some truth to it, so any thing is considered a lower case â€˜truthâ€™ (as opposed to capital T â€˜Truthâ€™). Thus any phenemena of any type-physical forms, sensory experiences, emotions, even elusive thoughts are little lower case truths. All of the changing phenomena about us exist for a brief period and then recede back into the empty state, or shunyata, the void. Shunyata is the pregnant state of emptiness that is wholly singular and complete, without qualities or characteristics of its own, from which all dharmas spring forth. Since the nature of â€˜realityâ€™ is impermanent-nothing stays together, remains composite, for that long-everything, all phenomenon, are elusive, illusive, transitory, and ephemeral. So this slogan is just a reminder of that fact. Although some things-such as the massive temple complexes in Egypt, or mountain ranges, or even celestial bodies-seem to last a really long time, and as such appear permanent compared to our vastly shorter spans of existence, they too do not last forever and are themselves in a state of constant flux. In the grand scheme of eternity, they donâ€™t exist all that long either. All phenomena arise like waves out of the sea of shunyata. Waves of different sizes and shapes all arise for a period and then fall back into their source. The wave is never different than the source. We, you and I, are never different than the source. Whether currently manifesting as a form, a wave of certain size, strength and duration, or settled into the depths of our formless nature makes no real difference. The magical phenomena we experience everyday are just phantasms on a stage, alike in most every way as the images we encounter in our sleep. The primary difference is that at night we are in a subjective dream, while during the day we are making a collective dream with everyone else. Our perceptions, interpretations, illusions are overlaid on what is really happening. The unchanging source is, ultimately, the only thing that is, capital R, Real. This doesnâ€™t have to be â€œwoo-woo.â€ When we recognize that â€œthe changing appearances and ten thousand differences share one patternâ€ (as the Zen Master Hongzhi puts it) without changing them as they appear to us, we recognize their dream-like nature. Recognizing this dream-like nature we can awaken from our habitual reactions, lighten-up, and face â€˜realityâ€™ with playfulness and joy, just like a pleasant lucid night dream. When we are awake to this true nature, the world of the everyday expands and advances in a vivid display of delight