I have been studying the Four Noble Truths lately in preparation for writing a piece about them. I found this very interesting interpretation to the three desires of the 2nd noble truth. The classic three desires in Buddhist teaching are: The desire for sensual pleasure The desire for being. The desire for non-being. Greg Kramer, “Insight … Continue reading Greg Kramer’s hungers
I was in the airport today, looking around at people’s faces. What I saw were faces of minds filled with stories. Each person’s mind filled up with their activity and spinning with their happiness and difficulties. I looked at my own mind. I thought to myself, could I wait for the plane and have a … Continue reading The Two Absorptions
I often say that zazen is a crucible. It is like an alchemical vessel or scientific beaker sitting on a Bunsen burner, which allows a transformation to occur within the beaker. By sitting still with no escape, we allow the flotsam and jetsam of our life to float up to the surface and get burned … Continue reading The crucible of spiritual practice in marriage
Dogen writes in Jijuyu Zanmai that “when one displays the Buddha mudra or Buddha seal with one’s whole body and mind, one is expressing unfabricated and profound prajna.” The Buddha seal is like a stamp or a seal of authenticity. Our effort to take the posture of a Buddha during zazen is allowing the Buddha … Continue reading Displaying the Buddha seal with one’s whole body and mind.
From Katagiri Roshi: “Zazen is not a means to an end, it does not produce enlightenment. The zazen we do is shikan taza – just sitting. This type of zazen is to just become present in the process of zazen itself or wholehearted sitting. Enlightenment is not something you acquire after you have done zazen. … Continue reading Burning the flame of your life
“Practice with our total personality,” Katagiri Roshi repeatedly said. What does that mean? How can we live our lives coming from oneness, which includes both our historic self and our universal self? They work together, mysteriously, simultaneously and constantly. Commonly we think, either/or. Either I am deluded (most of, if not all, the time) or … Continue reading The Total Personality
This was written for the 6th week of fall practice period at Clouds in Water Zen Center. We do zazen for all beings. Lately with my son, I’ve been watching what I call “doomsday movies” or movies in which the future looks pretty grim. This past Monday, I wrote out the lineage papers for Gentle Dragon’s … Continue reading Doing Zazen for all beings
“To be verified by all things is to let the body and mind of the self and the body and mind of others drop off.” — Genjokoan, Dogen “Dropping off body and mind” is a key phrase in Dogen Zenji’s teaching. This is an expression that was originally used by Dogen’s teacher, Tiantong Rujing in … Continue reading Dropping off body and mind
I often search for a long time to find how certain Judeo-Christian terms translate to Buddhism. When I find a pathway of translation, I’m quite excited. I have long looked for the translation of “grace” into Buddhism. This week I heard, while listening to a Norman Fischer talk on “Transformation at the base,” what occurred … Continue reading Grace in Buddhism
Humility is a perpetual quietness of Heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore To wonder at nothing that is done to me To feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me Or when I’m blamed or despised; … Continue reading Non-doing as deep silence.
The serenity of non-doing First, one needs to understand the duality of effort and no-effort, or doing and non-doing. We can see how our unique personality presents itself. Do we lean towards over-achieving or being couch potatoes? Then, in order to achieve balance in our storied life, we can direct ourselves to one side or … Continue reading Non-doing as Serenity
This is the quote I read yesterday during my Sunday talk at Clouds in Water Zen Center. Katagiri Roshi (taken from “To live is just to live” from The Art of Just Sitting, edited by John Daido Loori, page 101): Zazen is just to become present in the process of zazen itself. It is not something … Continue reading Zazen is to become one with process itself