Byakuren (White Lotus) Judith Ragir

Judith sitting on dockIs it possible to find freedom and happiness?  Buddhism is, in this regard, radically optimistic.  Pessimism and optimism meet in the Four Noble Truths.  Pessimistically, samsara (the cyclic existence of ordinary reality) is always broken and we suffer. And yet, Buddha himself said, the chain of suffering can be broken by a change in our understanding of reality and the reorientation of our minds. We can find well-being.

Changing the basis of operation in our minds is a long task.  We have to be unflaggingly determined to pivot our minds day after day, moment after moment.  We have to use the three bases that Buddha gave us:  wisdom, concentration and ethical integrity.  Gradually and suddenly, we can transform our understanding and find freedom.

Freedom is not in another place or another time.  It is “just this”.  The miracle of life is everywhere.  It hits us in the nose, on our cheeks, and in our eyes.  We simply have to come back to Now.  We simply have to be devoted to kindness.

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In many instances, Dogen expresses deep criticism with other teachers.  He often expresses his anger about this and even, might go so low as to call teachers names.  When I first read these paragraphs, I was really astounded.  How could a Zen Teacher share publicly such criticism.  Isn’t that breaking many of the precepts?  My … Continue reading Dogen’s Anger #21 of 21

The Pivotal Point #19 of 21

The pivotal point is the second part of the koan of Shitou’s. Daowu said, “Going beyond, is there a further pivotal expression?” Dogen answers: “This means that when a pivotal expression is actualized, ‘going-beyond’ is actualized.  A pivotal expression refers to skillful means; skillful means refers to all buddhas and ancestors.  In expressing this, it … Continue reading The Pivotal Point #19 of 21

Not gaining, Not knowing #18 of 21

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