Blog posts

Satipatthanas sutta refrain

These are notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness.” These notes are from Chapter 5 on Contemplating the Four Foundations. There is a refrain that occurs 13 times in the sutra. An abbreviated version is thus: In this way, in regard to the body (feelings, mind, dhammas) one abides contemplating the body (feelings, mind, dhammas) internally, or … Continue reading Satipatthanas sutta refrain

Mindfulness, the Gateway to Wisdom

Continuing with notes from Joseph Goldstein’s “Mindfulness” book. We are working with the section on the four qualities of mind: Ardency, Clearly knowing, mindfulness, and concentration. Mindfulness is much more than what our pop-culture thinks of it, which is simply something about returning to the present moment. The media often says- this was a Zen … Continue reading Mindfulness, the Gateway to Wisdom

Clearly knowing

Notes from Joseph Goldstein’s book “Mindfulness; a practical guide to awakening” Clearly knowing is one of the four qualities of mind: Ardency, Clearly knowing, mindfulness, and concentration. Clearly knowing – Sampajanna This is translated in different ways as clearly knowing, clear comprehension or fully aware. This is a quality of mind that encourages mindfulness to … Continue reading Clearly knowing

Intention and Vow, New Years

For the past many years, Clouds in Water starts the New Years off with an Intention and Vow Workshop. It was my answer to the failure, year after year, of my New Year’s Resolutions. Does Zen allow future goals? i.e. if you live in the present moment, can you have a future goal? Concurrently, there … Continue reading Intention and Vow, New Years

Practicing with Terrorism

Am I terrorized?  That’s what the extremists want.  They want the “other”, the West, to be paralyzed by fear.  My husband told me a quote from the paper that the extremists said, paraphrased something like this:  “The West is afraid of death.  We are going to win because we are not afraid of death.”  This … Continue reading Practicing with Terrorism

Four Noble Truths as Tasks

In studying the Four Noble Truths recently, I ran across some new terminology. We could say that the Four Noble Truths are four tasks- The Four Noble Tasks. These tasks need to be accomplished in order to find the peace and confidence the Buddha invites us to experience. In this teaching, there are three phases … Continue reading Four Noble Truths as Tasks

Projections and Essence

How can we understand a verse like this? From the Lankavatara Sutra XXXII: Nothing exists at all And these are nothing but words Studying the Lankavara sutra is bringing together a lot of the ideas I have repeated in my teaching over the years. I have often taught that language is the not the essence, … Continue reading Projections and Essence

Eight levels of Consciousness

One mindfulness practice is to be aware of what is coming through your sense gates. It is the awareness of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. We become more present to what is happening — the objects of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts. For each organ and object, there is a mind consciousness, … Continue reading Eight levels of Consciousness

A “Health Sesshin”

When I most appreciate my practice is when I’m facing a personal difficulty, particularly when it concerns my health. It seems like ill-health brings up my worst fears and anxiety. Especially it brings up that inevitably fact that human beings die. My ego and thought patterns particularly don’t like that. My ordinary mind thinks of … Continue reading A “Health Sesshin”

A Splendid Opportunity

Here is a terrific quote from Dogen Zenji on being in the present moment: “This is a splendid opportunity for buddha-dharma to enter into mud and water. If you do not realize the fruit at this moment, when will you realize it? If you do not cut off delusion at this moment, when will you … Continue reading A Splendid Opportunity

Mid-Practice period – Refinement

We have about three weeks left of the Clouds in Water Practice Period. This is an individualized at-home practice period of our commitments in spiritual life. It is a revision of what the traditional practice period was like. Traditionally, the practitioners would commit to a certain schedule that would be done communally, all together in … Continue reading Mid-Practice period – Refinement