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

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

What is your original face?

Usually we answer the koan, “What is your original face?” with an emptiness response. It is a koan used to help Zen practitioners drop the stories and structures they believe as “self” and enter into a connection with ultimate existence. Sometimes, it’s even supplemented by saying, “What is your original face before your parents were … Continue reading What is your original face?

Talk for Carl Myosen’s memorial

From Reb Anderson’s Chapter on “Do not kill” in “Being Upright”: Life does not change into death. death does not change into life. life is just life; death is just death Life and death are not before and after In reality, death vividly and peacefully coexists with the fullest expression of life the ancient buddhas … Continue reading Talk for Carl Myosen’s memorial

The Burning House

There are many analogies to the phrase: “Samsara (the wandering-in-circles world, the world of life and death) is broken” from my previous blog. One that we are currently studying in the Lotus Sutra class at Clouds in Water Zen Center is the story of the Burning House from chapter 2 of that sutra. These stories … Continue reading The Burning House

The Original Face

You cannot describe it or draw it You cannot praise it enough or perceive it. No place can be found in which To put the Original Face; It will not disappear even When the universe is destroyed. — Mumon   As I have been studying the Bendowa and particularly, this past month, the Jijuyu Zanmai, … Continue reading The Original Face

Self Receive Use Oneness

“Self Receive Use Oneness” is one translation of the characters that make Jijuyu Zanmai. It is sometimes translated as “Self-fulfillment Samadhi” or “self-fulfillment and enjoyment Samadhi” or “Samadhi of receiving and using the self”. This is the middle section of the Bendowa by Dogen in Shobogenzo. This section is an incredibly poetic expansive description of … Continue reading Self Receive Use Oneness

The one mind is always present

Zen practitioners often talk about “Shin” and what is the proper translation for “shin.” The most common translation is heart-mind, though in the earlier days of translation it was only translated as mind. The problem being that in the east the discriminative mind resides in the heart and in the west, it resides in the … Continue reading The one mind is always present

Burning the flame of your life

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

Holding up the Moon

“Who sweeps the ground and also sees the moon? Holding up the moon, her sweeping is truly not in vain.” —Dogen Zenji from Eihei Koroku Our chores and repetitive actions that are the nuts and bolts of human activity are not simply mundane and therefore inconsequential. These activity; brushing our teeth, washing the dishes, changing … Continue reading Holding up the Moon

Shikantaza and Jijuyu Zanmai

Shikantaza (just sitting) and Jijuyu Zanmai (self-fulfillment Samadhi) In order to understand jijuyu zanmai, (self-receiving oneness Samadhi) one has to understand the underlying principle of shikantaza. as presented by Dogen Zenji.   Jijuyu Zanmai may be translated ji-as self or in oneself, ju-to receive or accept, and Yu-to use, work or function in concentrated union.  … Continue reading Shikantaza and Jijuyu Zanmai