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

Approaches to Awakening

We say our practice should be without gaining ideas, without any expectations, even of enlightenment. This does not mean, however, just to sit without any purpose. — Reb Anderson Roshi I was very interested while listening to a tape by Okumura Roshi when he said that right after the Shobogenzo was written and after Dogen … Continue reading Approaches to Awakening

Spontaneous enlightenment

Do we see enlightenment and delusion as two separate things as people commonly believe? (Jijiyu Zanmai). What does Dogen’s practice-realization mean in terms of our directed efforts in practice to awaken from our stories and see the truth of life? Or how do we actually live if The Circle of the Way is happening simultaneously … Continue reading Spontaneous enlightenment

Circle of the way #2

“Our practice is not a kind of training for the sake of making an ignorant person smart, clever and finally enlightenment. Each action, each moment of sitting, is arousing Bodhi mind, practice, awakening and nirvana. Each moment is perfect and yet within this perfect moment we have a direction, the bodhisattva vows.” — Shohaku Okumura Roshi … Continue reading Circle of the way #2

Intentions for the New Year

Our present direction is clearly defined but without having a goal. When we stop projecting goals and hopes in the future, and refuse to be led around by them, yet work to clarify our lives, that is, the “direction” of the present, then we discover an alive and dynamic practice. — Uchiyama Roshi Our practice … Continue reading Intentions for the New Year