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

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

A warm feeling in Zazen

From Suzuki Roshi’s book, “Not Always So” page 77: “If we do not have some warm, big satisfaction in our practice, that is not true practice. Even though you sit, trying to count your breath with right posture, it still might be lifeless zazen, because you are just following instructions. You are not kind enough … Continue reading A warm feeling in Zazen

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

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

Rohatsu Sesshin

Here are two wonderful quotes I found about Rohatsu Sesshin that at Clouds starts tonight and ends in a week. We do this every year to acknowledge Buddha’s Enlightenment Day on Dec 8th and someone just emailed me — “What a wonderful antidote to the commercial-overloaded holidays.” From the e-bulletin from Sanshin Zen Community: Hakuin Zenji, … Continue reading Rohatsu Sesshin

Cubist Enlightenment

Several years ago in the practice leaders study group, we were questioning what to study. Ken Ford said, “Let’s study enlightenment!” We all laughed and balked. Balked because it’s a tricky or scary question. We all should understand this thing we search for, ‘enlightenment’, but who does? Can enlightenment be understood? And yet, if we … Continue reading Cubist Enlightenment

Awakened Awareness

It seems that we get sidetracked in practice in many ways. Buddha said that he was the “awakened one.” Thich Nhat Hanh calls it mindfulness in every moment. Katagiri Roshi explains that enlightenment is subject and object merged in every moment that arises. It is a very rare and concentrated person who is able to … Continue reading Awakened Awareness

A continuous line of immediacy

Dogen is like a twentieth century cubist. He tries to show the “whole” by showing every possible angle. He tries to show the “whole” by contradicting all the views. If we hold on to one view or understand realization through our perceptions, that is not realization. He writes in the Fukanzazengi, “realization can not be … Continue reading A continuous line of immediacy