The Corpse in Decay

These are notes on the end of Chapter 10, mindfulness of physical characteristics, in Joseph Goldstein’s book Mindfulness. The last section of mindfulness of the body is the contemplation of corpses in various states of decay. Buddha’s contemplation in the sutta is: Again, monks, as though he were to see a corpse thrown aside in … Continue reading The Corpse in Decay

Post Election Practices

Someone from the sangha asked me how to do tonglen in the circumstances that we are presently facing. To practice tonglen in a crisis is quite radical and hard to do. But who said Buddhist practice was easy? How can we react without pouring more kerosene on the huge bonfire of hatred and aversion that … Continue reading Post Election Practices

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

Beyond Personal Identity #3

Continuing my series on gate, gate, paragate mantra.  If you are new to this series, look at the two previous blogs for the overall translation into English of this mantra. Beyond personal identity means that we stop living our life and our motivations through the screen of our personal desire system.  This is corresponding to … Continue reading Beyond Personal Identity #3

Vital Creativity

“Karma” has been a word that has been usurped by our society. Everyone uses that word, Buddhist and non-buddhist alike, but how terribly misunderstood that word is. We have just done a sesshin at Hokyoji Zen Community where we investigated the teachings on Karma. Particularly we read Katagiri Roshi’s book, Each moment is the Universe, … Continue reading Vital Creativity

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

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

The Rhinoceros Fan is Broken

Buddha said, “This life is suffering or dissatisfying.” Trungpa Rinpoche said: “The center of our life is unrequited love.” I don’t know where I got: “Samsara is already broken.” They all point to the same thing. Life as we see it in its appearance is full of pain, loss, failure or blame. It’s built in … Continue reading The Rhinoceros Fan is Broken

Samsara is already broken

Samsara is the wandering-in-circles world. When people say, “the world is going crazy”, we are talking about samsara. It is the human world, which is driven by the hub of the Wheel of Life and Death, the three poisons: greed, hatred, and ignorance. This wheel turns round and round endlessly. As far back as we … Continue reading Samsara is already broken

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

The Total Personality

“Practice with our total personality,” Katagiri Roshi repeatedly said. What does that mean? How can we live our lives coming from oneness, which includes both our historic self and our universal self? They work together, mysteriously, simultaneously and constantly. Commonly we think, either/or. Either I am deluded (most of, if not all, the time) or … Continue reading The Total Personality

Does Time fly by?

The dichotomy we have been working with in Dogen’s Uji is time and timelessness. Another way of naming this duality is linear, sequential time and ‘being-time’. “Being-time” drops the moment down and touches timelessness or eternity or no-birth-no-death as Thich Nhat Hanh would call it. Each moment in Buddhist understanding, is the entire world and … Continue reading Does Time fly by?