I wrote this note to people who are doing the 10-week practice period at Clouds in Water Zen Center. I thought others might be interested in Katagiri-Roshi’s quote and encouragement for daily committed practice. We are at the halfway point in our commitments lasting until the Rohatsu Celebration on Dec 9th? Many of us committed … Continue reading Encouragement to follow through with practice commitments
I am teaching a class on the Buddhist sense of Time. It feels like working with Time could be a complete avenue to awakening. We know that one of our primary admonishments is to “live in the now” but what does that mean exactly? Keats has coined a term called “negative capability”. I often use … Continue reading The Self is Time
Clouds in Water just finished a sesshin at Hokyoji Zen Community in Southeastern Minnesota. I have been coming to this land and this place for at least 35 years. This land and place is so conducive to sesshin. It’s simply a wondrous place to practice. The mountains, valleys, birds, bells, grasses, tiles and pebbles are … Continue reading The Circle of the Way
The third ancestor, Sencan’s famous quote from “Affirming Faith in Mind” : The Great Way is without difficulty; Just avoid picking and choosing. Just don’t love and hate And you’ll be lucid and clear. This famous quote is very fundamental to our practice. So important, that Joshu had five or more koans, just on … Continue reading The Smile of Composure
“What do we trust in?” is a pinnacle spiritual question. In order to surrender, or let go of control by our so-called mind and “I”, we have to trust in something. What is it that we surrender to? I’ve noticed in my teaching life, that when I ask people about trust, often I hit on … Continue reading What do we trust in?
After doing another lecture on the 5 Ranks of Dongshan, I found some good language to describe it. I talked about the 5 Ranks being the landscape of enlightenment that you move around in. Sometimes hiking the mountains, sometimes in the forest, sometimes sitting calmly by the stream. We move around the different positions but … Continue reading Addendum to the 5 Ranks
We concentrate our mind and settle our mind in zazen. We do this not to get somewhere, a certain state, but to avail ourselves of the most useful and serviceable mind possible in order to live our lives and help others. I’ve had a deeper understanding of this recently. It was very hard for me … Continue reading A serviceable mind is clear seeing.
It’s strange how many decades it takes to digest the simplest instruction. So many layers and “ideas” about the instruction have to be peeled off. Our intellectual understanding keeps us in our heads without taking the instruction into our bodies and hearts. Perhaps that’s why Katagiri Roshi said, years ago, that one should practice for … Continue reading Saying “Yes” to this moment!
From Dogen, Bussho fascicle, Shobogenzo: Although with mu-buddha-nature (no- Buddha-nature) you may have to grope your way along, there is a touchstone — What. There is a temporal condition — You. There is entrance into its dynamic functioning — affirmation. There is a common nature — all-pervading or wholeness. It is a direct and an immediate … Continue reading The emancipation of suchness
In the beginning of Dogen’s Bussho fascicle of the Shobogenzo, he quotes a famous passage from the Nirvana Sutra (ch. 27). All sentient beings without exception have the Buddha-nature. In Dogen’s way, Dogen reinterprets this sentence so that it more explicitedly reads in a non-dualistic style. In the previous sentence, it’s possible to read it … Continue reading “Entire being is the buddha-nature”
This is the quote I read yesterday during my Sunday talk at Clouds in Water Zen Center. Katagiri Roshi (taken from “To live is just to live” from The Art of Just Sitting, edited by John Daido Loori, page 101): Zazen is just to become present in the process of zazen itself. It is not something … Continue reading Zazen is to become one with process itself