Ryokan

In the stillness by the empty window I sit in formal meditation wearing my monk’s surplice, Navel and nose in alignment, Ears parallel with the shoulders. Moonlight floods the room; The rain stops but the eaves drip and drip. Perfect this moment – In the vast emptiness, my understanding deepens.

Sekkei Harada

‘We know that Master Dogen did not lie down to rest for three years, yet he tells us not to stand out or go to extremes. How can he say this? He can say this because he made the great effort of not lying down to sleep. Because of his own great effort he was […]

Robert White

‘Feelings are, among other things, your brain’s way of labeling the importance of thoughts, and importance (in natural selection’s somewhat crude sense of the term) determines which thoughts enter consciousness… After all, feelings are the original motivators. Good and bad feelings are what natural selection used to goad animals into, respectively, approaching things or avoiding […]

Ceremonies and Rituals

I have been in my robes more often this past week or so than is often the case, and with the full ceremonial white kimono and bessu arrangement each time. After the City Center shuso ceremony, I was back there on Friday for Jana’s funeral. It was a stately occasion, with a mix of Zen Center people […]

Caoshan

‘One day Caoshan came to his master to request permission to go on a pilgrimage. “Where are you going?” asked Master Dongshan. “I am going to a place that neither changes nor is different,” Caoshan replied. Master Dongshan then asked, “If you’re going to some place that isn’t any different, then why are you leaving?” […]

Gudo Nishijima

‘Sho expresses plurality; it means “all,” “various,” or “many.” Ho means “dharmas,” both physical things and mental phenomena. Jitsu means “real.” So means form. The Lotus Sutra teaches the most important and fundamental theory in Buddhism: that “all things and phenomena are real form.” Because Buddhism is a philosophy of realism, its viewpoint is different from […]

Dogen

‘When you climb a mountain you should reach the peak. When you enter the ocean you should reach the bottom. If you climb a mountain and don’t reach the peak, you will not know the unlimited vastness of the universe. If you enter the ocean and don’t reach the bottom, you will not know the […]