Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Zen priest to receive honors for Canadian garden designs

Zen news:

While 'ishidateso,' or priests who designed gardens, were common in the 14th and 15th centuries, Masuno is now the only priest in Japan who practices the tradition.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Oryoki (The Practice of the Soto Zen Eating Bowl) Instructions for the Tenzo by Dogen

Long interesting post. Skip (way) down to "Tenzo kyokun:
Instructions for the Tenzo," where we find:

I asked, 'What are words?'

The tenzo said, 'One, two, three, four, five.'

I asked again, 'What is practice?'

'Everywhere, nothing is hidden.'

Zen Koans - AshidaKim.com

Inch Time Foot Gem

A lord asked Takuan, a Zen Teacher, to suggest how he might pass the time. He felt his days very long attending his office and sitting stiffly to receive the homage of others.

Takuan wrote eight Chinese characters and gave them to the man:

Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.

This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Nature of the Zen Path

The basics

Taking refuge within oneself is a manifestation of taking refuge in the three jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. We are all Buddhas, but we have not yet realized this. This realization is the goal of our practice.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Urban Dharma - Buddhism in America

Lots here to explore:

Urban Dharma was created in 2001 by Kusala Bhikshu for anyone and everyone interested in Buddhism. The goal was to offer original articles and essays on Buddhism and archive related articles by a variety of authors in a multi-yana format.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Zen Party Dress

The Zen marketing never stops! What Bodhisattva would be caught without this Zen Party Dress?!?

Dance until dawn in this beautiful, little party dress, done up in soft pastels and covered with glittering, embroidery that shimmers in the light. . . . Very glitzy!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Zen Cone"

Once again, the marketing of "Zen" knows no bounds. You've heard of a Zen koan, but how about the Zen cone? It's a cigarette roller. No mention is made of the risks of "Zen cancer".

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Zen walking.

Zen Man Walking:

This is a zen meditation technique to carry open focus meditation into motion, which suits both beginners and advanced practitioners of zen meditation.
While standing up with your feet together, make a loose and relaxed fist with your left hand, with your thumb tucked into the fist, and place it on your heart. Cup your right hand on your fist and keep the forearms at a downward 45 � angle. Relax your shoulders.
Enter open focus.
When ready, take a very slow deep breath while you lift your left foot starting with your heel and peeling your foot off the floor until your toe tips are your only contact point with the floor, and place it 1\2 foot ahead of your right foot, toe tips first.
From this point, you start exhaling very slowly, and simultaneously start pressing your left foot onto the floor, from tip to heel.
When your left heel touches the ground, while you peel your right foot off the floor stop exhaling and transfer your weight onto your left foot. Repeat the process by peeling your right food off the ground heel first while taking a slow deep breath, and putting it on the floor toe tips first 1\2 foot in front of the left foot.
Press your right foot on the floor toes to heel while exhaling deeply.
Keep your spine erect and the small of your back slightly arched in.
Keep practicing this zen walking meditation for 6 minutes.
Let your zen walking meditation gentle, flowing and relaxed.
Remember it is a meditation and not a struggle.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Zen Master Dae Kwang - Finding Your Compassion

Interesting, short essay:

We practice Zen in terms of two essential questions, both of which point directly to the suffering of this world and our role in it. First, 'What are you doing right now?' In other words, 'What are you? What is a human being? Why are you on this planet, right now, right here? Right now!' Second, 'Why do you do what you do?' The Buddha's enlightenment connects with us at this moment through these two questions. Actually, these two questions are one question: What are you? This is the great question of life and death.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Gentle Jizos and Jizo Bodhisattva

An interesting quote regarding vows:

It took me many years to understand that vows are at the core of practice, actually are the 'nuclear' core of the energy pile that is our life. An interviewer once asked Maezumi Roshi if Buddhists believed in something like a soul that continued after death. Maezumi Roshi said, 'No. It is the vow that continues.'

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Photos of Zen garden of Jizo-in Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Nice pictures, have a look.

Founded in the 14th century by Muso Kokushi, Jizo-in is a Zen temple commonly known as the Bamboo Temple. The garden was designed by Sokyo Zenji (1291-1374) and shows 16 disciples of Buddha.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Tricycle Forums

Tricycle has launched it forums, making the beginner's mistake of dividing it into too many categories right at the start. A word of advice, wait until you have people using the forum, then figure out what sub-forums are needed. Oh well.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Zen and the Art of Being Jedi

As a true Star Wars geek, I can't help but post a link to this one:

A Jedi is not a Buddha. But many of the practices and concepts that are part of their art can be found in the Buddha’s teachings. In developing Star Wars, George Lucas has drawn on many religions, myths, and cultural practices from all parts of planet Earth. As we will soon see, the roots of the Jedi can be found in Asia.

jack/zen post on Buddhist economics

Interesting blog post

According to Buddhist economics (yes there is such a thing and no it's not for everybody), when we have the choice to invest in local or non-local businesses, the more sustainable choice in many but certainly not all cases, for a thousand reasons, is the local choice. Some of it has to do with balance, health, and robustness in ecosystems.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

On "On Zen Language And Zen Paradoxes"

More Zen meets logic, for the academically inclined.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Zen Practice

Ha ha, you thought I was done with the Zen Doubt thread? Guess again. Here's more on the topic:

10. Great Doubt (Z 57-59) To what does the Zen phrase 'the Great Matter' refer? Do you think this issue is 'the great matter' only in Zen, or this a core problem of human existence everywhere? Does Zen provide an intellectual answer to clear up our doubts about the meaning of life? Dogen's spiritual quest began with a tormenting doubt: If, in our buddha nature, we are fundamentally non-different from buddhas from the very beginning, then why do the sutras teach us that we must be willing to sacrifice everything in order to attain the enlightenment of a buddha?

In Rinzai, koans are used to stir up and intensify such existential doubt, until it feels like there is a ball of molten metal stuck in your gut. Rinzai teachers say that without first experiencing such 'Great Doubt,' one cannot break through to the kensho experience.

11. Faith (Z 59-60). While we may think of doubt and faith as opposites that cancel one another, Zen is not unique in recognizing that doubt can be a vital part of an honest and deeply felt faith. The Christian theologian Paul Tillich makes a similar point in his book, The Dynamics of Faith. Without strong faith in buddha nature, Dogen could not develop great doubt about the need to strive for enlightenment. And without this nagging doubt, he would not have the determination to seek out teachers and meditation experiences that would move him past that doubt.

We could say that doubt without faith is paralyzing and destructive, but faith without doubt may become static and self-satisfied. Strong faith and strong doubt react upon one another to produce a dynamic spiritual energy. As Scott and Doubleday put it (Z 60), we have to believe that the Buddha was telling the truth when he said that we all have the perfect buddha nature; and once we have that faith we will want to know: Why don't I see this clearly and experience the world in this way? Za-zen, not philosophy, is the Zen approach to such questions.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Logical Meanderings between West and East.

In this short piece I want to make some remarks on the differences between Western and Eastern logic, focussing in particular on the difference between the logic of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and that of the Indian philosopher Nagarjuna. The reason I want to address the issue of logics is because I think this approach could offer a key to the understanding and appreciation of Roy Bhaskar' s current ontology and epistemology, as elaborated in his latest book: From East to West.

If you're into logic, you might like this.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Without impermanence, life is not possible. How can we transform our suffering if things are not impermanent? How can our daughter grow up into a beautiful young lady? How can the situation in the world improve? We need impermanence for social justice and for hope.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Zen Recipe Archive

Well, not very Zen, but hey, food!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

After Enlightenment, The Invoicing — Business Book Combines Zen Practice And Workplace Success

Press release about a new book

New World Library announced the February publication of a new book, entitled Z.B.A.: Zen of Business Administration by Marc Lesser. For fifteen years, Marc Lesser followed the difficult but rewarding path of building his company, Brush Dance, from a tiny recycled-paper venture operated out of his garage to an international, multimillion-dollar greeting card, calendar, and gift publisher. . . .

Informing his every decision is the fact that Marc Lesser is also an ordained Zen priest. After ten years living as a practitioner at the San Francisco Zen Center, four of those years as a monk,

There's a free excerpt from the book here.

Paradox and Puzzles

Interesting class

If you have ever tried to write about a meaningful experience, you will recognize the problematic relationship between language and reality. This course engages students in exploring the surprising uses of language and image to create meaning in Zen tradition and practice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Great Faith, Great Doubt

More on doubt

Great faith, great doubt, and great determination are three essentials for that realization. It is a boundless faith in oneself and in the ability to realize oneself and make oneself free, and a deep and penetrating doubt which ask: Who am I? What is life? What is truth? What is God? What is reality?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Zen Proverbs

Here's part of one from Basho

Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort. - The three qualities necessary for training.

If you do not get it from yourself, Where will you go for it?

Do not permit the events of your daily life to bind you, but never withdraw yourself from them.

Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening.

Sitting peacefully doing nothing Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself.

Everything the same; everything distinct.

Lovely snowflakes, they fall nowhere else!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Zen In The American Grain: Discovering The Teachings At Home, by Kyogen Carlson

More on the subject of doubt:

So what is this 'honest doubt' that Tennyson connects with faith? To hold an honest doubt is to want to know, above all, 'What is true?' It is not negative skepticism to ask 'Is my understanding of this correct?' or, 'Is this really what it represents itself to be?' An honest doubt, with a little humility, is necessary for the recognition that Truth is so immense, so vast, that our understanding of it can only be quite small. While humbling, this recognition leaves us open to endless possibilities.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Offenders avoid jail time now and Zen

ROBBERS, burglars and people convicted of assault are being sentenced to transcendental meditation and anger management courses as an alternative to jail.

In Australia

Zen and the Lotus Sutra

This is pretty long, you might want to print it out.

An unsurpassed, penetrating, and perfect Dharma
Is rarely met with, even in one hundred, thousand, million kalpas.
Having it to see and listen to, to remember and accept,
I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's words.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Zen Master Seong Hyang - Doubt

What is doubt?

Our minds are always trying to label and attach, to make our own identity fields concrete by saying, 'Yeah, that's how I thought it was,' by always trying to make something. When we do that, we're not doubting. It's when you can't understand something that you start to purge yourself - when you are actually stumped. You just sit there and you are stumped. That's doubt.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

zen nature :: what is zen meditation?

Freedom without awareness is only an empty idea.
It contains nothing. One cannot be really free without being aware
Because your unconscious goes on dominating you
Your unconscious goes on pulling your strings.
You may think, you may believe that you are free
But you are not free, you are just a victim
Of natural forces, blind forces.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Links Fahren: Enthusiasm for their practice

Interesting day-in-the-life-of-the-zendo post.

There are times when the energy in my spine gets activated and I feel like there’s an earthquake happening. One morning I felt that way and then I noticed the room rippling, the people bobbing up and down and the pillars shaking. There was an earthquake, a 7.1 a few hundred miles away.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ottmar Liebert @ INJournals: What's your name?

Interesting blog post.

I think that is what makes Buddhism in general and Zen specifically, so wonderful for me. Non-duality is being pushed by the literature, by one's teacher, by Zazen. The experience of oneness is the greatest source of happiness, for even when we don't think about philosophy and spirit and duality, aren't we the most happy when we feel connected, in touch with friends and the world?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Paramita of Losing

Practice is all about losing. Altogether, all our efforts can be summarized as just this: Lose it all. Lose every assumption and fact, every idea and observation. Indeed, lose all vantage points until none whatever remain, and here Truth freely manifests its naked activity. Herein lies the Paramita of wisdom.

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