Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Question of God . D.T. Suzuki

The Question of God . Other Voices . D.T. Suzuki | PBS:
"From An Introduction to Zen Buddhism
Is Zen a religion? It is not a religion in the sense that the term is popularly understood; for Zen has no God to worship, no ceremonial rites to observe, no future abode to which the dead are destined, and, last of all, Zen has no soul whose welfare is to be looked after by somebody else and whose immortality is a matter of intense concern with some people. Zen is free from all these dogmatic and 'religious' encumbrances. ..."

Source: The Question of God . Other Voices . D.T. Suzuki | PBS

More Zen Marketing: New sensitive zen flower mask

Zen marketing takes a turn for the bizarre. I think this one has the potential to give me strange nightmares.

Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen

Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen
By Muso Kokushi, translated and edited by Thomas Cleary
Reviewed by Martinson, Fred H.
Journal of Chinese Philosophy
V. 22:1 (1995.03)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Matsuo Basho and Zen Haiku - Minnesota Zen Center

Zen and Haiku:

Since the writing of haiku poetry has been a popular pastime in Japan since the 17th century, it is hardly possible to call the whole body of haiku 'Zen literature.' Nevertheless, Zen thought and experience have had a pervasive influence upon the practice of this art.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tea Life: Zen and Tea - Thoughts on a Lecture by Tea Master Genshitsu Sen (Soshitsu Sen XV)

Spirit of the heart, quietness and tranquility -- this is what links together the concepts of Zen and Tea. Going into their history and background would take a long time. However, devotees of Tea are reminded that the art was founded in a troubled period of civil war in the eras of Onin and Bummei (1467-1480). One of the points of etiquette that developed was that no one should take part in the tea ceremony with a sword in his belt.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

deseretnews.com | The Zen of sitting

Article about Genpo Roshi and "Big Mind":

What the world needed, Roshi decided, was something less time-intensive and less rigorous than years of meditation, less caught up in robes and chants and riddles. What the world needed, he decided, was something involving folding chairs and conversation, something that included a break for lunch yet still helped people shift their identities away from the self — the small self that is self-ish, fearful, jealous, dissatisfied — toward something bigger.

Lecture on Buddhist Precept of Right Speech by Abbess Taitaku Patricia Phelan

Interesting lecture:

In Returning to Silence Katagiri Roshi discusses Dogen’s teaching on this saying, 'Kind speech is not merely speaking with an ingratiating voice, like a cat purring...[this] very naturally, consciously or unconsciously, is trying to get a favor by fawning or flattering. This is not kind speech. Kind speech is not the usual sense of kindness. It can appear in various ways, but ...we should remember that it must constantly be based on compassion.... Under all circumstances that compassion is always giving somebody support or help or a chance to grow.'

Friday, August 26, 2005

Zen Horse #1 - Wild Faces Gallery & Frame

Some horse paintings, for a little Friday fun:

The Zen Horse is an on going series of horse paintings, each titled for various aspects of Zen philosophy. My goal is to eventually do around 40 paintings and to incorporate stories of personal meaning from horse people whom I have met through my work. I have many ideas and plans for the Zen Horse and I am excited by the possibilities of this project.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sekiso’s Step Off the Top of the Pole. Dharma Talk by Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei

Discussion of the stepping off a pole koan, and koans in general:

It is helpful to appreciate how koans are used in training. The koans themselves are a way of working with the heart/mind. Their power lies in the way they take up whatever assumptions we begin to settle into, and then knock the bottom out. The position of the self is swept away, reformed, swept away once more. The teacher demands that the student take up a koan with immediacy and freshness: presenting the inarguable and timeless heart of the matter, but making that heartbeat new. There is no guarantee of seeing a koan; each one is a total risk, a total offering of your life to not-knowing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Ananda Knocks Down the Flag Pole

A good Zen story:

After the Buddha's death a large convention of his enlightened followers was called to collect and formalize his teaching--to make what we now call the sutras. The head of this group was Mahakashyapa, the first patriarch. However Ananda, Buddha's attendant, however was excluded from this group because he did not have enlightenment.

And so it begins. Click the link for the full thing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Historical Women in Buddhism

Don't let the hot pink background scare you away (or blind you). Includes links to Buddha's Teachings for Women.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Don't Wobble by Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao

An article from Water Wheel, July/August 2003:

When we first learn to do zazen, we often approach it as a method or means. We use zazen to become more aware, to quiet our mind, to become clear, to become a better person, and so on. While these things may occur in one’s practice, zazen itself is just sitting (walking, standing, lying down) in life just as it is. Life settles into life; the self settles into the self. We ourselves are the very fabric of universal life—this very body (tap yourself) is visceral, intimate life itself.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

All Things Zen,

Interesting thoughts from The Wanderling:

Almost everybody that reads a little about Zen starts thinking that NOTHING exists because everything is inherently empty, so what we perceive as reality must be delusion. But emptiness is the absence of independent existence. What that means is SOMETHING must exist and one of the qualifications of that existence is emptiness...the absence of independent existence is only possible because there is SOMETHING that exists...otherwise there would be no 'need' for the absence of independent existence, and if there was no absence of independent existence, then everything would not be empty.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Seeing Things As They Actually Are by Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Dharma talk:

It's really true, of course, that we are empty space. We look at ourselves and we see the object that we seem to be. But really, between each and every particle and each and every atom of our physical body, it's really true, according to science, that there is a lot of space in there, a lot of empty space. Our whole body's existence as it is depends on a vastness of empty space.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What is Zen Painting?

Here's a snippet from the brief explanation:

. . . in Zen painting, the struggle is to maintain purity, and not let the ego take over with excess thinking, planning, judgment, and confusion.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How Zen is That? by Yin De

Funny story and some food for thought:

It's surprising how many people, even those who claim to be Buddhists, think that Zen Buddhism is a philosophy with a laid-back attitude - and nothing more. Sure, there is a large helping of philosophy within the Dharma. But philosophy alone will not allow us an opportunity for the deep spiritual experiences which the practice of Zen Buddhism brings about. It isn't the philosopher who experiences the ecstasy of divine union; it's the devotee. There has to be this other element to the path. Zen Buddhism is a religion!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - The Spring Geese are Flying North

Zen talk:

True empty mind is before thinking. So thinking does not appear and does not disappear. This is the realm where nothing appears or disappears.

In the realm where nothing appears or disappears, there is no life and no death, no suffering and no happiness, no good and no bad, no you and no I. So it is said that all things in the universe return to the One.

But where does this One return?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

EverydayZen Teaching by Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Interesting talk:

Being nobody is the best way to escape an impossible situation. And that's what I'm suggesting to you. The best way to be nobody is not, as you would expect, to erase your life somehow, or try to erase your life to eliminate everything one by one or all at once. But the way to be nobody is just the opposite. The way to be nobody is to include everything in your life-- to include so much that it spills over the boundaries of somebody-- to include so much that it can't be limited by our narrow sense of identity.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Zen Lawyer

More Zen marketing, this time trying to grab all the stressed out attorneys and offer them a class. Hard to tell what it has to do with Zen, if anything. What is the sound of one gavel pounding?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Way of Zazen, by Shodo Harada Roshi

Discussion by Shodo Harada Roshi of the following from Hakuin Zenji:

For those who wish to enter deep samadhi, it is best to put down thick cushions, sit in full lotus and wear loose clothes. Make your spine straight and your posture erect but comfortable. Begin by doing susokkan, the best possible way for entering deep samadhi, focusing your ki in your tanden. Next, concentrate intensely on your koan until you dig out the roots of your self-conscious awareness completely. If you then continue to practice zazen day after day, kensho will be realized as certainly as you hit the ground when you strike at it. Put everything you have into it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Mystics & Zen Masters by Thomas Merton

Interesting article:

Zen is not a system of pantheistic monism. It is not a system of any kind. It refuses to make any statements as all about the metaphysical structure of being and existence. Rather it points directly to being itself, without indulging in speculation.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Discussion Re: What is Right Speech

As a follow up to the post below, I found this brief discussion of interest. Here is a snippet but read the whole page or it won't make much sense:

Zazen works better for me. And now that I think about it, taking-out-the-garbage might be the best practice of the three. It does not solicit ego-involvement, it does not tempt you into trying to intellectualize it, and when done well is a perfect expression of your Buddha-nature.

A Zen Approach to Garbage

Good short article to start your day:

We laugh when we find something interesting, we talk story as we work. This is fun for us, we realize that we are actually happy when doing what most would consider disgusting, horrible work otherwise. My friend comments, “I probably would have just been on the Internet this morning, not doing anything. This is very satisfying.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Another approach to the question "what is Zen" from this interesting Zen/Kungfu site:

What is Zen?

Many people are confused because they are unaware that the term 'Zen' has a few meanings. Basically, the word 'Zen' means meditation. Sometimes it may refer to a transcendental glimpse of cosmic reality, or even the transcendental reality itself. Often Zen is used as a short form for Zen Buddhism. The following examples illustrate the use of 'Zen' in these four meanings:

1. I sat cross-legged on a hard pillow, closed my eyes gently and practised Zen.
2. My teacher came in and hit my head to test if I had a Zen experience.
3. I was shocked when he said he did not hit me, but years later I realized my kind teacher was trying to make me aware that there was no hitting, and no nothing, in Zen.
4. Lacking a deep understanding, many people may think Zen masters are mad.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh to Visit Southern California September 10 - October 8, 2005 - Forbes.com

Zen news:

Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and is one of the world's foremost spiritual teachers, will make a one-month visit to Southern California as part of his tour of North America. Earlier this year, Nhat Hanh made a historic, three-month trip to his native Vietnam after nearly forty years of exile.

Zazen Posture by Taitaku Pat Phelan

Here's more good basic info, with a little more background:

Zen meditation isn't something we do only with the mind. What we practice with is much wider than our conceptual thinking. In zen it is said that realization must penetrate our flesh and bones, extending to the tips of our hair and down into the marrow of our bones. In zen meditation, we use our body as an ally so that anything we experience, we can practice with.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Fundamentals of Meditation

Yet another basic meditation guide:

The Chinese term zuo chan ( zazen ) was in use among Buddhist practitioners even before the appearance of the Chan (Zen) School. Embedded in the term is the word chan, a derivative of the Indian dhyana, which is the yogic practice of attaining samadhi in meditation. Literally translated, zuo chan means 'sitting chan' and has a comprehensive and a specific meaning. The comprehensive meaning refers to any type of meditation practice based on taking the sitting posture. The specific meaning refers to the methods of practice that characterize Chan Buddhism.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Faith and Zen

By Rev. Kongo Langlois, Roshi at Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago:

The real point is that once you make a decision concerning yourselves, your lives as Zen Buddhists - then as Zen practitioners, do it. DO IT! Go straight ahead. Look neither to the right nor to the left, but like a bore, continue, continue, continue. Then you will know what zazen is. Then this faith will become a mountain underneath you. Don't look for things. Don't shortsight your goal or be myopic about your philosophy. Just practice. Just practice! This is Zen.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Layman Pang's Beautiful Snowflakes

This an abridged transcription of a sesshin teisho that Sensei Bodhin Kjolhede gave on koan number forty two of the Hekiganroku or Blue Rock Record, on December 6, 1992.:

There's this wonderful photograph, one of the most famous in the world, of the earth as seen from the moon: this beautiful, luminous, green-and-blue globe, partly obscured by white clouds. Seeing this, one can so easily be moved by the unity, the wholeness, of this earth. At the same time, our planet is teeming with billions of people. We are a blizzard of sentient beings moving about through our busy lives. Where are we all going? If we get back far enough and look at it from the big perspective, we're not going anywhere; we're all here together.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Archive Index Arranged by Teacher

A ton of good articles, beginning with Seung Sahn's 100% Crazy

KUSZ Practice Forms Guide | Bowing

How to bow, with pictures.

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