Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Monday, October 31, 2005

Meditation can make workplaces safer

Meditation news:

Just 10 minutes a day of intensive meditation could make workers more productive and workplaces safer, a meditation company says.

Found via Dharma Vision, which is yet another nice Zen blog.

That Was Zen, This Is Tao: A Journey in Haiblog

Interesting Zen blog:

That Was Zen, This Is Tao is a journey in haiblog -- brief, crisp prose in the tradition of Basho and the Way of Haikai -- made fresh for the modern urban dweller. One part personal journal, one part queer activist literature, and one part artistic exploration, my blog provides a thoughtful alternative to the standard Internet noise and brings Zen-like focus, one click of tea at a time.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hardcore Zen

You've read the book, here's the blog:

Another thing that interested me was that the various right-wing Christian dudes were very upset about the supposed moral relativism which is creeping into the culture. They did not like the idea that there is no right or wrong, no good or evil. Sometimes I think people are attracted to Buddhism specifically because they believe Buddhism preaches a kind of moral relativism. But that's not quite right. In Buddhism there is a very clear distinction between right and wrong. Morals are not relative in Buddhism. They are absolute.

Inspirations: Happiness comes from within

Blog post compairing Stephen Covey and Eastern philosophical teachings of Zen masters like Thich Nhat Hanh:

I am struck by the beauty of the selflessness of Zen teachings. Love, compassion, tolerance, they all revolve around giving. Any receiving is the result of giving. It is all about others, yet it all comes from within.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Zendo Shopping

In another dingy part of town, another standard Polish flat converted, at least in name, to a zendo. Another former living room (I picture a guy with a big belly just sitting on the couch with a vacant look) is now devoted to devotion: a statue of Buddha and glamour shots of Zen masters at one end of the room and a big bonging bell at the other.

On the way into the room, step in on the left foot and bow to Buddha. On the way out, turn and bow again, and step out on the right foot. Between the two bows, sit for forty minutes with your eyes not closed but not open, walk in circles for five minutes to unnumb your legs, and then sit for another forty minutes not quite looking at anything. Tea and fruit is served afterwards.

Differences between this place and the other one:
  • The other guys are Korean Zen via the US; these guys are Japanese Zen via France
  • The other guys sit facing the center of the room and one another; these guys sit facing the wall
  • The other guys wear socks in the dharma room; these guys go barefoot
  • The other guys loan you a gray robe to wear; these guys let you wear street clothes as long as you're not too flashy
  • The other guys encourage you to get up and stretch if you can't stand it anymore; these guys tell you to sit through the pain
  • The other guys sing and bow a lot; these guys, at least on the night I am there, only sit
  • The other guys read a koan aloud; these guys do not
  • The other guys have no platform; these guys have a platform for the monk leading things
  • The other guys are just two or three people plus me; these guys, fresh from a public presentation by the big guy on a visit to town, are about eight regulars and eight visitors
  • The other guys are actually guys; these guys include three women (slightly segregated from the men, though)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Manual of Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki

Entire Zen book online:

The object is to inform the reader of the various literary materials relating to the monastery life. Foreign students often express their desire to know about what the Zen monk reads before the Buddha in his daily service, where his thoughts move in his leisure hours, and what objects of worship he has in the different quarters of his institution. This work will partly, it is hoped, satisfy their desire.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


This translation is found in Stephen Mitchell's The Enlightened Mind - An Anthology of Sacred Prose, Harper Perennial, 1991. Here's a snippet:

All Buddhas and all ordinary beings are nothing but the one mind. This mind is beginningless and endless, unborn and indestructible. It has no color or shape, neither exists nor doesn't exist, isn't old or new, long or short, large or small, since it transcends all measures, limits, names, and comparisons. It is what you see in front of you.

Monday, October 24, 2005

it is in me

this post from marlaine at it is in me, a wonderfully honest and personal zen blog, deals with the difficult subject of anger. here is an excerpt:

i have this anger that builds inside of me
i vent...and then feel i'm not being 'buddhist' because i'm negative, self-righteous...
then i know i'm only doubling my suffering by blaming

it does seem that sometimes we buddhists single out certain emotions as worse than others, and then as marlaine said, double our suffering by judging. what is beautiful about this post is how clearly she sees this process occuring within herself, and how it brings about the recognition of our need for maitri.

i also enjoy the way marlaine ends each post with three things she is thankful for.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Zen Life

Another interesting Zen blog. Here's a conversation overheard (or imagined?) and memorialized in one of the posts:

Why do you do this zazen thing?

I am just sitting, waiting for it to emerge.

What are you waiting for to emerge?

It is this {points to himself in the sitting posture}.

Well then, if it is here already, why do you still sit zazen?

I sit zazen just to sit zazen.

Dude, that don’t make sense. What I’m asking is what do you get out of it, this zazen practice?

Lots of things, but that’s not why I do it.

Oh screw it! I don’t think I’ll ever figure this out!!

That’s a pretty good attitude to have. Just give up trying to figure it all out and your life is already better!

Yeah right. It’s you new age wussies that I’ll never figure out!!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kiran Pal

Nice blog with nice quotes, like this one:

Autumn's colors dropping

Autumn's colors dropping
from branches in masses of failing leaves.

Cold clouds bringing rain
into the crannies of the mountains:

Everyone was born with the same sort of eyes;
Why do mine keep seeing things as a Zen koan?

- Muso

Working on Koans

An edited transcription of a teisho given by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede during the 1992 October sesshin.:

Every koan points to this Mind of absolute purity and wholeness. In its own unique way, each one is an expression of this Mind, which cannot be encompassed in words. It cannot be described, this fundamental nature of each one of us that has no limits, that is beyond our ordinary discriminating consciousness, beyond our rational intellect.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Oak Tree in the Courtyard. Zen Poetry.

Some poems and short quotes around the idea of an oak tree:

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way
they have to live than other things do.
- Willa Cather (1873-1947), O Pioneers 1913

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On the Way: Mud and Water

This month's On The Way, the Daily Zen Journal is online,

This month we are visiting with Bassui and a student asking questions. A unique passage which helps us understand the Lotus Sutra...

...When the dragon calls, clouds appear. When the tiger roars, the wind begins to blow.

Monday, October 17, 2005

this zen life: some unlearning to be done

Good Zen blog. This excerpt from a recent post echoes some of the questions raised on the Zen Marketing posts here on Zen Filter. This word "Zen" sure is getting a lot of mileage these days:

i've been thinking about my concepts of things and how they get in my way. the first is my concept of what zen is. the idea of zen has gotten into my consciousness complete with images, definitions, connotations, even its own decorating style. it has come to mean some kind of calm, blissful state. there seem to be associations with slowness (as in if you are a zen buddhist, perhaps you walk slowly?) also some associations with being happy, patient, and loving. certainly never, ever angry. trader joe's even makes a line of cleaning products called 'trader zen.' they are really good, but i'm not sure what is zen about them. they smell good? is zen supposed to smell good?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Buddhists hold gathering in Singapore to explore meaning of Zen living

Zen news:

It is a way of modern living that has its roots in Buddhism.

The Zen way of life to some people means peace and clarity of mind.

Zen masters from all over the world are now in Singapore to explore the greater meaning of Zen and its place in today's context.

If your mind is as clear as the ringing, you've probably arrived in a very sacred place within yourself.

That's the basis of Zen teaching, an awareness of one's self in the present moment.

It's a cultural phenomenon that's captivated people from around the world, in search of peace in a conflicting world.

Thomas Pastor, Zen Teacher from Las Vegas, said: "Zen teaches correct function and relationship to each situation. All of us when we turn on the news and watch TV at night, we get overwhelmed by how much suffering there is in this world, with disasters, tsunami, and now earthquakes and many people dying. But it must come from inside first, so individually, if we can make that change and absorb this teaching, it will be reflected in the way you smile to someone on the bus."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fly Guy

Friday Flash Fun for the Zensters (and everyone else really).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dharma Crumbs

Another nice Buddhist blog, here's a taste:

sitting, following breath
droplet of sweat sliding
between shoulder-blades
scrape and whine of the rotating fan
just about to return

Wondering on the Way

A nice Buddhist blog with well thought out posts and the occassional pearl of wisdom, such as:

As Hung Pai sat under a banyan tree, he declared,

It is a mistake of great magnitude to take your life personally.

Rising and bowing, he deftly launched big fat soap bubbles into the lazy breeze.

Quote from The Delicious Sayings of Hung Pai.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How to practice zen in daily life

Interesting guide to Zen living:

Consider for example your household chores. What do you hate most? Ironing? Dusting? For me it's the dishes.

Focus your mind. While you do your most loathed chore, again concentrate on physical sensation. Feel the warmth of the dishwater on your hands. Try to distinguish smells, sound, or sense of touch and texture. Focus on one sensation at a time. When I'm ironing, I find the sound of steam boiling from the iron especially pleasing. Focus on those sensations you find most pleasant.

In this way, nasty chores will amazingly enough become more enjoyable and meaningful. With time you might even come to look forward to doing them. Another nice and for me entirely unexpected side effect is that you do the job much better than you normally would.

The Practice of Physical Reality

Interesting How To:

This "Meditation How-To from a Bodyworker-Zen Monk" is the beginnings of a book that was started 12 years ago while I lived at Zen Center of Los Angeles. A major part to be added will explain to meditators how their body structure is put together, how its tightness specifically limits their abilities to sit in certain positions, and how that tightness also limits their abilities to breathe, create concentration breath energy and keep centered.
The book will also include, of course, how to stretch effectively, and why to get Structural Integration Bodywork to improve their condition very significantly, and rather quickly.

The Rock in the Path

Two Zen Buddhist Monks are walking on a path, one exclaims, “Brother we cannot pass this way there is a big Rock in the way.”
The other Monk, who was much older, calmly said, “Rock? What rock? That is man's ignorance manifested as matter.”

-Ole Blue The Heretic"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

digitalZENDO Blog

Zen blog with a Thought for the Day, for example:

Thought For The Day
'You all think that there is you, yourselves, and there is the world; there is ignorance and there is enlightenment. However, everything with form changes. Everything in the world is just a result of causes and conditions. The happiness of life is to come to this realization and live with no attachment.'

Zenkei Shibayama Zenji Dai Osho
Excerpt | A Flower Does Not Talk

Monday, October 10, 2005

Odeo: WZEN.org - from Zen Mountain Monastery

For those looking for a Zen podcast, there are several on this page:

Welcome to the zen radio site of Dharma Communications. WZEN.org is an original webcast consisting of talks by the teachers of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism (mro.org), news reporting, music and poetry, interviews and more.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Zen Puzzle Garden: The Japanese Rock Garden Game

Friday fun. There's a free version you can download.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Photography by John Daido Loori

John Daido Loori, author, artist, Zen Master is the founder and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York. Under Daido Loori’s direction, Zen Mountain Monastery has grown to be one of the leading Zen monasteries in America, widely noted for its unique way of integrating art and Zen practice.

Daido Loori is also an award winning photographer and videographer, with dozens of exhibitions to his credit and a successful career in both commercial and art photography. He has had 54 one-person shows, and his work has been exhibited in 118 group shows both in the United States and abroad. His photographs have been published in leading photography magazines, including Aperture and Time Life Photography.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Zen Baby Round Crib - Round Baby Cribs - Baby Furniture - Furniture - PoshTots

More Zen marketing. In this case, "Zen" seems to mean Chinese. Or incredibly expensive:

Zen Baby Round Crib $1,065
Feng Shui your nursery with this Asian influenced crib. Many parents prefer the round crib design to give baby full view of their surroundings. Mattress is sold as an option, not sold separately.

One-Handed Meditation

You are supposed to keep your eyes just half open so you don't sleep and dream a beautiful girl in an orange sweater walking down the street, walking down the street, walking down the street.

After chanting and sitting and bowing, then walking off the stiffness in our legs, and then more chanting and sitting and the reading aloud of a koan, I am asked to vacuum the dharma room. A clean carpet, I see, is not provided by the inmates of the place. But our leader for the day calls it "Zen work" and I am amused.

I find a vacuum down the hall, next to a door with a handwritten sign advertising massage, and I vacuum the incense ash and sock lint and cat hair from the carpet. I do not bump Buddha off his altar with my elbow. Over the noise of the vacuum, I hear something and switch it off. A woman's footsteps outside, clock clock clock clock clock clock.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Meditation and Neuroscience | MetaFilter

From Metafilter (click for more):

Two Sciences of Mind. A good article on the emerging dialogue between neuroscience and Buddhism (previously discussed here). Allan Wallace of the Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama's plan to speak at an upcoming neuroscience conference has led to controversy and petition wars.

K-Zone martial arts -- Zen koan of the day

A koan a day site.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Shoot the Buddha!

How many of you Zensters had toy guns growing up. Here's some toy gun Zen for you:

'Your son wants a toy gun. This gun means: 'How do you use it correctly?' That's very important--more important than just having a gun or not. If you use this gun correctly, you can help many people, but if it is not used correctly, then maybe you will kill yourself, kill your country, kill other people.

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