Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

FINDING MY RELIGION / Buddhist teacher and author Jack Kornfield on mindfulness, happiness and his own spiritual journey

Good interview with Jack Kornfield:

With all that's going on in people's busy lives, the Buddhist notion of 'staying in the moment' may seem like an admirable but too idealistic goal. 'Sounds great,' you might say, 'but who has time for that?' And yet, taking the time to slow down and focus on what's happening -- right here, right now -- can have tremendous benefits.

Jack Kornfield, the well-known Buddhist practitioner and writer, has spent many years teaching people how to live more mindfully despite the challenges of doing so in the modern world.

[via 43 Folders]

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Luminous Emptiness

Good, if infrequently updated, blog. The most recent post begins:

How hard it can be to leave things are they are!

How hard it can be to not try to do something in meditation, and to not try to have an object. How hard to not contaminate your meditation by trying to find something, to correct something, or to judge it as 'good' or 'bad'.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Zen Rhetoric: Paradox and Puzzles

Blog of reviews from people reading Hardcore Zen. The first post starts:

Brad Warner is a person, just like me, telling his story and promoting his passion for Zen Buddhism. He explains things as they are, tells it as it is, and in the most efficient and comprehensible manner. I think any being living in today’s time can relate to Warners’s life.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Worse than a clown

There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma.

Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he kept laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing.

The young monk was very disturbed by the master's reaction. For the next 3 days, he could not eat, sleep nor think properly. At the end of 3 days, he went back to the master and told the master how disturbed he had felt.

When the master heard this, he said, 'Monk, do u know what your problem is? Your problem is that YOU ARE WORSE THAN A CLOWN!'

The monk was shocked to hear that, 'Venerable Sir, how can you say such a thing?! How can I be worse than a clown?'

The master explained, 'A clown enjoys seeing people laugh. You? You feel disturbed because another person laughed. Tell me, are u not worse than a clown?'

When the monk heard this, he began to laugh. He was enlightened.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Perspectives on Gratitude

Among the many quotes was this from Dogen:

Continuous practice, day after day, is the most appropriate way of expressing gratitude. This means that you practice continuously, without wasting a single day of your life, without using it for your own sake. Why is it so? Your life is a fortunate outcome of the continuous practice of the past. You should express your gratitude immediately.

in my mind’s zen garden - Thanksgiving post

I’m just meditating and doing yoga… being thankful for what I have and what I have learned in life….

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


MP3 podcasts of dharma talks, including "No Ego.. No Fear" parts 1 and 2, "Mindfulness of Breathing", and "Zen Stories"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Zen concert to be staged at Shaolin Temple

Sounds cool:

Tan Dun, the Chinese musician who won an Oscar for his score in 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,' will stage a concert on Zen at the foot of Shaolin Temple, in central China's Henan Province.

Tan Dun told a press conference held in Henan Tuesday that the concert will be set at the foot of Shaolin Temple, which is right in the heart of the Songshan Mountain . . . . The concert will use instruments made of water, light, wind and stones.

Stones of billions of years' history on Songshan Mountain will be used as percussion instruments, and spring water will be processed as a gong and string instruments with the help of a hi-tech device, Tan said.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bellingham Zen Practice Group - Just Being Yourself

Dharma talk by Nomon Tim Burnett:

The great and true teaching of Zen that I noticed myself slipping into another notch more completely lately is the incredibly simple, profound, and deeply helpful fact that this is it. This is it. This is my personality, this is my body, this if my life. Just this life is it. It's hard to describe the feeling of accepting this a little more deeply. It's a feeling of settling in a little more, or settling down, or opening up, of ceasing to fight against what is.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

the wondrous path of difficulties

sorry there is no link for this quote found in an old-fashioned hard copy of buddhadharma (winter 2005). it is from a discussion between jack kornfield and pema chodron about life's difficulties.

"if you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate and fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are, you are probably a dog."

not that there's anything wrong with being a dog...

but in my zen practice i so often get caught up in how i think i should be feeling rather than how i am feeling. and it is nice to remember that i am human, and these things are inevitable. it's a great article, by the way.

Friday, November 18, 2005


One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, 'Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?' The master's face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, 'What kind of stupid question is that!?' This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, 'THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism.'

One of several stories found here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All Headline News - Bush Worried About Socks While Praying At Zen Temple - November 16, 2005

Sorry, but I couldn't resist this puff piece:

During his week-long visit to Asia, President George W. Bush took some time to learn how to pray like a Buddhist at a Zen temple in Japan. Unfortunately, he was distracted from the prayer by his 'unholy socks'.

Stopping and Seeing

This month's On The Way, the DailyZen journal is up. A wonderful teaching from Wei Tse, Stopping and Seeing:

Calmness and insight develop through stilling thoughts: the mind of the buddhas manifests therein...The cosmos of reality completely manifesting unity is always evident and always clear when views are gone and things disappear. As soon as it is obscured by the dust of behavioral and intellectual obstructions, then the fog of confusion and clouds of delusion coalesce into myriad forms. If not for seeing, there is no way to bring to light its evident clarity.

And a piece from Ryokan on reading teachings:
Winter, in the eleventh month
Snow falls thick and fast.
A thousand mountains, one color.
People of the world passing this way are few.
Dense grass conceals the door.
All night in silence, a few woodchips burn slowly
As I read the poems of the ancients.

The Dalai Lama, neuroscience (and a plug for meditation) | 43 Folders

Interesting post and discussion about the benefits of meditation:
My own experiences with meditation are recent, relatively shallow, and would yield little to contribute to the world of science, but I do know it can bring remarkable effects — even in fairly short-term use.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Zen Master So Bong - Bodhidharma Will Kill You Too

Short sweet Dharma talk, here's a slice:

In the hall outside, as you go up the red stairs, there is a calligraphy that I read every time I come here. It says 'Buddha went to Snow Mountain. Sat. Don't Know. Six years passed. Saw bright star, got Enlightenment. Without thinking, full universe.'

But what is this don't-know? Just this don't-know is not don't-know. Just don't-know is primary point. If you get that primary point, then you will be the same as Buddha, same as God, same as sun, moon, stars, sky. Then next, river becomes river; mountain becomes mountain. Water is wet; snow is cold. Do you like that?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Zen Blog Vimala Sangha

discussion of Karma on this interesting Zen blog:

The word karma literally means 'action' in Sanskrit, and what is important for Buddhist practice, and for liberation from our fixed patterns of behavior, is not what happened in the past, but what we are doing right now--the action or energy we are creating and moving forward into the next moment. Either we are consciously or unconsciously replicating the patterns we have learned, or we are acting in a way that is aware of and free from them--action that is responding to what is actually happening, rather than what our assumptions impel us to believe is happening. Meditation practice is the most direct way to become aware of these patterns

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dalai Lama Links Science, Buddhism

WASHINGTON - Science and Buddhism share a quest of open investigation into the nature of reality, and science can be a pathway to discovering well-being and happiness, the Dalai Lama told the Society for Neuroscience on Saturday. [...]

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Meditate on This: Buddhist Tradition Thickens Parts of the Brain

Meditation alters brain patterns in ways that are likely permanent, scientists have known. But a new study shows key parts of the brain actually get thicker through the practice.

Brain imaging of regular working folks who meditate regularly revealed increased thickness in cortical regions related to sensory, auditory and visual perception, as well as internal perception -- the automatic monitoring of heart rate or breathing, for example.

The study also indicates that regular meditation may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex. [...]

Buddha finger leaves China for month of display in South Korea

BEIJING (AFP) - A relic believed to be the sacred finger of the Buddha left China for
South Korea, where it will be on public display for just over one month, state media said.

The bone, said to be 2,500 years old and normally kept at the Famen Temple in the northwest Chinese city of Xi'an, will stay in South Korea until December 20, the Xinhua news agency reported. [...]

The bone had been lying in obscurity in a secret underground chamber of the Famen Temple for more than 1,000 years until it was rediscovered in 1987, Xinhua said.

The bone was found when a pagoda at the temple collapsed, revealing a previously unknown basement. [...]

Friday, November 11, 2005

peaceful turmoil

Another nice Buddhist blog worth visiting

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Soto Zen Texts - Online Translations

A work in progress, includes:

Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma

Eihei Rules of Purity
(Eihei shingi)

Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services and Practice

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Zen of Oz : Ten Spiritual Lessons from Over the Rainbow

From a review of this book at Amazon:

We are Dorothy. Prodigal sons and daughters venturing out into the world on our own only to find out that there is no place like home. That the Wizard can't really give us anything we don't already have. That there is an inner spark of the Divine within each of us. That the Yellow Brick Road is an inner path that leads to the great beyond and that each of us must make the journey for ourselves. To realize that no matter where we are we are already over the rainbow for we make the rainbow. That life is a great mystery and that we are the greatest mystery of all. That life is full of wonder and joy, as well as pain and sorrow. That as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, 'We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.'

There's also a broader article discussing The Yellow Brick Road as Spiritual Journey here

Remember, there's no place like Om

(sorry, I couln't resist)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Zen - Google Print

Google has a new feature that allows you to search the text of books. Any good Zen books on there? You bet. Click the link and you'll get some idea. Great for when you remember a fragment of some quote you read in some Zen book a year ago.

Zazen Practice Room

Various Zensters commenting on their zazen experience.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Zen Buddhism and sexuality, Zen sex, from At Home in Muddy Water, by Ezra Bayda -- Beliefnet.com

I may have posted this before, but if so, here it is again:

The first thing we need to do, as people, as practicioners, is bring sexuality issues into our awareness. This is how we make them part of our practice world. We need to see our own expectations in this area because they may be hidden or not what we think they are. For example, we may have been raised in a family where sex was rarely talked about or where there was little physical affection. Yet sexual freedom might have been very much the norm on television, in the movies, and among our friends. Although we speak the words of sexual freedom, and even act with apparent freedom, underneath it all we may still experience sex in terms of guilt and shame, or perhaps from a slightly prudish point of view.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Beneath Buddha's Eyes :|:|: Tony Anthony's Journal

Another nice Buddhist blog, here's an excerpt:

I find there is no distance between me and the mountain, or the mountain and me.

If there is no distance between anything and me, then that space between things that used to intrigue me must have been ignorance.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My Zen Life

Another interesting Zen blog to explore.

Journal of Buddhist Ethics

Lots of articles, and for those with way too much reading time on their hands . . .

We are pleased to announce that the text of the Pali Canon (in Pali) produced by the Sri Lanka Tipitaka Project is now available in a Unicode version from our site.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Breath by Breath

Another nice Buddhist blog; here's an excerpt from a post about choices:

We make choices about what we eat, where we live, who we interact with. Sure, if you are stuck in the current housing bubble, and you can't move out of your house or apartment, we could say that we do not have choices, but I think that is way too high up the abstraction ladder. The Buddha was about bringing it down, all the way down, to the right here, right now; when faced with THIS set of conditions what will I do? What will I say? What will I think? And it is this choice, in the moment, that will condition the next moment, and the next.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Paula's House of Toast

A photo blog that has nothing to do with Zen and little to do with toast and everything to do with both, in its own way.

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