Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Saturday, December 31, 2005

An Introduction to Zen, by Anne Rudloe

Here's more beginning Zen info to start the new year:
"In Zen meditation, we learn to be still and allow the neglected intuitive forms of consciousness to operate. To do that, we first learn to pay attention, to be fully present in each moment and aware of the nuances of life. It takes a while, but every bit of improvement in this skill is a wonderful gift we give ourselves each day. And it's done by relaxing, not by forcing. When it doesn't have a specific job, we let the mind rest quietly rather than chatter compulsively to itself, endlessly raking through its collection of possessions, desires, likes and dislikes, plans and memories. Achieving that quiet mind isn't quick or easy. The mind dearly loves to talk to itself."

How to sit Zazen

I never tire of these how to web pages. Here's another basic guide for beginners. It starts like this:
"Sit on the forward third of a chair or a cushion on the floor."

For the rest, click the link

Friday, December 30, 2005


A brief discussion of the following koan:
"A monk once asked Unmon, 'The radiance serenely illuminates the whole vast universe...'
Before he could finish the first line,
Unmon suddenly interrupted, 'Aren't those the words of Chosetsu Shusai?'
The monk replied, 'Yes, they are.'
Unmon said, 'You have slipped up in the words.'
Afterwards, Zen Master Shishin brough the matter up and said,
'Tell me, at what point did he slip?"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ABZenD : 180 answers about zen from Master Deshimaru

Lots of questions with pop-up answers, includes discussion of, The middle way, Ego, Karma, Illusions, Attachment, and that all time favorite, Death.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Mind of Meditation, from the book 'Sitting Buddha' by Daishin Morgan

A good basic article (actually it's a chapter from a book) about Zazen and what happens during meditation. Good for beginners and those with beginner's mind:

The world we experience is the world created within our own minds. Our thoughts and feelings depend upon how we view the world; they are not absolutes nor are they as solid or as real as they seem. By learning not to be driven by thoughts and feelings, we can see how they are a like a fantasy or a dream. Knowing, this we can return to the primordial mind of zazen. Thoughts and feelings do not necessarily stop, but we no longer mistake them for our true nature.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

zen_within: Bringing Peace

Interesting post and comments:

The only peace in this zendo is the peace you brought with you. . .you have the same peace all the time, but you'll probably leave it here when you go.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dharma Talk:The Freedom of No Escape by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei

Discussion of the following koan:

Move, and you bury your body ten thousand feet deep; don’t move, and sprouts grow right where you are. You must cast off both sides and let the middle go; then you must buy some sandals and travel some more before you’ll really attain realization.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zen Chef - Natural foods, vegetarian cooking recipes

Hungry? Check out their "Zen recipe of the week" and "Zen recipe archive":

The Zen way of eating follows the cycles of nature and the universal laws of balance of the two opposite and complementary energies, known as yin and yang.

Monday, December 19, 2005

On Zen Work

Zen and work:

If you really think about what work is you see that everything is work-- being alive and in a body is already work. Every day there is eating and shitting and cleaning up. There is brushing and bathing and flossing. Every day there is thinking and caring and creating. So there’s no escape from work-- it’s everywhere. For Zen students there’s no work time and leisure time; there’s just lifetime, daytime and nighttime. Work is something deep and dignified-- it’s what we are born to do and what we feel most fulfilled in doing.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Clouds In Water Model for Conflict Resolution and Total Self-Responsibility

I found these "Guiding Principles for Resolving Conflict" interesting:

The following are guiding principles for approaching and resolving conflict within our Sangha at Clouds in Water Zen Center. We seek to:

- Take responsibility for our vulnerabilities and emotional triggers in relationships with others.

- Investigate our own responsibility in the conflict before speaking with another.

- Practice non-stubbornness by holding an open heart, a willingness to understand, and a desire to reconcile differences.

- Have face-to-face resolution of the conflict with the other person or people involved.

- Use anger in a constructive and respectful way, allowing it to teach and transform us for the better, avoiding the “poison” of envy and comparing ourselves to others.

- Separate the behavior from the person, seeing the situation as an opportunity to liberate.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Zen Marketing For Cars

Too add to the growing collection of zen marketing information: The Rinspeed zaZen.
The name of the new concept car has been deliberately chosen to reflect the overall attitude with which both companies have driven the entire project forward over a period of many months. After all, Zen – borrowed from Buddhist teaching – is a special form of insight that is only attainable if you are prepared to give up preconceived ideas.

Thirty minutes to enlightenment - the demystification of zen

Subtitled "a definitive guide to the realization of nirvana; a post cultural, post existential, zen encounter.":

if the reason for committing ourselves to eliminating the cause Of suffering from the mind is out of compassion for our own suffering Or for our own gains, we will experience a pseudo-satori, which is Pretentious and no satori at all. If the reason for our commitment is Out of compassion for all suffering, of which our own suffering is but A part, and for no personal gains, our satori

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Photo by Herbrich

Click the link for more of his pictures, especially the photos of smoke.

Zen & the West, by Layne S. Hashimoto

This article discusses and critiques what it calls Beat Zen and Square Zen. Interesting point of view. The text is very hard to read against the blue background; I suggest selecting all the text (on a PC hit control-a) to make it easier to read, or cut and paste it into antoher program. That's your Zen computer tip of the day:

Though 'Beat Zen' and 'Square Zen' are false forms of Zen, they serve a very useful purpose. True Zen emerges from where Beat Zen and Square Zen conflict with each other. In truth, satori can be found on both roads; it is, after all, a state of mind. If one is able to truly escape from all prejudices, attachments, and desires, then he/she has reached satori. However, the satori of true Zen is one of complete purity and freedom. It is this satori that Westerners should strive to achieve. It is not an easy process, but definitely worth the effort!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Patience, by Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi

Good stuff:
"If we have faith in our Buddha nature, then we can be steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity in our practice. We don't practice Zen in order to gain something, such as peace of mind or ease and comfort. We practice to realize who we are. The Third Patriarch in China instructed us to 'not seek for the truth, but to cease to cherish our opinions.' If we practice in this way, then our meditation is no longer a project about something that we are trying to do, but it is an expression of who we are."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Comment on Tenzo Kyokun by Dogen Zenji Sama

Well put:

So we have to ask us: what is the basic ingredient of our live? For Dogen Zenj Samai, it is Zazen. Zazen is the base of our live. We have to ask us how we can live Zazen in our everyday live. Zazen is not a ecstatic experience, it should guide our lives, letting go off ideas of good-bad, white-black, right-wrong.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Absolute Truth - Chan Newsletter No. 5, May 1980

Old article, good stuff:

In this world, there is no absolute truth. From the Buddhist point of view everything in the world is impermanent and conditioned and therefore can only be considered from a comparative or relative point of view. When we judge one thing to be better than another we always do so from a relative or comparative standpoint. The Enlightened mind, which sees things as they really are, does not attach to any particular thing as being the absolute truth nor does it reject any particular thing as not being the absolute truth.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Just Sitting

King Tut

A bronze face,
glistening and serene,
wraps around a mind,
most mysterious and intriguing,
mummified and kept buried,
from crypt-robbers
and researchers,
who travel the world,
only to find
what is hidden in their soul.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Zen-ga - "Blind winter crow"

AZC Dharma Talk - Investigating Self

Interesting Dharma talk:

There are important questions that arise for each of us. Our answers to these questions determine the course of our lives. But the most important question of all is rarely asked or considered: 'What am I?' Our answer to this question influences every other question and answer. How we live, what we do, what we value, what's really important to us, every choice we make, all of this is shaped by our understanding of this essential question.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

hokai's blogue

Good blog from the founder and editor of dharma treasury. Here's an excerpt from a recent post:

Genuine spirituality has nothing to do with self-improvement, at least not in the sense we Westerners understand that. Improvement is there, yes, and self is there as well, bu these two seem to contradict each other at every step.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki

With the holidays just around the corner, what do you get for the Zennist in your life? More books of course. For those who haven't noticed, I've listed some good Zen books in the left column (scroll down) but I wanted to add this one, since it's one of my favorites. If you haven't read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, run to the library now (or click the link above and buy it). Shunryu Suzuki's warmth shines through on every page:

In one of the best and most succinct introductions to Zen practice, the important teacher Shunryu Suzuki discusses posture and breathing in meditation as well as selflessness, emptiness, and mindfulness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Good Grief!: Zen in a box. Optimum Zen.

More Zen marketing, this time for a Zen cereal. I've actually tried this stuff, and it's a little cardboard tasting in my opinion. I found this review of it. Click above for the whole thing and the responses, which are pretty funny:
"Who knew you could get Zen and mental harmony from eating cereal? I always thought you had to meditate and study scriptures and rake sand around little rocks to get Zen, and who has time for that sh*t?"

Zen Dog


Wonderful essay from the Nebraska Zen centre on Intimacy and Mindfulness by Nonin Chowaney.

As I walked back to the desk, I thought of something I'd read in a book by Kosho Uchiyama years ago, when I was just starting to practice zazen. He said, "If you can't hear the pots crying out in pain when you bang them together in the kitchen, your zazen is not deep enough." I didn't know what he meant at the time and imagined "pot beings" in agony in some non-human purgatory, but the phrase stuck in my mind, and when I slammed the door the other day and felt its pain, I understood what Uchiyama-roshi had meant. Fifteen years of zazen had opened my ears

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Shaolin Temple in the 21st Century

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to an article at the LA Times regarding the direction the current abbot of the famous Shaolin Temple in China is taking the monastary.

The internet, MBAs, marketing. He has a ... different outlook on the practice of Buddhism in the 21st century.

An Honest Doubt, by Kyogen Carlson

Picking up on the Zen doubt thread from way back:

With an honest doubt we can recognize the imperfections in things, weigh them against their merits, and understand the value of a teaching or a practice. Eventually an honest doubt, along with gentle faith, will lead to an understanding of the real perfection, which lies hidden in all things. Religious traditions, and Zen is no different, is made up of individuals with strengths and weaknesses, faults and foibles, and, of course, the potential for enlightenment. If faith permits us to see enlightenment manifesting around us, and in the actions of others, honest doubt permits us to accept human nature as it is. The miracle of transformation that Zen training works upon us requires both of these. Gently accepting our own limitations, we can at last come to know enlightenment at work within ourselves too. To understand honest doubt, though, there is something else to consider. An honest doubt is one that is directed inwardly as much, if not more so, than it is toward outward things. To hold an honest doubt is to first say to oneself 'I could be wrong,' and then, secondly, to admit that 'They could be wrong, too.'

Zen tree

Monday, December 05, 2005

Zen and Chicks

Zen and the art of getting "knee-deep in females." Do I need to mention that this is probably Not Safe For Work and that you will either find it humorous or offensive. Or both:

Once you begin to understand Zen and you start to see it at work, you will realize just how easy it is to get women and you will be guaranteed to get tons of them.

It does not, unfortunately, tell you what to do with all these women once you've gotten them using your Zen powers. Meditate?

Zen image

Nice image, click it for a bigger version:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Techniques for Meditation - by Dr. Dinesh C. Shah

Interesting short article:
"Most of mental burdens come from our thought or imagination which divides us and things around us.

Therefore, if we could realize this and understand it thoroughly, the burdens would fall off themselves and we are as light as from the beginning. I would like to emphasize this: what we need to do is to watch and see it, to understand thoroughly, entirely and not to try to stop the flow of thought or imagination. Why? If we try to stop it, it may stop a little while and after that it will be running again and maybe it will run double or triple or multiple times...then all of our efforts to stop it would go in vain."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Dharma Sound Zen Center FAQ

A good Zen FAQ, includes answers to "Do I have to be a Buddhist or become a Buddhist to practice Zen meditation?" and "I already have strong religious beliefs. Will Zen conflict with my faith?"

Friday, December 02, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - "Strong Taste of Nothing"

Dharma talk from 1983:

When you climb a mountain, you walk up the side for a long time, then you arrive at the top. Going up, we don't understand what is happening. What are human beings? What is the world? But when you get to the top, you can see everywhere. You can understand what human beings are, as well as. time, space, and this world. But understanding and attaining are different.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dogen Sangha Blog

From Master Nishijima's blog, pointed out to me by Rick in a comment below:
When we think about what is the Enlightenment, it is our real experience that we are, not in the world of mind, or in the world of matter, but we are just living in the real world actually, not only intellectually, or perceptively.
I guess that many people complain that such a simple fact can be recognized by everyone easily. But actually I think that there may be many people, who think that they are living in the world of mind, and at the same time there are many people, who think that they are living in the world of matter.

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