Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Zen in Practice

Some interesting thoughts on Zen

According to Zen, man is of the nature of Buddha, therefore in truth he is perfect... an archetypal Model, so nothing is lacking in him...However, he is unconscious of this truth and doesn't realize it because he is entangled in his mental projections... and lives his life through them. Therefore man creates his world through his own created reality, through his thoughts and likes and dislikes...which are then picked up by his imaginative activity which helps him to function in a dualistic mode. We could say that imaginative mental activity, such as visualization, guided meditation, concentration and attunement on some sacred object, an image, a mantra or anything that is sacred to the person attuning to it... is an important step to begin the process of transformation in a seeker's life for it helps him in the recognition of his True Nature...his Buddha Nature

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


A short page with a quick intro to Zen and Buddhism.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Heart Sutra (word by word)

An odd word for word translation of the Heart Sutra. Only a Zen master will be able to withstand the light grey text on pink background. ;)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Living Zen

Short but good. There are other short good primers on Zen practice at this site:

The process of bringing Zen into our lives is one of gently letting our awareness practice enter every moment of our lives. It is not rearranging our lives to perform certain exercises.

The heart of the practice is the instruction, 'Let it come and let it go.' Whether 'it' is a thought, an emotion, a thing, or the self, we have constant opportunities in our daily life to practice.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

To Be at Ease in All Circumstances

Interesting talk. If you're not a big fan of the courier font, I suggest you copy the text, paste it into the word processor of your choice, and change the font there.

The koan tradition started out with students just asking questions in public and the teacher would answer them. Sometimes the dialogue would go on for a little while and then it would stop. The students would ask things that seemed to be a decent way of formulating the question. Traditional questions were often things like, `what is Buddha?,' or `why did Bodhidharma come from the west?' And the teacher would say something helpful like, `the oak tree in the garden,' or `three pounds of flax.' And every now and then a student's mind would be opened by this and then the student would become the oak tree and understand completely what was meant. Some of those sayings because they were found to be particularly helpful, because they seemed unusually resonant, survived and got passed down.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Zen for Assholes

The title grabbed my attention (of course) and the article is good:

Well, most if not all of the really good world-class rel-world hunting archers shoot their arrows without pins. They use Zen whether they know it or not.

Zen is basically emptying your mind of preconceptions to better grasp reality. Instead of devising a system of mediocrity to approach the target, Zen's goal is to hit it square every single time.

A zen archer shoots by what is called 'instinct.' He doesn't use pins. He doesn't concentrate on hitting a target. He doesn't aim. He engages in process. It is both deliberate and effortless. The Zen archer awaits a moment.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dharma Sound Zen Center

Some good questions, such as:

How can I tell my family and friends about my interest in Zen?

My partner doesn't support my Zen practice. What can I do?

How can I involve my children in my Zen practice?

And of course, some good answers. You'll have to click through for those.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lecture on Beginner's Mind

Beginner's mind is Zen practice in action. It is the mind that is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgements and prejudices. Beginner's mind is just present to explore and observe and see 'things as-it-is.' I think of beginner's mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. 'I wonder what this is? I wonder what that is? I wonder what this means?' Without approaching things with a fixed point of view or a prior judgement, just asking 'what is it?'

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Books to Read

Yet another Zen book list. You finished the ones from the last list already, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Zen and Popular Culture

Interesting interview with Zenshin Roshi:

In Zen, emptiness is a translation of the Sanskrit term 'shunyata' or 'voidness,' but that does not imply vacuity. When we talk about 'emptiness' or 'nothingness' in Zen, that term really comes from the fact that the essence of Zen is Buddhism, which is grounded in the doctrine of interdependent origination. That is to say that all phenomenon exists in conjunction with all other phenomenon. Consequently, when you try to look at something's ontological structure, that is when you try to define it as an absolute thing in and of itself, it is 'empty' in that what you're seeing is merely the result of your own sensual limitations or epistemological processes. It's not a matter of the thing's real being; it's a matter of the way you perceive it. So, in that respect, we use the term 'emptiness' because nothing has a real validity solely in and of itself, but it is entirely relational.

That a thing's reality is relational, however, does not mean that things are not significant in and of themselves. Things are expressions of reality; they are the manifestations of reality as 'thing,' just as trees are the expression of the forest. The forest in turn is not manifested where there are no trees. Trouble lies in an absolute identification with either the forest or its expression as trees.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Zen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For those not yet familiar with Wikipedia (all three of you) it's a user editable free encyclopedia. This is the entry on Zen, with lots of links.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dharma Discourse: Yangshan’s Dream by John Daido Loori Roshi

A discussion of the koan "Yangshan’s Dream":

In this talk, I would like to explore “Dream Zen.” For when you truly realize the dream, you realize that your life and the whole phenomenal universe are just a dream.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Otoons - Here & Now

Online animated comic. Click around the site for more.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Resources: Gold Summit Sagely Monastery: Seattle Washington Branch of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association

Lots of Zen information online here, including this
The Chan Handbook: Smashing Empty Space to Reveal the Mind Ground

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Zen Terms

A glossary and Zen FAQ all in one:

Q: What is the right attitude of mind during zazen?

A: That is a most important point. The three main things in zazen are posture, breathing, and attitude of mind-and correctly practiced, they lead to the very principle of zazen; hisiryo consciousness, thinking without thinking. You cannot stop thinking entirely during zazen. In fact, you think even more than usual because there are also the thoughts that come from the past. In your ordinary activities you don't pay attention to them, but during zazen you can see the thoughts coming: 'Maybe my wife is two-timing me.' 'Today I have a payment to make and I must remember to stop at the bank on my way out of the dojo.' You cannot stop your thoughts.
Some forms of meditation teach that you must not think. Others say you must think about God. You must form images of God or beautiful things or you must think about a koan or some philosophical problem.
That is not the right attitude. You cannot go on without thinking for any length of time and if you try to concentrate on just one thing, such as 'What is ku?'* or 'What is mu?'* it is very difficult. It's the same as trying to stop thinking altogether.
In Zen what you must do is let your thoughts pass by. As soon as a thought arises, let it go. If money comes, or a young lady, or sex, or food, or Buddha or God or Zen, let it go. In zazen, concentrate on your posture and let everything else go by. After a while, what is in the subconscious rises to the surface because mind can be expressed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

5 Skandhas

A good intro to the five skandhas:

Who Am I?
When you think of yourself, you feel like a separate, permanent thing. Actually 'self' is a thing that is in five parts and constantly changing. These changes happen many times a second and cause you to see things incorrectly, which in turn causes you to make bad decisions.

A Theravada Library

For those with plenty of time on their hands, here is a lot of Theravada information, including various guides to the Pali Canon:
Access to Insight's text library includes hundreds of short essays, books on meditation practice and Buddhist doctrine, Study Guides, sutta commentaries, and much more. To find what you're looking for, use the indexes (above) or the search engine, or browse through the list of contributing authors and translators.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Zen Stick Swallows Universe

Sort of like a Zen advice column, here's part of the answer to the question, "What is the best way to put it all down?":

But originally we don't have I-my-me. When you were born did you have a plan? Did you say to your mother, 'I am coming into the world and I want to try such and such... please help me.' You didn't say that. You only came into this world and... WHAAAAA! So why did you appear in this world? If you don't understand that, then you will have a problem. No direction, no reason, no condition, nothing... only come into this world. That creates a problem.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Witness

Interesting Dharma talk:

Notice that right now, someone is reading these words. Someone talks, eats, stands, sits, and washes the dishes. Someone may even be doubting that this is what's happening. Who is this one? Some awareness, intelligence or witnessing is taking place. Can you locate this? Does it have a color or form? Can you say when it is born or when it dies? Does it have a size? No matter how much you doubt that this is so, you are still aware of the doubt itself. In your immediate awareness as The Witness there is certainty, even if it is the certainty that you are doubting.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Do You Want to Make Something Out of It? - Zen meditation and the artistic impulse

One of many interesting articles at this site:

Allen Ginsberg begins his essay entitled Meditation and Poetics with this paragraph, “It’s an old tradition in the West among great poets that poetry is rarely thought of as ‘just poetry.’ Real poetry practitioners are practitioners of mind awareness, or practitioners of reality, expressing their fascination with the phenomenal universe and trying to penetrate to the heart of it. Poetics isn’t mere picturesque dilettantism or egotistical expressionism for craven motives grasping for sensation and flattery. Classical poetry is a “process” or experiment- a probe into the nature of reality and the nature of the mind.” And the poet Philip Whalen makes the same point in a poem when he say something like “I don’t want to be another pretty poety-boo; I want to be a world.”

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Stepping Stones of Zen - Still Mind Zendo

Interesting Dharma talk:

So what is this waking up? Well it is, literally, the opening of our eyes to see what is right here under our nose. Just this, as it is, at this moment. Not as it was, not as it might be, not as it should be, not at it could be, as it is. Wake up.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


If you can get past the many odd characters (like ÞÁí­ú¾ß¾ªÎìéîÊ) there is some interesting stuff here:

If a man wishes to achieve his path of Zen, in the very beginning, he has to have great root of self-confidence(Dai-shin-kon). Then what is this confidence?
A confidence about the existence of the same inborn nature and infinite Wisdom as all Buddhas ever had.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Zen and The Birds of Appetite - The Study of Zen

This one's a little over my head, but I'm sure someone out there will enjoy it:

'There is nothing,' says Levi-Stauss, 'which can be conceived of or understood short of the basic demands of its structure.' He is talking about primitive kindship systems, and of the key role played in them by maternal uncles. And I must admit fro the outset that uncles have nothing to do with Zen; nor am I about to prove that they have. But the statement is universal. 'There is nothing which can be understood short of the basic demands of its structure.' This raises a curious question; I wonder if Zen could somehow be fitted into the patterns of a structuralist anthropology? And if so, can it be 'understood?' And at once one sees that the question can probably be answered by 'yes' and by 'no'.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Maximumbliss - Zen Quotes

Zen (and Buddhist) quotes, mostly from non-Zen sources

Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it (religion) should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description
- Einstein

Monday, June 06, 2005

Zen Fun

There are very old, and not very Zen. But hey, they're still funny!

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Wisdom Stories: Zen Peace

When a rebel army swept into a town in Korea,
all the monks of the Zen temple fled except
for the abbot.

The general came into the temple and was annoyed
that the abbot did not receive him with respect.

“Don't you know,” he shouted,
“that you are looking at a man who can
run you through without blinking?”

“And you,” replied the abbot strongly,
“are looking at a man who can be run
through without blinking!”

The general stared at him,
then made a bow and retired.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Confessions of a Zen Jew

Interesting article

I AM A JEW. I'M PROUD. Though I question where my pride comes from. Perhaps it isn't pride, but the fear of knowing that in a Christian nation I'm an outsider who must stand resolute. I have also some small degree of discomfort, knowing that although the Zen community makes no distinctions and asks no man to leave his tribe, by my own race I'm considered a deserter because I choose to practice zazen instead of davening, and take my sustenance from Philosophical Taoism rather than the Torah.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Jizos For Peace

A project to promote peace in the world through art, Jizos for Peace invites people from all walks of life to make a contribution to peace. The mission of Jizos for Peace is to support people in cultivating and expressing peace in their lives. Our hope is that by participating in the project, people will uncover the qualities of Jizo within themselves, and then manifest those qualities in the world around them.

Be sure to check out the gallery of Jizo Banners

Amazon.com: Zen in the Markets: Explore similar items

From Zen marketing to Zen in the Markets. Yes, there is apparently a Zen approach to trading stocks. Who knew.
Presents a Zen approach that reveals how to listen, recognize, and obey the language that every market speaks. How well you play the inner game is what determines if you will be successful making money in the markets.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Art of Zen Yoga

Includes some articles on breathing and meditation.

Zen Yoga combines the gentle, flowing movements of Chinese Tai Chi with the deep, relaxed stretching of Shanti Yoga. It incorporates the philosophies of Zen meditation, Qigong and the Tao.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Buddhanet - Buddhist Photographic Documentaries

Via Metafilter. Some nice pictures:

Please visit our latest exibition of photographs entitled 'Phuoc Hue Vietnamese Temple in Sydney Australia' by clicking on the link below. Our previous photo documentaries called 'Sangha' by Friedrich Reg and 'Sacred Lotus' by Heng H.C. are still up as well.

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Wake Up!

Funny Zen story:

'Why did you cut down these trees?'

'You already understand.'

'WHY?! It's not correct!'

'What is 'correct'? What is 'not correct'?'

Listed on BlogShares