Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Questions to Master Deshimaru: What is the difference between subconscious and unconscious?

Some interesting ideas explored in this article. [Beware the fall leaves background and all italics text]:

The master says to the disciple, 'leave this room! No, no, not by the door!' So the disciple turns to the window. 'No, not by the window!' 'Then where?' 'Just leave!' You cannot leave through this exit or through that, not by the summit or by the base, not by the south or by the west. And so the master awakens the disciple's understanding.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Zen Teaching of Mu

Interesting article about Zen in general and Mu in particular:

'The experience of mu may at first glance seem purely negative or passive,' he says, 'but it is not so at all. Being mu, or empty of self, allows one to actively take in whatever comes. Our world today and all in it are separated into dualistic distinctions of good and evil, birth and death, gain and loss, self and other, and so on. By being mu, not only does one's self-centeredness disappear, the conflicts that arise with others dissolve as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Pools by Charlotte Joko Beck

Interesting article:

"The first and uncomfortable years of sitting make it clearer and clearer that my desire is to be irritated or angry (separate). That's almost all I have known as a means to preserve and protect what I think is my identity. With continued avareness, it dawns that there is only one person who can irritate me or make me feel lonely and depressed, and it is myself -- myself as a false identity."

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Zen Stories

Some short Zen stories, here's a funny one:

"On a visit to the East Coast, Suzuki Roshi arrived at the meeting place of the Cambridge Buddhist Society to find everyone scrubbing down the interior in anticipation of his visit. They were surprised to see him, because he had written that he would arrive on the following day. He tied back the sleeves of his robe and insisted on joining the preparations 'for the grand day of my arrival.'"

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Zen Poems and Koans

"If you want to be free,
Get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance,
No root, no basis, no abode,
But is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility,
But its function cannot be located.
Therefore when you look for it,
You become further from it;
When you seek it,
You turn away from it all the more.
- Linji"

Friday, January 20, 2006

Notes on Contemporary Zen

Some somewhat scattered but valuable thoughts on modern practice:

"Zen cannot be taught as there is no thing to teach. Zen can be learned. Learning can be facilitated by others, both living and dead. However, in the end, the responsibility is on the learner."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Freedom of No Escape by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei

Nice Dharma Talk:

"The moment that we hear about something, we read a little bit about the dharma, we just hear the word enlightenment and it’s all there; we begin to create images in the mind. That then becomes the place we seek. This is why we encounter various disappointments along the way in practice, because at various points we realize that what we think it is, it’s not. The good news is that what we ultimately discover — the truth — is so much more."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Giving = Non-attachment = Giving

This connects with the "Rimpoche's Toenails" post from a few days ago:

"Sometimes we actually physically can give something yet be still be attached. To truly give we should let go of all attachment to that which is given. When we donate money, we cannot be attached to feeling too good about ourselves being so charitable. When we bestow a gift, are we doing it in the spirit of giving or are we doing it to get a good feeling that we attach to?"

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Seeing Things As They Actually Are

Dharma talk from Mountain Rain Zen Community:

"We think that we can see and know ourselves, and that we can see and know our world. Then seeing and knowing our world, as we think, we can evaluate it, and we find it lacking, our world and ourselves. So we feel that we need to, somehow, change our world, or change ourselves, and we suffer for all the desire and lack, for all our craving and confusion."

Friday, January 13, 2006

Zen Poetry, Chan Poems, Sayings, Verse, Quotations

Some Zen poems, including this little gem:
"What is this mind?
Who is hearing these sounds?
Do not mistake any state for Self-realization.
Continue to ask yourself:
What is it that hears?"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Kinhin or Walking Meditation Practice

Basic instructions:

"In the formal version of waking meditation, the head, shoulders, back, eyes, breath, and awareness are as in sitting meditation. The hands can be held as in sitting meditation. Alternatively, one can make a fist of one hand, tucking the thumb inside the fist, and positioning the fist in the center of the chest at heart height. Place the other hand palm down on top of the fist, and hold the elbows at the same height as the fist with the forearms parallel to the floor.

The walking is a slow continuous motion with short steps. We breathe synchronously with our steps, usually breathing in on one step and out on the next."

Zen Walking - Lego style

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Three Letters to a Beginner

Good stuff from Seung Sahn, as always:

"Your before thinking mind, my before thinking mind, all people's before thinking minds are the same. This is your substance. Your substance, my substance, and the substance of the whole universe become one. So the tree, the mountain, the cloud and you become one. Then I ask you: Are the mountain and you the same or different? If you say 'the same,' I will hit you thirty times. If you say 'different,' I will still hit you thirty times. Why?"

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Zen Master Bon Yeon - The Rimpoche's Toenails

Good story, here's a smattering. Click the link for the whole thing:
"He said (clip, clip, clip), 'Well, if you want to practice generosity, you can start by giving your best friend some small thing that you are not attached to, like a penny. (Clip, clip, clip, clip.) When you have mastered that, give them something you really like, perhaps your favorite shirt. Then, once you have mastered that, try giving some small thing to someone you dislike. At last, when you can do all this with ease, give your greatest enemy something which you cherish dearly.'"

Monday, January 09, 2006


Heard this morning on the Korean Buddhist Television Network:

"You have to be brave enough to forget your habits.
Directly seeing your thoughts--
Dare to see it--
Dare not to touch it."

Chong-an Sunim, Poep Sa Nim, guiding teacher for the Kwan Um School of Zen, Hungary and Czech Republic

Zen litter box?

Does a cat have Buddha nature?


Friday, January 06, 2006

Koan of Self

Interesting post at Graceful Presence:
"Out in the world, working, relating, responding, my ego moves forward. I frequently rub up against a part of my self, call it my ego, which is in the way. Though I am generally good-natured and kind hearted, my ego can be cold and protective, holding others at a distance. My ego can be self aggrandized, arrogant. This part is hard to love. "

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh on Enlightenment

"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realizes it is water. When we realize we are not seperate, but a part of the huge ocean of everything, we become enlightened. We realize this through practice, and we remain awake and aware of this through more practice."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Questions and Answers--Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat discusses red light Zen:

"When you drive around the city and come to a red light or a stop sign, you can just sit back and make use of these twenty or thirty seconds to relax-to breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy arriving in the present moment."

(via 43 Folders)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ten Ways to a Better New Year

begins with: "1. Meditate daily"

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bringing Dharma into Relationships, by Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma

Lot's of articles at this link, here's an excerpt from the first one:
"In a room with forty people, there are forty different universes. Each one of us sits at the center of our universe. Because it is a universe that we have created, we believe in it. The problem is that each of us views our individual universe from our own particular little time and space, and our universes do not always coincide, so frictions develop. Each of us sits and looks at the others, honestly not understanding what has created the disharmony. Each of us creates our own fictitious universe which we genuinely believe to be true. This can cause serious problems when we become involved in relationships."

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