Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Zen Master Seung Sahn - Q & A in Warsaw

More good stuff from kwanumzen.com:

"Soen Sa Nim: Strong action is not necessary, O.K.? Very strong student! You only (hits the floor with his stick) understand this style, but this cup and this bell, are they the same or different? What can you say? Only this style (hits the floor with his stick) is not enough. You ask me, are they the same or different? You ask me!

Student: Are they the same or different?

Soen Sa Nim rings the bell and drinks from the cup. There is laughter."

Nice picture of a bell

Zen marketing: The amazing Zen Chi

Here's another stab at grabbing the hearts of all the Zenists with money to burn:

"The Zen Chi is a passive aerobic exerciser that oxygenates, tones, and strengthens the body while increasing the feelings of aliveness and well being. That is, it raises the pranic energy or life force in the body."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More Zen marketing; Zen Mirror & Easel, Zen dresser, Zen bed, etc.

And so the Zen marketing continues. Here at least they attempt to explain what the heck is so "Zen" about their furniture:

"Distilling a piece down to essential elements enables it to maintain the essence of a classic style, while expanding its compatibility with other furniture and settings. The Zen Collection reflects that design philosophy by emphasizing a creative use of materials and innovative engineering, creating beautiful and versatile pieces"

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The White Plum Zen Sangha UK - Homepage

I liked the quote from Dennis Genpo Merzel's "The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way" on this Sangha's home page:

"In order to discover that there was nothing missing in the first place,
it somehow seems necessary for each one of us to embark on the search for the Self; but really, it's just a big detour. Your unborn Buddha Mind is discovered when you are One - just sitting, just breathing, just sweeping the floor.
In that moment, there is no one sweeping, no one breathing,no one sitting.
You are one with whatever you are doing because you are that to begin with.
You are born free, and your very nature is free and unfixed. The unborn Buddha Mind is always manifesting as you."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Zen Q and A

Another Zen (and Judo) FAQ. Some good stuff here:

"This is the direct way to find your self. In Zen we retreat from the outside to the inside, towards our true self. After penetrating to the true self through sitting in Zazen, we reach the happiness from within, understand what is real time, and our destination in this life. Then, when we are near Satori, when we are in the zone of enlightenment, we return to serve society."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If You Practice, You Will See It

Interesting article:

"The three pillars of practice as outlined by Yasutani Roshi are faith, doubt, and determination. We practice because we have faith that through this practice we can see the same thing the Buddha saw. This is faith that as I am is perfect, complete, compassionate, and wise. Sometimes we have very little faith in ourselves and in our life, but you don't need 100% faith, just a little will do."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Zen Proverbs

Some Zen(ish) proverbs, here's one:

"An autumn night... don't think your life didn't matter.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Natural Action

Interesting talk by Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman that ends with this quote from Kobun:

"The main subject of this sesshin is how to become a transmitter of actual light, life light. Practice takes place to shape your whole ability to reflect the light coming through you, and to regenerate your system, so the light increases its power. Each precept is a remark about hard climbing. Maybe climbing down (to the very ground of your being). You don't use the precepts for accomplishing your own personality or fulfilling your dream of your highest image. You don't use the precepts in that way. The precepts are the reflective light world of one precept, which is Buddha's mind itself, which is the presence of Buddha. Zazen is the first formulation of the accomplishment of Buddha existing. The more you sense the rareness and value of your own life, the more you realize that how you use it, how you manifest it, is all your responsibility. We face such a big task so, naturally, such a person sits down for a while. It's not an intended action, it's a natural action."

Monday, March 20, 2006

Zen Master Seung Sahn | Hundred Proof Dragon

Zen Master Seung Sahn teaches us about "head like a dragon, tail like a snake.":

"'One plus two doesn't equal three...'

'It does too! My teacher said so!' A child's mind doesn't shake so easily. But Zen students! They cling to their thinking."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Zen Horse

Friday, March 17, 2006

Zen Master Hakuin's Letter in Answer to an Old Nun of the Hokke [Nichiren] Sect

What did Hakuin mean by "Outside the mind there is no Lotus Sutra and outside the Lotus Sutra there is no mind"? Click the link and find out. (Warning, this is a long one, especially for a Friday. But you could always print it out for the weekend.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Zen Fish Story

Yet another lively Zen story:

"Chia-shan was about to speak when Ch'uan-tzu leapt upon him, wrestled him into the water, and held his head under. Then Ch'uan-tzu lifted the gulping and gasping Chia-shan and demanded, 'Say a word! Say a word!' And again, when Chia-shan opened his mouth, Ch'uan-tzu pushed his head under the water.

At about the third dunking, Chia-shan became enlightened."

Always a happy ending!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Zen Talk: Silence Mind Disturbance Mind

Important reminder:

"'Silence mind' is not Zen. If we abide in silence mind, it soon breaks. Trying to stay in this mind of silence can be a source of confusion or disturbance. When we do Zen, the appearance is that we are supposed to be silent. Zen is the mind where both silence and disturbance is cut off. So from the outside it might look like silence but on the inside of someone doing Zen, its not silence either. We have to know this in order to practice correctly."

Monday, March 13, 2006

misuse of "Zen": A yen for Zen

Somewhat related to the use of "Zen" in product names is the frequent use of the word "Zen" to mean, well, pretty much whatever you want. Here is an article about Yoga that doesn't mention Zen at all, yet the title is "A yen for Zen." Well, it rhymes. My question with this as well as all the Zen products is, what does Zen mean to people who don't practice? Eastern? Far out? Spacey? Weird? Surreal? Ancient? Cool? Relaxed?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Samadhi of Coolness (where are my keys?)

Good stuff from Zen Master Soeng Hyang:

"Once, when Soen Sa Nim was explaining to someone how to sit, he said something that I found extremely helpful. He said imagine that you have lost your only set of car keys and you have to get somewhere very desperately. Just at that time your mind is totally focused on trying to find those car keys. You don't stop and think about the nature of car keys, or about where they originally came from; nor do you stop and read books about what other people have done when they have lost something that they need very badly. You also don't try to feel detached or empty about the keys. You only look for them! Where are my keys? Where are my keys?"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dust In the Wind

Here's an excerpt from a quote from a book found on a blog (Dust in the Wind) that I found through another blog (Zen and the Art of Dreaming: The Three Pillars of Zazen Links). See how that works?:

"Practice is not about having nice feelings, happy feelings. It's not about feeling good as opposed to feeling bad. It's not an attempt to be anything special or feel anything special. The product of practice or the point of practice or what practice is about is not to be always calm and collected. Again, we tend to be much more so after years of practice, but it is not the point."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Introduction to Iron Flute

Introduction by Steve Hagen to the book Iron Flute by Nyogen Senzaki:

"No concept, no idea, no piece of intellection will ever give you “the answer.” Whether we’re talking about life or koans (the same thing, really), there are no pat answers or solutions."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One Bright Pearl by Dogen Zenji

"Once, a monk asked him, “I hear you have said all the universe is one bright pearl. How can I gain understanding of this?” The master said, “All the universe is one bright pearl. What need is there to understand it?”

The next day the master himself asked the monk, “All the universe is one bright pearl. What is your understanding of it?” The monk answered, “All the universe is one bright pearl. What need is there to understand it?” “I know now,” replied Gensha, “that you are living in a ghost cave in the mountain of darkness.” "

Confused? Click the link.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Zen art and zen koan plus comik equals ?

Zen comics based on koans. Nice work.

More Zen marketing: Tazo Zen Tea

"For thousands of years, medicine men and shaman from many cultures have recognized the value of green tea in maintaining health."

There you have it. Medicine Man + Shaman = Zen!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Attain Zero Mind, Use Zero Mind

This talk is not boring. Is that good or bad? [Warning, division by zero can be harmful to your health]:

"Boring is a very important word. If you attain boring, then everything is boring. Then this is no desire, no anger, no ignorance. Desire is boring; anger is boring; ignorance is boring; everything is boring. Then, you will get Enlightenment. So boring is very important. Everything is equal. But people don't like boring. They want something, and boring is not interesting. It's like clear water. Clear water has no taste, but no taste is great taste. Everybody likes ice cream, but eating ice cream all day is not possible. However, if you're thirsty, clear water is wonderful any time -- better than honey, better than ice cream, better than anything. The truth is like this."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Zen Master Dae Gak - Transmission Speech

Very interesting discussion:

"This kong-an points to how our linear mind wants to see things in a relative way. Something happens and something else occurs because of it. That somehow, the sound of the bell will bring about a state called enlightenment. It will call enlightenment to come into being. When we are in a particular state of mind that is not very becoming to us, not very satisfying, not complete, we seek something outside of ourselves, like the sound of the bell, to bring us into another state. To create something different from what we are experiencing. To enlightenment us. To lighten us. And so there is hope that there will be some kind of intervention that we will be saved from our suffering in some way. We look to certain groups of people like Zen Masters, because our karma is Zen Buddhist; it could be Desert Fathers, gurus, PhD's, whatever... teachers when we were young, elementary school teachers, parents, our mother and father, our friends. We look toward them. We tend to automatically set ourselves apart from certain groups of people and presume that they have something we don't. And sometimes this presumption, especially in regard to parents, is so subtle and so unconscious that we don't even have a sense that we are doing it. There isn't even awe involved. It is covered by our feelings while we are growing up."

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