Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Zanshin - Without Hesitation

Good stuff in this teisho by Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi:
“Beyond control” does not mean “out of control;” it means that the sense of solidity, comfort and predictability that self-image tries to maintain is completely irrelevant to one's actual experiences. You don't even know what this sentence is going to say until you have read it. Once you've read it, the black shapes and letters become words and meanings and then you have the sense that you have read it. It is only after a thought has arisen that you have the illusion that you have thought it.

Self-image arises as memory, as a contraction around the vividness of life as it is and, in order to ascertain a sense of its own continuity, it lumps things together, piles them up and strings itself along. It can only do this by ignoring most of the details of the moment, and it dulls their vividness by pushing and pulling itself into an imaginary “past” or “future.” However, the energy of the arising of this moment is the energy of our life itself, and by backing away from this vast energy we find ourselves lifeless, confined, hesitating, awkward, angry, judgemental, guilty, sad."


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Building my Zen Garden

Want to build a Zen garden? Want to read this book for free? This website has "draft chapters of the book, with photographs of each stage of the construction. " Cool.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Read about Zen Buddhism

Somewhat a "crash course" in Zen, there's lots to read here. Then again, it's Friday and unlikely you were going to get anything done today anyway.

"Zen is known for rejection of reliance on written texts. In spite of this, monks are well versed in Buddhism's ideas and texts. It's the old story of knowing the rules before you break them."


Get The Gold

A brief talk by Seung Sahn,
"Some people can answer many kong-ans, but they don't try. Then the kong-an never becomes theirs. So, the purpose of the kong-an is to give us correct direction so our life can become correct. 'If you go south ten miles you will find gold. Go over there and find it!'

Anyone can understand these directions, but if they don't actually walk ten miles south they will never get the gold. 'I understand that ten miles south of here there is a mountain. Inside the mountain there is a cave and inside the cave there is gold. I understand that completely.' Wonderful, but if you don't do it, you don't get it. So, only understanding a kong-an cannot help you; cannot help your life."


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Essentials of Buddhism - core concepts

A Buddhism "cheat sheet" that begins, of course, with:

"Four Noble Truths

1. Suffering exists
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path "


The 10 Bulls

The 10 Bulls depict a journey, the goal of which is enlightenment. The bull is the eternal principle of life; one's true nature.

In the 12th century the Chinese master Kakuan drew the 10 bulls, basing them on earlier Taoist drawings. The earlier drawings had only 8 bulls, with the eighth representing the final stage of enlightenment. Kakuan went beyond this, illustrating that the moment of enlightenment is merely a beginning.

These bulls were drawn by the Kyoto woodblock artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki, and published in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Tao Te Ching and Buddhism

Interesting comparison of the concept of "emptiness" in Taoism and Buddhism:

"The most common misunderstanding people have about the Tao is that 'Emptiness' in the Tao has a similar meaning to 'Emptiness' (Sunyata, Chinese: Kung, Japanese: Ku) in Buddhism. This is because different words in Buddhism and Taoism were all translated as Emptiness in English.

Chinese character for 'empty'Several different Chinese characters are used for Emptiness in the Tao, but Chinese Buddhists mostly use the character on the right (pronounced 'Kung').

'Taoist Emptiness' is completely different to 'Buddhism Emptiness'. The Emptiness in the Tao is about restraint, patience, frugality, simplicity, lack of worldly desire etc. These are all good things for Buddhists, but they have nothing whatever to do with Buddhist Emptiness, which is about the inaccuracy of our 'externalist' perceptions of reality and the fictional objects that are created from that misunderstanding."


Monday, January 08, 2007

Groundhog Universe

Interview with Robert Thurman

MR: Buddhism is not a religion?

RT: No, not primarily. The way we define religion today in religious studies is as a non-rational, sort of an emotional thing, where you put your science aside and you kind of commune with the world or something and you have a leap of faith and you’re saved and born-again. And therefore it’s non-rational, in fact, by definition anti-rational.

MR: So that experience can happen in a Buddhist context, like in the Vimalakirti Sutra you described earlier, even though Buddhism is not a religion? It sounds like you are saying the root of a conversion experience is not, in fact, religious.

RT: Yes, the real essence of that experience can happen in a Buddhist context because the real essence of it is not the blind faith or religious part of it, actually. The real essence is a deep contact with a different aspect of reality. The essence of that experience is a contact with the nirvanic nature of reality. That is what the essence of that experience actually is.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Warriorship - by Sensei Robert Joshin Althouse

Interesting Dharma talk:

We are always in need of Bodhisattva warriors. This is why the traditions of warriorship are so sacred in other cultures. Such cultures had extensive rituals and rites of passage for transforming soldiers into warriors. We have very few of these rites of passage left in our society today. And what we see are the broken young men and women returning from war, many unable to find their way back home, in a civilian culture that is strange and foreign to them.

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