How can I find my way in the Dharma? How shall I proceed? This is the gist of the sincere questions Chao chou put to his teacher, Nan Ch’uan. Their dialogue—found in case 19 of the Wu Men Kuan– is most instructive and illuminating, not to say evergreen. Ordinary mind is the Tao! We’re in the midst of spring. Flowers are blooming,
Zen student Janet Selby takes us on a journey to Japan to walk from temple to temple on the Island of Shikoku. She describes what it’s like to take every step as it comes and enjoy not knowing what may lie ahead. Along the way she draws the landscape, people and temples, and sometimes even what is served for breakfast.
Riley Lee is one of the world’s foremost performers, composers and teachers of the shakuhachi, an end blown bamboo flute. The shakuhachi has been used by some Zen sects as part of their meditative practice, calling it suizen (“blowing meditation”). In the shakuhachi tradition a collection of original pieces of music (“honkyoku”) are passed down from teacher to student in
At our recent samu at Gorricks Run, I asked Heath and Fleur (Nick and Jo’s children), whether trees breathed. They weren’t too sure, so we embarked on an experiment. We picked some leaves and put them in a glass of water, weighing them down with a little rock. We had to wait a few hours for a result, but there
It was war and the giants fell despatched by a scadgett, take this coupe and make of it a timber soup says the Forestry, so a yellow machine with a saw and a claw tracks its way to 41A, and the man inside with a job and a plan cuts the elders and shoves them, they’re pushovers, claws them into
Once again I find myself writing out of the experience of pilgrimage to Shikoku. Like sesshin, pilgrimage has the capacity to shake up our lives: as we drop the regular routines and the concerns of our everyday lives and entering into a sustained period of practice, we create space for necessary truths to emerge. Quite often these openings happen during
The highest ideal of the Western tradition has been to restructure our societies so that they are more socially just. The most important goal for Buddhism is to awaken and put an end to dukkha “suffering” due to the delusion of a separate self. Today it has become obvious that we need both: not just because individual transformation and social transformation complement each other, but because each project needs the other.
Xuefeng’s Turtle-nose Snake, Case 22, Blue Cliff Record Here we encounter four great Chinese Zen masters, Xuefeng, Changqing, Xuansha and Yunmen doing a little snake dance together. It’s a lovely case because it shows us both the humour and the insight of these old fellas. Look out for that snake! It might bite you … if you’re lucky. This talk
The opening paragraph in a much loved text Faith in Mind by the Third Zen Patriarch, Seng T’Sang, are very affirming and have direct implications for our practice. The Supreme Way is not difficult it simply avoids picking and choosing. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised, Make the smallest distinction however and heaven
Will Moon discusses the adventuring mind, playing on the extreme edge of life and how one moment can sometimes have serious consequences. He explores, drawing from his own life, how the extreme behaviour of a wilderness adventurer can provide rich and intense experiences that can become addictive, and its importance in one’s life can overshadow everything. He describes some of his early days of climbing on the big