Robert Aitken Roshi discusses in this orientation talk the different paths people may take in seeking to put their minds at rest. Some pursue intellectuality, mind control, asceticism or meditation. The middle path does not deny a degree of any of these pursuits, it is the degree to which these means are pursued that can be problematic for the success
The task of offering “encouraging words” got me thinking about discouragement. “Courage” is at the root of both terms, deriving in the first instance from Middle English corage which means “heart as the seat of feeling.” The Zen path, like any path, presents obstacles and the possibility then of losing heart, maybe abandoning the project. How to proceed when you
There is a ‘precious heart-to-heart connection sangha members experience’. SANGHA Gillian Coote, Roshi recently reminded us at the AGM: ‘In this time of increasingly virtual relationships, the importance of face-to-face communication in handing on the live coal of the Dharma, as Robert Aitken Roshi did, is ever-greater. Turning up for sangha events maintains these connections, not turning up erodes them. Sangha
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