Encouraging Words

Finding Peace

Beloved Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh passed away peacefully at his root temple Tu Hien Temple, in Hue, Vietnam at the age of 95 on January 22, 2022. Thay (Vietnamese for teacher) was a world-renowned spiritual leader, prolific author, poet, relentless peace activist. As a pioneer of engaged Buddhism, Thay adopted the slogan, “There is no Way to Peace,

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Where are you going?

In a couple millennia’s worth of meditation instruction we find a wealth of shared experience that has allowed teachers to craft useful teachings that help point students in the right direction. In our inherited traditions of Buddhism, Taoism and Ch’an, various approaches to guidance arose out of the insights these traditions collectively experienced. The most obvious approach, which resonates most

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Zhaozhou’s “Wu”

A monk asked Zhaozhou, “Does the dog have Buddha nature, or not?” Zhaozhou said, “Wu.” Peter Bursky takes up Zhaozhou’s famous “Wu” (Mu) koan, diving into a scholarly take on its etymological beginnings and usage in Taoist thought & practice, whilst envisioning a freshened take on its endless depths through the ‘named’ and ‘nameless’ of Taoism.  This talk was given by

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The Great Freedom

After such a quiet period on the roads during lockdown, here in the Blue Mountains since Freedom Day we have had cars streaming up the Mountain highway, heading for Freedom. So I thought it might be a good time to explore what that word ‘freedom’ means for the follower of the Buddha Way. In case 1 of the Wu-men Kuan,

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Just this, just this

Daily routines don’t always follow a predictable schedule. Though if we can stick to some sort of schedule where we can fit in our daily practice it certainly makes it easier. I’ve been contemplating how to integrate practice into daily life when there is no routine or schedule. Plenty of zen practitioners encounter this aspect of how to practise when

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Zhaozhou’s Cypress Tree

A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the mind that Bodhidharma brought from the west?” Zhaozhou said, “The cypress tree in the courtyard.” Peter Bursky explores Zhaozhou’s well-known Cypress Tree koan from the perspective of some of the traditions greatest trouble makers, including Zhaozhou, Bodhidharma and Iron beak Jiao.The realisation that cuts away all time allows us to experience the exact

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Found in Translation

Buddhism took about 500 years to peregrinate to China and another 500 or so to evolve towards Ch’an via Taoism. One of my heroes is Xuanzang, whose epic twenty-year journey from China to India and back in the 600’s was impelled by his goal to bring back sutras and translate them, a journey that later became a 15th century Chinese

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Meeting Kuan Yin

The Bodhisattva of Compassion is a salient figure in the Mahayana tradition and in our Zen sutra service. She (he!) manifests in different genders and forms which speak to us in slightly different ways. But her means are always generous, whether in pronouncing the deepest wisdom, portraying great action, modelling how to be embodied, showing the way of non-separation. In

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