Cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words, and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest.

– Dogen

rain or sun
cool or warm
the rhythm of the ocean
and the smell of the pines
make leaving this place a solemn event.

east meets west
material rises to the spiritual
ultimately falling short.

one is recollected in time
and reality is contained in the now.
make your home your resort and
repose is wherever you are.

– dsk

let go

April 29, 2010

How shall I grasp it?  Do not grasp it.  That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self.

– Panchadasi

good vacation

April 19, 2010

For ten miles the mountains rise
Above the lake. The beauty of
Water and mountains is
Impossible to describe.
In the glow of evening
A traveler sits in front
Of an inn, sipping wine.
The moon shines above a
Little bridge and a single
Fisherman. Around the farm
A bamboo fence descends to
The water. I chat with an
Old man about work and crops.
Maybe, when the years have come
When I can lay aside my
Cap and robe of office,
I can take a little boat
And come back to this place.

– Chu His (1130-1200)

wishful thinking

April 3, 2010

Not knowing its strength,
The mosquito sucked too much blood to fly.
Don’t covet what others value.
You’ll pay for it someday.

– Naong Haegun (1320-1376)

guard the gate

March 28, 2010

Pavarti emerged to find Ganesh decapitated and flew into a rage. Even though he was immensely powerful Shiva was upset with Pavarti’s rage. He swore to make amends by taking the head of the first living thing he found to replace Ganesh’s head. The first animal he came across was an elephant. Accordingly he took the head from the elephant an placed it on Ganesh’s body.

it matters not

March 1, 2010

As it says in The Way of the Bodhisattva, praise and a good reputation do nothing to increase our longevity or good health.  Maybe if lots of people praised us we might get a bit richer!  But apart from that, praise does not make us live longer or in better health or help us in any other way.  If people criticize us, it does not make us sick or unhealthy and nor does it shorten our lives. It does not affect us in any substantial way at all.

If we really stop to think about praise and criticism, we will see they do not have the least importance.  Whether we receive praise or criticism is of no account.  The only important thing is that we have a pure motivation, and let the law of cause and effect be our witness.  If we are really honest, we can see that it makes no difference whether we receive praise and acclaim.

– The Dalai Lama, “Bad Repuation” (Summer 2007)

clear perception

February 25, 2010

When a monk looks at the green mountain
Even a mote of dust must not obstruct his sight.
Clear vision penetrates the bones naturally.
So why are you still striving for nirvana?

– Jinkag Haesim (1178-1234)

Now I teach you to be like someone who has died the great death. If you truly can be like someone who has died the great death, then why should you spend time on intense effort, or on studying Ch’an and the Way, or on bowing and burning incense? It is a lot of wasted effort. I have been the abbot at five different monasteries, and what I have taught my followers at all of them does not go beyond this: be like someone who has died the great death.

– Ch’an-t’i Wei-chao (1084-1128)

no gaining idea

February 6, 2010

Practice without an idea of gaining is called Buddha’s practice. If we become attached to enlightenment or to the profundity of the teaching, we will lose the point. When we just practice zazen as a human being without any idea of gaining we have the universality of the teaching, and also its individuality and validity. If we attach to some idea of perfection, we will lose the validity of the teaching, although we may have its universality. But this is no longer religion: it is philosophy or science.

So the point is to practice our pure way as human beings with sincerity and without an idea of gaining. That is pure practice. It is not important whether it is the first stage or the second stage or the third one, that is not the point. Just to practice with a pure-way seeking mind, that is true Zen and true Buddhism.

– Shunryū Suzuki, from an early afternoon lecture in November, 1965