mountain home

April 15, 2010

My zen hut leans at the summit
Clouds sail back and forth
A waterfall hangs in front
A mountain ridge crests in back
On a rock wall I sketched three buddhas
For incense there’s a plum branch in a jar
The fields below might be level
But can’t match a mountain home free of dust.
– Stonehouse

every day magic

April 5, 2010

So this, should I be so bold as to use the word “discipline,” of meditation or Za-zen lies behind the extraordinary capacity of Zen people to develop such great arts as the gardens, the tea ceremony, the calligraphy, and the grand painting of the Sum Dynasty, and of the Japanese Sumi tradition.  And it was because, especially in tea ceremony — which means literally “cha-no-yu” in Japanese, or “hot water of tea” —  they found in the very center of things in everyday life, magic.

In the words of the poet Hokoji, “marvelous power and supernatural activity, drawing water, carrying wood.”

– Alan Watts

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)

happy solitude

March 26, 2010

Being alone means you are established firmly in the here and the now and you become aware of what is happening in the present moment.

You use your mindfulness to become aware of every feeling, every perception you have. You’re aware of what’s happening around you in the sangha, but you’re always with yourself, you don’t lose yourself.

That’s the Buddha’s definition of the ideal practice of solitude: not to be caught in the past or carried away by the future, but always to be here, body and mind united, aware of what is happening in the present moment.

That is real solitude.

– Thich Nhat Hanh from “The Heart of The Matter” (Winter 2009)

come and go

March 22, 2010

The field of boundless emptiness
Is what exists from the very beginning.
You must purify, cure, grind down,
Or brush away all the tendencies
You have fabricated into apparent habits.
Then you can reside in the
Clear circle of brightness.

– Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157)

thoughtful eating

March 15, 2010

“When you eat with awareness, you find that there is more space, more beauty.  You begin to watch yourself, to see yourself, and you notice how clumsy you are or how accurate you are.  So when you make an effort to eat mindfully, you find that life is worth much more than you had expected.”

– Chogyam Trungpa

observed freedom

March 13, 2010

All who are fortunate, set yourselves free
With the mind unbound by meditation,
And observe reality from a state of freedom.

– Godrakpa (1170-1249)

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)

the false idol of time

February 24, 2010

The politics of those whose goal is beyond time are always pacific; it is the idolaters of past and future, of reactionary memory and Utopian dream, who do the persecuting and make the wars.

– Aldous Huxley, from “The Perennial Philosophy”

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)