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”

mountains and rivers

February 23, 2010

Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253) says that mountains and rivers at this very moment are a revelation of Truth.  Mountains are conditioned, relative, and connecting Beings and are perfect exactly as they are.  Mountains and rivers, in their relative and absolute nature, have no identity that is separate or distinct from anything else.  Mountains express rivers and rivers express mountains.  Mountains are hidden in rivers and rivers are hidden in mountains.  Mountains and rivers are mandalas that have all qualities as potentials within them.

– Joan Halifax Roshi, from “The Fruitful Darkness”

one and the same

February 18, 2010

While awakening from delusion is sudden, the transformation of an unenlightened person into an enlightened person is gradual. Sudden enlightenment means that although beings have been deluded from time without beginning, recognizing the four elements as their body and deluded thoughts as their mind and taking both together as constituting their self, when they meet a good friend who explains to them the meaning of the absolute and conditioned aspects of suchness, the nature and phenomenal appearance, the essence and its functioning, then they at once realize that their own marvelous awareness and vision is their true mind, that the mind, which is from the beginning empty and tranquil,boundless and formless, is the dharmakaya, that the nonduality of body and mind is their true self, and that they are no different from all Buddhas by even a hair.

– Tsung-mi

faithful concentration

February 14, 2010

Truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Jesus, from Matthew 17:20

A monk who is skilled in concentration can cut the Himalayas in two.

Buddha, from Anguttara Kikaya 6.24

same as it ever was

January 31, 2010

At the heart of Christianity, which defines much of Western civilization, and Buddhism, a driving force in Eastern culture, lies the same basic wisdom.  Both Jesus and Buddha focused on the individual, emphasizing that the inner person is more vital than the outer image, and that each of us needs to look at our own life rather than criticizing others.  They use the same imagery of light and darkness, sun and rain, the fruitful and the barren in describing their moral world.

Contemporary scholars searching for the historical Jesus are placing increasing emphasis on his role as a first-century sage.  Many of the aphorisms they cite in portraying him as a wisdom sayer embody the same advice that Buddha provided to his followers five hundred years earlier.

– Marcus Borg, from “Jesus & Buddha – The Parallel Sayings”

it comes and goes

January 29, 2010

Consider the ebb and flow of the tide. When waves come to strike the shore, they crest and fall, creating a sound. Your breath should follow the same pattern, absorbing the entire universe in your belly with each inhalation. Know that we all have access to four treasures: the energy of the sun and moon, the breath of heaven, the breath of earth, and the ebb and flow of the tide.

– Morihei Ueshiba, from “The Art of Peace”

chop wood, carry water

January 22, 2010

When a man sells his own labor as a commodity, his own activity becomes something objective and independent of him.  In consequence, not only do capitalists see their workforce as an impersonal object, a machine for the generation of profit, but the workers themselves see their own activity as something alien.  However, if the worker becomes conscious that his labor is not something alien, and that he is the subject and object of his own consciousness, this effects an objective change in the object of knowledge, and with it the potential realization that all the so-called facts of existence are merely the reified aspects of total process in which thought and existence are dialectically unified.

– Malcolm Bull, from “Seeing Things Hidden”