November 2007 Archives

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Master Heron

.

Before we talk about 'Right Mindfulness' and 'Right Concentration', we shall receive a lesson from a visiting Master ...


If you would like more information on his lineage, please look here.


(we have a county nature reserve behind our small house in Florida, and this fellow appears on our creek every day in the morning and afternoon. I just waited for him, then sat with him at a respectful distance. If, perhaps , you think it a photograph, please notice the fluttering grass and water at the lower left. He moved a bit, at 19 minutes, then flew away at the end) ...



Click on picture to 'play'
(Sitting Time: About 25 minutes)

.

.
There is a chance tonight that almost all of our "Sit-a-long with Jundo" sittings and talks of these many months are gone, deleted, never to be seen again ...


... Rumors abound (just rumors at this point) that the video service has gone belly up, is finished, bankrupt. Where little screens appeared on hundreds of blog postings, now blank space.


All those hours of talking and timeless silence ... lost ... lost ... lost ...


... and thus I say ...


Yeah! Yippy! HOORAY!



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eightfold Path VI


.
The sixth branch of the 'Eightfold Path' is 'Right Effort' ...

It is the effort to put into Practice the links of the Path within our life ... to keep on keepin' on.

We persevere, even those times when we just don't feel like making the effort. "Right Intention" is the aspiration to do so, while "Right Effort" is the will to make the day by day slog ...

We also learn that, in "just sitting", effort can be effortless ...
that we move ahead with nowhere to go ...
that every step of a steep climb is one step, and one step, and one step ....




Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eightfold Path V(ii)


.
... continuing to talk on 'Right Livelihood' ... on a Monday morning ...

The workplace (like the home) is our place of Practice ...

Might these places be, in many ways, even more fruitful, challenging and stimulating for Zen Practice than any dusty monastery or old temple?

However, to reap the benefits, we must approach our work in a 'Zen-ful' way, with a balanced state of mind, in keeping with 'Right Livelihood'




Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Designer

.

Please meet John Simon, an old Zen hound, and the talented web designer behind ...


He also was the GENIUS behind our famous Anytime Zazen Timers, available both online (click on 'Meditate Now') and downloadable for Mp3 players (have a look and give them a spin, if you haven't already).

There are lots of other bells and whistles too, like a video and sound library, which work great ... (if only Jundo would learn to keep them updated!). Oh, and all the chats on our Community Forum

Also check out the cool online tour of the Tokei-in, our lineage's home temple in Japan.

THANK YOU, JOHN!




Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eightfold Path V(i)

.
I've had to use the 'backup system' due to some technical difficulties
- all should be working now



The fifth branch of the 'Eightfold Path' is 'Right Livelihood' ...

Right Livelihood means that, as a life choice, one should earn a living in ways not harmful, and helpful and healthful to the world.

Nurse, social worker, school teacher seem obvious choices. But, in our interconnected economy, so too the kind bus driver, honest salesman, cheerful office worker, waitress supporting her kids, the engineer or businessman providing goods or services which benefit lives.

Certainly, burgler, heroin pusher, hitman and environmental polluter fall outside the mark.

And for all of us in careers of complexity ... the lawyer, soldier, butcher (traditionally, said banned by Buddha), nuclear scientist ... we must honestly follow our hearts: Are we doing what is really necessary? Are we doing it in the best ways we can? Are we leaving this world a better place?



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Thanksgiving!

.
I'm not speaking about today's holiday in America (last month in Canada), but a universal celebration of 'Thanksgiving' arising everywhere at each moment.

It is our gratitude for the life we have somehow received, and for each other and all the universe that makes that life possible.

It does not matter whom or what we are thanking (or if there is someone or some thing to hear our thanks) ... we feel thankful nonetheless.

And, perhaps the hardest part, we must be thankful for a cornucopia overflowing with both sweet and bitter fruit.



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eightfold Path IV

.

The fourth branch of the 'Eightfold Path' is 'Right Action' ... being in accord with the Precepts ...

Neither commandments nor laws, but arrows pointing toward a peaceful, healthful life & world.

We are guided to abstain from harming others and ourselves, to abstain from taking life, from taking what is not given through stealing or dishonesty, to abstain from destructive sexual conduct. Positively stated, right action is to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect others, and to keep relationships healthful.

As we can, we act seeking to avoid harm to oneself or others, and in ways healthful and helpful to oneself and others ... knowing that there is, ultimately, no difference between oneself and others.



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Eightfold Path III

.

The third branch of the 'Eightfold Path' is 'Right Speech' ... the first of three branches devoted to 'Ethical Conduct' (Sīla) ...

Our words have power to be weapons or constructive tools, to help or hurt others, express care or disdain, make enemies or friends, start wars or bring peace.

The Buddha advised that we should ...

... abstain from false speech, especially deliberate lies ...

... abstain from slanderous speech and words used maliciously against others ...

... abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others ...

... abstain from idle gossip.

This means that we should, as best we can amid the complexities of life, seek to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm and gently, and to be careful in our words.




Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Silent Sitting

.


No talking today, only silent sitting.





(I may start back to talking about the Eightfold Path tomorrow however)





Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: New Teacher

.


We have a new teacher, filling in for today ...
(I think he's better than the regular teacher)

Please try to catch the teacher's special after-Zazen 'goodbye'
in last last 30 seconds of the netcast.





YOU MAY WANT TO TURN DOWN THE VOLUME SLIGHTLY ...
THIS GUY LIKES TO SCREAM INTO THE MICROPHONE
Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Let Go of Everything

.
A beautiful observation was made in discussion on our Forum today ...


Renunciation requires a willingness to let go of EVERYTHING...your thoughts, your feelings, your wishes, dreams, hopes. Everything really does mean everything.


I think this is true in part, yet not true in part. It is true that, through our Buddhist Practice, we come to embody perspectives by which thoughts, feelings, wishes, etc. are fully dropped away ... there is nothing to think, no emotion arising, nothing to wish for beyond what is. We abandon likes, dislikes, memories and dreams of the future. We are like stones and flowers.


It it also true that, in renunciation, we embody non-attachment to our human thoughts, feelings and desires. We learn to recognize our thoughts and feelings as just the temporary workings of the mind, circumstances at a given moment. We do not cling to our hopes and desires, are freed of disappointment when dreams are not attained. We give up desires and cravings.


Yet, it is not true too ... for human beings will not and cannot maintain such states and perspectives, not always or even most times, not if we are to live as humans in the world. We are not like stones and flowers. We must live as if our thoughts and feelings are real. We must possess likes, dislikes, memories and dreams ... and will feel the sting of loss, of hopes and desires that do not bear fruit.


We live from all these perspectives at once, like sides of a single coin.






Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Untangled Life

.




When life gets a bit complicated, when the wires are tangled ...










Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Beware!

.

Beware of any teacher, from whatever tradition, promising 'ecstacy', 'unshakable bliss', 'everlasting joy', 'eternal harmony', 'unending peace & happiness', 'permanent euphoric states' etc. etc. ...

The vast majority (I dare not speak for all) are con artists ... deceiving students with claims that cannot be backed-up, selling 'enlightenment' to the gullible. Eastern religions, Buddhism among them, are chock full of liars, fakes, abusive personalities, paranoics, would-be cultists, snake oil salesmen, megalomaniacs and thieves. They sell books and classes, soliciting money, promising Dharmic pipe dreams and offering storybook visions of Buddha Lands.

At worst, the ability of anyone to attain such states is a myth, the stuff of old legends. At best (even if, we presume, attainable by a gifted few), I cannot support any path among those that may require forsaking our ordinary lives. Although many living individuals claim such abilities and cosmic states ... to be 'fully enlightened', holders of super-human consciousness, prophets, avatars, incarnate Buddhas ... most such claims exist as nothing but rumors, whispers repeated so often among 'believers' that the rumor is taken as truth. Hell, anyone can claim such nonsense! Where is the proof, besides the faith of foolish followers hanging on the guru's every word?

For those who are not so gullible, our Zen Practice (though it too is frequently packaged as a fairy tale, Buddhist Bullshit) provides something far beyond fluff and hype, a Way of Being relevant to real people with real lives, that folks can put to the test for themselves in the day-to-day. Beyond 'Eternal Peace, Oneness, Unending Happiness, Bliss' and the rest of the catch phrases, we experience for ourselves a True Treasure whose value is proven here and now.

We attain a peace while living in a world that sometimes falls all to pieces. We are 'one with a universe' that so often disappoints, that frequently stinks to high heaven. We drop all fear of the fact that we will, from time to time, be afraid. We are happy in a life in which we are both happy and sad ... we know a timeless state amid ordinary, passing time.

Get the point? It is Peace beyond peace or a lack of peace ...


... Peace by dropping all thought of peace and disturbance, at peace with a life rarely peaceful.




Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Extras

.

Must we bow, ring bells, chant (in Japanese, no less), wear traditional robes, have Buddha Statues, burn incense? ... All that stuff besides Zazen (as, for example, during our recent Retreat). Are they necessary to our Practice?


No, not at all!


We don't need anything other than Zazen, any of those trappings. In fact, they are no big deal, of no importance, when we drop all viewpoints in sitting Zazen.

On the other hand, we have to do something, greet each other somehow, read some words, dress some way. Why not do such things?

What is more, there is method to the madness, and each custom has centuries of time tested benefits ... embodies subtle perspectives ... that support and nurture the Zazen Practice at their core.

(Truly, we don't 'do' such things, or 'not do' them. We non-do these traditions).



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Broken Buddhas

.

Do not be attached to symbols of non-attachment.


Pieces of broken Buddhas are each a Buddha complete.


That which is whole remains so, yet is divided.


Thus, no violence is ever done, though terrible violence be done.


We are, you and I, each broken Buddhas.





Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Look

.



When was the last time you really, truly looked at a stone?




Truly listened to a stone?





Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Retreat-a-long

.

Please 'SIT-A-LONG' with our 'ONE DAY, ALL DAY ZAZENKAI RETREAT' ...

... which you can join at any time, 'On Demand', by the links below

(recorded in segments, but it's best to sit the whole day - right through, if possible).



TREELEAF ZAZENKAI SCHEDULE - Total: Approx 8 hours 35 minutes

00:00 – 00:50 CEREMONY (HEART SUTRA/SANDOKAI) & ZAZEN
00:50 – 01:00 KINHIN
01:00 – 01:35
ZAZEN
01:35 – 01:45 KINHIN
01:45 – 02:15
ZAZEN

JOIN ABOVE CEREMONY, ZAZEN & KINHIN (LINK)
(approx. 2 hours 15 minutes)

02:15 – 02:30 REST PERIOD
02:30 – 02:55 ORYOKI MEAL,
02:55 – 03:15 REST PERIOD


(approx. 25 minutes; Sound is low first 5 minutes)

03:15 – 03:45 DHARMA TALK & ZAZEN
03:45 – 03:55 KINHIN
03:55 – 04:25
ZAZEN
04:25 – 04:35 KINHIN
04:35 – 05:00
ZAZEN

(approx. 1 hour 45 minutes)

05:00 – 05:15 REST PERIOD
05:15 – 05:40 SAMU WORK PERIOD
05:40 – 06:00 REST PERIOD


(approx. 25 minutes)

06:05 – 06:30 ZAZEN
06:30 – 06:40 KINHIN
06:40 – 07:10
ZAZEN
07:10 – 07:20 KINHIN
07:20 – 07:50
ZAZEN
07:50 – 08:00 KINHIN
08:00 – 08:30 FUKANZAZENGI CHANT &
ZAZEN
08:00 – 08:35 FOUR VOWS, VERSE OF ATONEMENT & CLOSING COMMENTS


(approx. 2 hours 25 minutes)

PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE CHANT BOOK AND OTHER EXPLANATORY MATERIALS
ALSO, A SERIES OF TALKS ON CHANTING, SAMU, ORYOKI and OTHER PREPARATIONS FOR THIS RETREAT CAN BE FOUND HERE

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai IX

.

A few last thoughts about our 'Online One Day Retreat' tomorrow ...




Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai VIII

.
We continue with Oryoki for our 'Online One Day Retreat' this Saturday ...


... Traditional Oryoki practice consists of scores of set movements for eating, each of which must be learned and mastered, much like a ballet. Here is a small sample, this merely for wiping and repacking the spoon, chopsticks and settsu (bowl washing stick) at the end of the meal ...

1) Pick up spoon in right hand with the handle pointing toward you. Put it in your left hand. Pick up setsu with right hand; put bowl of spoon into water in middle bowl and clean it with setsu. Do both sides. Hold spoon straight.

2) Put setsu in middle bowl, pointing straight out. Put spoon in right hand. With left hand, fold the exposed corner of the drying cloth over the bowl of the spoon without taking the cloth out of the Buddha bowl. Wipe bowl of spoon; turn spoon 180 degrees so bowl is pointing toward you and push it through cloth.

3) Spoon is now in your right hand, bowl down and pointing left. Without picking up utensil holder, slide spoon into it. (The opening in utensil holder should be on your right, with the fold on the left.)

4) Repeat steps 1) and 2) above with chopsticks.

5) In left hand pick up folded utensil holder that contains spoon. Slide sticks into utensil holder, toward you. Work utensils to bottom with right hand. Do not let utensils drop of their own weight.

6) Fold over the utensil holder and replace it in front of you, this time with the opening on the left. The pointed half is on top, with the opening down (not visible). Fold is now on the right.


We will be doing a simplified version but, I hope, no less mindful.


NOTE: THE DEMONSTRATION OF 'HOW TO ORYOKI' HAD TO RUN LONG, AND THERE WAS ANOTHER TECHNICAL PROBLEM. PLEASE SELF-TIME YOUR ZAZEN IF 'SITTING-A-LONG'.




Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai VII

.
For our 'Online One Day Retreat' on November 10th ...


...We will be making a simple 'Oryoki set.

All you need is:

1 - Clean Pillow Case
2 Bowls and 1 Tea Cup (that fit into each other)
1 - Jar Lid or Flat Small Dish
1 - Cloth Napkin (or Paper Napkin)
1 - Table Spoon
1 - Small Cut Piece of a New Sponge
1 - Long Envelope



Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai VI



At our 'Online One Day Retreat' of November 10th ...
.
... there will be times of prostrating (Raihai), done in a series or three (Sanpai) ...

I am often asked to whom or what we are bowing ... Is it to some thing, god, person or effigy?

I answer by saying that there is nothing that's true that is omitted from our bow. We might consider that we're simply bowing to the whole universe, or to ourself and the other people around us … after all, 'All are One'! The hands, palms upwards, are raised in a gesture traditionally symbolic of lifting the Buddha's feet over one's head, but that truly means lifting all things of the universe over one's head. It's appropriate to cultivate an attitude of emptying, letting go, receptivity and gratitude in our bows.

If there is some physical or personal reason not to prostrate, a simple Gassho can be substituted. However, there is greatness in the humility of the prostration.



Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO & HANS

.
Another special guest today ... one of our original members, and one of the many talented folks in the Sangha ...

We learn that life is like a television show ... except that it is not.


Hans


THERE IS A TECHNICAL PROBLEM WITH THE NETCAST
PLEASE SELF TIME IF SITTING-A-LONG



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai V

.
Working toward our 'Online One Day Retreat' of November 10th ...


our topic is work, Samu ...

Our friend Keishin had some lovely words on this, and some suggestions ...

KEISHIN's TIPS

I wrote this for a previous talk on Samu, and will just restate it due to laziness today (laziness is not a fitting attitude for Samu usually!) ...

While Zazen is at the heart of our Way, other aspects of traditional Zen Practice also should be introduced and encouraged. I have been meaning to do so more and more around Treeleaf. One of the most vital is the non-doing of 'Samu' (traditional work practice) ...

Samu is well described in this excerpt ...


Samu is manual work done with the same concentration as zazen. All masters of transmission, especially Master Hyakujo (720-814), have insisted on this. Even in his old age, Master Hyakujo worked every day in the field with his students. One day, they hid his tools, thinking that their master should spare himself. Hyakujo declared: “A day without working, a day without eating.” And he stopped eating until his disciples gave him back his tools.

In zen, work has great value, because it allows us to practise the Way in action. In the dojo and during retreats (sesshins), zazen is followed by samu, which is when we do the chores to ensure the smooth functioning of communal life. Samu also means putting our efforts at the service of the community, without expecting anything in return. French version of the texts from Zen, by Bovay, Kaltenbach and De Smedt, Albin Michel Publishing, 1993

Yes, Samu is just Zazen in action. It may not look like seated meditation, but it is to be done from the same state of mental balance. Couple this with an attitude of goalless, non-striving, 'just doing', also a hallmark of Zazen. As well, work is to be performed mindfully, as the only action in and of the whole universe : One engaged in Samu should devote to it all care and attention, never wishing for or thinking of anything else.

The result is a job performed diligently and patiently and with certain goals, but with no thought of anything to achieve (of course, not a contradiction in Zen). It may be a continuing job that just needs to be done without end, but we do it with all care moment by moment by moment for the time we have.

I encourage those Treeleaf folks with the time to give a few hours each week to volunteer activities in their community (please consult with me, if you wish, about an appropriate choice of work). However, those with heavy family or employment duties can make that part of that their 'Samu', approaching it with the mindset described above.



Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai IV

.
More chanting for our 'Online One Day Retreat' on November 10th ...


... the Sandokai, the 'Merging of Relative and Absolute', 'Sameness and Difference' ...


The subtle Source is clear and bright;

The branching streams flow in the dark.

To be attached to things is primordial illusion;

To encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment.



For our chanting practice today, it is best to first download the following ...




Press on arrow for 'play'

.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai III

.
In preparation for our 'Online One Day Retreat' on November 10th ...


... a little discussion about chanting the Heart Sutra in Japanese:

Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo*

Kan Ji Zai Bo Satsu Gyo Jin Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ji Sho Ken Go* On Kai Ku Do I Sai Ku Yaku Sha Ri Shi Shiki Fu I Ku Ku Fu I Shiki Shiki Soku Ze Ku Ku Soku Ze Shiki Ju So Gyo Shiki Yaku Bu Nyo Ze Sha Ri Shi Ze Sho Ho Ku So Fu Sho Fu Metsu Fu Ku Fu Jo Fu Zo Fu Gen Ze Ko Ku Chu Mu Shiki Mu Ju So Gyo Shiki Mu Gen Ni Bi Ze Shin Ni Mu Shiki Sho Ko Mi Soku Ho Mu Gen Kai Nai Shi Mu I Shiki Kai Mu Mu Myo Yaku Mu Mu Myo Jin Nai Shi Mu Ro Shi Yaku Mu Ro Shi Jin Mu Ku Shu Metsu Do Mu Chi Yaku Mu Toku I Mu Sho Tok ko Bo Dai Sat Ta E Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko* Shin Mu Kei Ge Mu Kei Ge Ko Mu U Ku Fu On Ri Is-Sai Ten Do Mu So Ku Gyo Ne Han San Ze Sho Butsu E Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko* Toku A Noku Ta Ra San Myaku San Bo Dai Ko Chi Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ze Dai Jin Shu Ze Dai Myo Shu Ze Mu Jo Shu Ze Mu To To Shu No Jo Is sai Ku Shin Jitsu Fu Ko Ko Setsu Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Shu Soku Setsu Shu Watsu Gya* Tei Gya Tei Ha Ra Gya Tei Hara* So Gya Tei Bo Ji Sowa Ka Han Nya Shin Gyo

If you would like to practice with a very nice traditional version ... click here ...

JAPANESE HEART SUTRA LISTEN

And if you would like to watch it in all its formal glory, performed at a Japanese temple (our Retreat's Ceremony will be a somewhat simplified version of the same), this video is CERTAINLY worth watching ...



Press on arrow for 'play'
.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Zazenkai II

.
Please see the sitting schedule for our Retreat of November 10th, if participating ...


In preparation for our Retreat on November 10th, a little discussion about chanting the Heart Sutra in English. Tomorrow, we will discuss chanting the Heart Sutra in Japanese. Both can be downloaded here:


For today, I will just be practicing the beginning of the English version ...

INO ONLY =

Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra*
(The Great Sutra of Perfect Understanding)

EVERYONE =

A/vo/lo/ki/tes/va/ra/ Bo/dhi/satt/va/,

Prac/ti/cing/ deep/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ *

Per/ceived/ the/ emp/ti/ness/ of /all /five /con/di/tions/,

And/ was/ freed/ of/ suf/fer/ing/.

O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, form/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ emp/ti/ness/,

Emp/ti/ness/ no/ o/ther/ than/ form/;

Form/ is/ pre/cise/ly/ emp/ti/ness/, emp/ti/ness/ pre/cise/ly/ form/.


... and the end ...


This/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ truth/.

There/fore/ set/ forth/ the/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ man/tra/.

Set/ forth/ this/ man/tra/ and/ pro/claim/:*

(1x)

Gate! Gate! (Gone, Gone)

Paragate! (Gone Beyond)

Parasamgate! (Fully Beyond)

Bodhi! Svaha! (Awakening, Rejoice)


If you would like to hear an Mp3 of a somewhat different version in English (just to hear the rhythm), link here:



Press on arrow for 'play'
.