June 2009 Archives


On Today's "Top Ten" Countdown of the  "Pure Virtues of the Bodhisattva" ...


... we come to No. 5 ...  Meditation .. Dhyana ...

(not to be confused with the 50's song 'Diana' ...

 Hold me, darling, ho-ho hold me tight
Squeeze me baby with-a all your might

Oh, please stay by me, Diana
Oh, please, Diana
Oh, please, Diana
Oh, please, Diana
)
 

Anyway, we spoke about this just a few days ago, in looking at Master Dogen's 'Bendowa" ... how 'Zazen' may thus appear to be well down the list ... just one of many Buddhist practices ...

... but is better seen as the very center of all ... Zazen as the heart & foundation of the Bodhisattva Virtues. 


Zazen is the spindle which makes the whole record spin, baby!
(for those old folks who remember 'records')


And if you think too that Zazen's just some narrow form of 'meditation' ... a little tool, bit of a mind trip, some one hit wonder ...

... change that tune!


Like that song says ...


You and I will be as free
As the birds up in the trees
... Dhyana





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

Zazen in the MRI Machine

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I had my annual physical today, the way they do it in Japan.

(Wow, I hope my fellow Americans soon get a national health insurance system like they have here in Japan ... let's just say that there is not an inch or opening of the body left untouched, and it cost me what a single emergency room visit used to run me in the States. As a matter of fact, an emergency room visit last week in Japan, with x-rays and tests and such,  cost me the equivalent of $20 US ... and I got excellent treatment).

But, anyway,  today as I was stuffed into the MRI machine, later as the tummy camera was stuffed down my throat, then as something else was stuffed somewhere for the prostate exam ... each presented a perfect time for a moment of Zazen ...  (I bet you knew I was gonna say that)



POWERFUL MEDICINE ...


(I'm talking about the Zazen!)





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


(BENDOWA XXXVI)


Master Dogen upheld Zazen ... not only as one Buddhist Practice among many Buddhist practices ... but as ...

THE Buddhist Practice.

I think Dogen can make a good case for his assertion being right.

Zazen is what was present when the Buddha held up a flower, and his disciple Mahakasyapa offered a subtle, wordless smile in return.
.
You see, says Dogen, Zazen is rather different from mere practices of "concentration" or "meditation" as those words are usually used, and misunderstood, in Buddhist philosophy  ...

Zazen is so wondrous that, says Dogen, even 'celestial beings' are moved by its power (we will talk a bit about who those 'celestial beings' are said to be).   

_____________________________

Question Five:


Q. [Someone] asks, "Among the three kinds of training [in the precepts, concentration and wisdom] there is training in [concentration], and among the six Paramitas [the Perfections of charity, keeping the precepts, patience, diligence, the practice of meditation and wisdom] there is [included meditation], both of which all bodhisattvas learn from the outset and all bodhisattvas practice, regardless of whether they are clever or stupid. The zazen [that you are discussing] now is surely one of these [and already included]. Why do you say that the Tathagata's [Buddha's] right Dharma is concentrated in this [one practice of zazen]?"

 

A. I say: The question arises because this right Dharma-eye treasury, the supreme and great method, which is the one great matter of the Tathagata has been called the "Zen Sect." Remember that this title"Zen Sect" was established in China and the east; it is not heard in India. When Great Master Bodhidharma first stayed at Shaolin Temple in the Sung-shan mountains and faced the wall for nine years, monks and laymen were still ignorant of the Buddha's right Dharma, so they called [Master Bodhidharma] a Brahman man who made a religion of zazen. Thereafter, the patriarchs of successive generations all constantly devoted themselves to zazen. [Foolish] secular people who saw this, not knowing the reality, talked at random of a Zazen Sect. Nowadays, dropping the word "Za", they talk of just the Zen Sect. This interpretation is clear from records of the patriarchs. [Zazen] should not be [considered to be the concentration and meditation] in the six paramitas and the three kinds of training.

That this Buddha-Dharma is the legitimate intention of the one-to-one transmission has never been concealed through the ages. In the order on Vulture Peak in ancient times, when the Tathagata gave the Dharma to Venerable Mahakasyapa, transmitting the right Dharma-eye treasury and the fine mind of nirvana, the supreme and great method, only to him, the ceremony was witnessed directly by beings among the celestial throng which are present in the world above, so it must never be doubted. It is a universal rule that those celestial beings will guard and maintain the Buddha-Dharma eternally; their efforts have never faded. Just remember that this [transmission of zazen] is the whole truth [and complete path] of the Buddha's Dharma; nothing can be compared with it.

From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross [with some amendments according to Uchiyama]





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

There Is No 'Zen Sect' !!

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(BENDOWA XXXV)


We have been looking in recent days at the "Perfections of the Bodhisattva" ... one of which is said to be "meditation" (along with practicing charity, keeping the Precepts etc.).

"So", the questioner asks, "since all Buddhists traditionally practice 'concentration' and 'meditation' as just one of many important practices, why so do you, Dogen, push Zazen as something special among those that is at the core of .... that is the very heart of ... the Buddha's teaching?"

Dogen answers by first saying that, when Master Bodhidharma first brought his teachings to China, the Buddhist clergy there was so shocked at how he was sitting Zazen ... that they actually called him the founder of the "'Zazen' or 'Zen' Sect". That shows how much the clergy in China at the time had forgotten about, or were not practicing, "Zazen".

Anyway, says Dogen, Zazen is rather different from mere practices of "concentration" or "meditation" as those words are usually used in Buddhist philosophy ... (a subject we shall discuss tomorrow) ...

_____________________________

Question Five:


Q. [Someone] asks, "Among the three kinds of training [in the precepts, concentration and wisdom] there is training in [concentration], and among the six Paramitas [the Perfections of charity, keeping the precepts, patience, diligence, the practice of meditation and wisdom] there is [included meditation], both of which all bodhisattvas learn from the outset and all bodhisattvas practice, regardless of whether they are clever or stupid. The zazen [that you are discussing] now is surely one of these [and already included]. Why do you say that the Tathagata's [Buddha's] right Dharma is concentrated in this [one practice of zazen]?"

 

A. I say: The question arises because this right Dharma-eye treasury, the supreme and great method, which is the one great matter of the Tathagata has been called the "Zen Sect." Remember that this title"Zen Sect" was established in China and the east; it is not heard in India. When Great Master Bodhidharma first stayed at Shaolin Temple in the Sung-shan mountains and faced the wall for nine years, monks and laymen were still ignorant of the Buddha's right Dharma, so they called [Master Bodhidharma] a Brahman man who made a religion of zazen. Thereafter, the patriarchs of successive generations all constantly devoted themselves to zazen. [Foolish] secular people who saw this, not knowing the reality, talked at random of a Zazen Sect. Nowadays, dropping the word "Za", they talk of just the Zen Sect. This interpretation is clear from records of the patriarchs. [Zazen] should not be [considered to be the concentration and meditation] in the six paramitas and the three kinds of training.

That this Buddha-Dharma is the legitimate intention of the one-to-one transmission has never been concealed through the ages. In the order on Vulture Peak in ancient times, when the Tathagata gave the Dharma to Venerable Mahakasyapa, transmitting the right Dharma-eye treasury and the fine mind of nirvana, the supreme and great method, only to him, the ceremony was witnessed directly by beings among the celestial throng which are present in the world above, so it must never be doubted. It is a universal rule that those celestial beings will guard and maintain the Buddha-Dharma eternally; their efforts have never faded. Just remember that this [transmission of zazen] is the whole truth [and complete path] of the Buddha's Dharma; nothing can be compared with it.

From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross [with some amendments according to Uchiyama]





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


Last time, in our discussion of the Ten Pure Virtues or "Perfections" (Paramitas) of the Bodhisattva path ...

we talked about "Patience" ...

... and today we will talk about the Perfection of Effort and Diligence (Virya Paramita).


All the perfections go hand-in-hand, each supporting and nurturing the others. Each is part of the Bodhisattva's vow to "Save All Sentient Beings". But "Patience" and "Diligent Effort" have a special bond ...


Our way might be called "patience in effort", "stillness in motion" "quiet in action" ...

... for, with the latter alone, we are always running headlong through life, trying to find the end of a rainbow which we never reach, rarely at ease, unsatisfied, never arriving at the ultimate goal  ...

... while the former alone leads to passivity, inaction, complacency and resignation.

 
Thus, remember that our teachings emphasize, not just stillness ... but stillness in, as and amid the motion. Yes, we are like a stone Buddha in the garden, sitting with come what may, not budging if it rains or if the sun comes out. It is all the same

.
... yet the stone Buddha rises, dances and lives life!

This is the reason I repeatedly emphasize that our Way is stillness in action ... effort without effort
...





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


Ten Pure Virtues or "Perfections" (Paramitas in Sanskrit) are fundamental to the Bodhisattva path.



Today, we will discuss the Perfection of Patience  (Kshanti Paramita)


If the video does not work today ...
please consider it a perfect chance to put this Perfection into Practice!
:D





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


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Please join our SPECIAL ZAZENKAI in honor and memory of someone who was my friend Thumbnail image for Jiho Optimized Cut Final.jpgand informally my 'teacher' of many years, Rev. Jiho Sargent, who left this little world this week.

Our sitting today, as were Jiho's Sunday Zazenkais in Japan, will be of 2-hours, on the following schedule, and has been
recorded in "real time" and made available at the following link:

To mark Jiho's passing, Jundo shall first chant the SHARIRAIMON (Verse of Homage to Buddha's Relics) three times to begin ... once in Japanese, once in English, once in Japanese ... The words are below ...

 

We will then continue with the 'Heart Sutra' in English (words also below), some full floor prostrations (please follow along with me ... or a simple Gassho can be substituted if you wish). Then, of course, Zazen (two periods) with Kinhin in between. After, I will read some passages from Jiho's book "Questions About Zen" ...

http://www.amazon.com/Asking-About-Zen-108-Answers/dp/0834804948

 and we close with the 'Metta Chant', followed at the end with the 'Verse of Atonement' and 'The Four Vows'.

The schedule is as follows:

00:00 - 00:20 Shariraimon & Heart Sutra CEREMONY
00:20 - 00:55 ZAZEN
00:55 - 01:05 KINHIN
01:05 - 01:38 ZAZEN
01:40 - 01:50 Passages from Jiho's Book
01:50 - 02:00 METTA CHANT & ZAZEN, VERSE OF ATONEMENT, FOUR VOWS, & CLOSING


I SUGGEST THAT YOU POSITION YOUR ZAFU ON THE FLOOR IN A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE NOT STARING DIRECTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT CAN GLANCE OVER AND SEE THE SCREEN WHEN NECESSARY. YOUR ZAFU SHOULD ALSO BE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE COMPUTER SCREEN WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE ZAFU FOR THE CEREMONIES.

ALSO, REMEMBER TO SET YOUR COMPUTER (& SCREEN SAVER) SO THAT IT DOES NOT SHUT OFF DURING THE 4 HOURS.


Please join in, one and all.

Gassho, Jundo

FOR CHANT WORDS, CLICK ON "continue reading this post"
Here's what we will be chanting ...


INO = CHANT LEADER ONLY
EVERYONE = ALL JOIN IN


AFTER 3x STANDING BOWS by EVERYONE:

JUNDO ONLY WILL CHANT THE SHARIRAIMON (Verse of Homage to Buddha's Relics) first in Japanese, then in English, then in Japanese ... Note that Jundo will be chanting a modified version from the "Official" Soto School English wording below)

Verse of Homage to Buddha's Relics

舎利礼文 (Shariraimon)

 

一心頂禮

IS-SHIN CHŌ RAI

 

萬德圓滿

MAN DOKU EN MAN

 

釋迦如來

SHA KA NYO RAI

 

眞身舍利

SHIN JIN SHA RI

 

本地法身

HON JI HŌS-SHIN

 

法界塔婆

HŌ KAI TŌ BA

 

我等禮敬

GA TŌ RAI KYŌ

 

爲我現身

I GA GEN SHIN

 

入我我入

NYŪ GA GA NYŪ

 

佛加持故

BUTSU KA JI KO

 

我證菩提

GA SHŌ BO DAI

 

以佛神力

I BUTSU JIN RIKI

 

利益衆生

RI YAKU SHU JŌ

 

發菩提心

HOTSU BO DAI SHIN

 

修菩薩行

SHU BO SATSU GYŌ

 

同入圓寂

DŌ NYŪ EN JAKU

 

平等大智

BYŌ DŌ DAI CHI

 

今將頂禮

KON JŌ CHŌ RAI

 

Homage to the relics of the Buddha of complete merit;

Homage to the body of truth which is truth itself and a

stupa for the world of the dharma for the benefit of our

present body. Though the merits of Buddha, the truth

enters into us and we enter into the truth.

Though the excellent power of Buddha, we realize the

truth. Let us do only good for all living things that we may

possess the true mind.

Let us do only pure deeds that we may enter the peaceful

world which is unchanging, great wisdom.

Let us pay homage eternally to the Buddha.


INO ONLY =

The Heart of the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra*
(Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo in English)

EVERYONE =

A/vo/lo/ki/tes/va/ra/ Bo/dhi/satt/va/, A/wa/kened/ One/ of/ Com/pas/sion/,

In/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/, the/Deep/ Prac/tice/ of/ Per/fect/ Wis/dom/*

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

And/ was/ free/ 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/.

Sen/sa/tions/, per/cep/tions/, for/ma/tions/ and/ con/scious/ness/ are/ al/so/ like/ this/.

O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, all/ things/ are/ ex/pres/sions/ of/ emp/ti/ness/,

Not/ born/, not/ des/troyed/, not/ stained/, not/ pure/;

Nei/ther/ wax/ing/ nor/ wan/ing/.

Thus/ emp/ti/ness/ is/ not/ form/; not/ sen/sa/tion/ nor/ per/cep/tion/,

not/ for/ma/tion/ nor/ con/scious/ness/.

No/ eye/, ear/, nose/, tongue/, bo/dy/, mind/;

No/ sight/, sound/, smell/, taste/, touch/, nor/ ob/ject/ of/ mind/;

No/ realm/ of/ sight/, no/ realm/ of/ con/scious/ness/;

No/ ig/no/rance/, no/ end/ to/ ig/no/rance/;

No/ old/ age/ and/ death/,

No/ ces/sa/tion/ of/ old/ age/ and/ death/;

No/ suf/fer/ing/, nor/ cause/ or/ end/ to/ suf/fer/ing/;

No/ path/, no/ wis/dom/ and/ no/ gain/.

No/ gain/ - thus/ Bod/dhi/satt/vas/ live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*

With/ no/ hin/drance/ of/ mind/ -

No/ hin/drance/ there/fore/ no/ fear/.

Far/ be/yond/ all/ de/lu/sion/, Nir/va/na/ is/ al/rea/dy/ here/.

All/ past/, pre/sent/ and/ fu/ture/ Budd/has/

Live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*

And/ re/al/ize/ su/preme/ and/ com/plete/ en/light/en/ment/.

There/fore/ know/ that/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/

Is/ the/ sac/red/ man/tra/, the/ lu/min/ous/ man/tra/,

the/ sup/reme/ man/tra/, the/ in/com/pa/ra/ble/ man/tra/

by/ which/ all/ suf/fe/ring/ is/ clear/.

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! (Already Gone, Gone)
Paragate! (Already Gone Beyond)
Parasamgate! (Already Fully Beyond)
Bodhi! Svaha! * (Awakening, Rejoice)

BE SEATED (AFTER DEDICATION AND FURTHER 3x BOWS) AS INSTRUCTED BY JUNDO

________________________________________________________________

VERSE OF ATONEMENT:

All harmful acts, words and thoughts, ever committed by me since of old,

On account of beginningless greed, anger and ignorance,

Born of my body, mouth and mind,

Now I atone for them all



FOUR VOWS:

To save all sentient beings, though beings numberless

To transform all delusions, though delusions inexhaustible

To perceive Reality, though Reality is boundless

To attain the Enlightened Way, a Way non-attainable

Old Master Stone

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We welcome back a very special guest teacher today ...



... a true rock star, one of the original 'Rolling Stones'



(and before anyone asks ... No, I am not 'stoned')



As the sound is not very clear at points, here's a list of some of my questions to Master Stone ...

- What is your goal in life, as a stone?

- Do you need to achieve some goals, and realize some dreams, in order to feel good and a success about your stoney self? Will you feel inadequate, a mediocre mineral, if you do not reach your goals and dreams?

- What could make you more who you want to be, a more perfect stone? A stonier stone?

- Do you feel that you are a lesser stone, and less a stone, than the bigger and more imposing stones in the garden?

- You are missing a few chips that have been knocked off you. Are you sad about their loss, do you long for their return?

- I see that you have ants and a beetle crawling over you. Do you resent them for doing that?

- What would you like to change, if you could, about your rocky life?

- Even stones wear away with time. Do you worry about that?

- Where do you think stones, and the whole earth, came from before there were any 'stones'? Where do you think stones go when stones die, besides "dust to dust"? And do the answers to those questions effect how you sit as a stone right now?

At the end, Master Stone suggested we drop all the questions ... and just sit like stones sit ...






(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


(Un)Turning Japanese

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Someone wrote our Treeleaf Forum to comment ...


I personally feel that there's a wall between me and organized zen because organized zen is either Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Chinese, and I am none of those. I'm just a guy in L.A. who presently feels that all the cultural ornaments hanging from the zen tree are keeping me from seeing the tree, or else enticing me away from the tree so that all I see are the ornaments ...


So, must we bow, ring bells, chant (in Japanese, no less), wear traditional robes, have Buddha Statues, burn incense? ... All that stuff besides Zazen. 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. Pursue your own Practice. Ultimately in Zazen, we sit with ourself and ourself alone (literally, with our "self"), and wrappings, bells and whistles are a sideshow. Ultimately, it is a matter of you exploring and sitting with your own "me myself and I" This practice is not limited to any place or time ... we drop all thought of place and time. It certainly is not Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Namibian or American

On the other hand, we have to do something, to greet each other somehow, read some words, dress some way. Why not do such things? As I often say, for example, we have to do something with our hands when practicing 'walking Zazen' (Kinhin) ... why not hold them in the traditional manner of Shashu (I mean, better than sticking 'em in your pockets)?

As well, there are parts of our practice which we do BECAUSE we resist (for example, when visiting a temple for Retreat, I usually put my heart fully into ceremonies and arcane rituals BECAUSE I resist and think some of it silly or old fashioned). Ask yourself where that kind of resistance is to be found (here's a clue, and it is right behind your own eyes).

What is more, there is method to the madness, and many (not all) customs have centuries of time tested benefits ... embody subtle perspectives ... that support and nurture Zazen Practice at the core. Many parts of our Practice, though "exotic", are worth keeping, even if they strike someone as strange at first. Bowing, statues, rigid decorum in the Zen Hall and, yes, weird talks about Koans all fit in that category. They may seem like unnecessary "Japanese" or "Esoteric" elements at first, until you understand the role they serve. I have given talks on all these things recently, for example ...

Bowing ...

http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... eat-3.html

On the other hand again, it is okay to abandon or reject many practices. However, KNOW very well what you are rejecting before you reject it.  Absorb what is useful and discard the rest. For example, I think Oryoki [formal meal ritual] is another example of a great practice, and worth keeping..

Some things I keep out of respect for TRADITION [the robes, the ways of doing some ceremonies]. It is important to keep ties to where we come from and to respect our 'roots'. Some things also have a special symbolic meaning if you look into them, so worth keeping [for example, a Rakusu]

But other stuff, no need to keep: For example, I usually avoid to chant in Japanese or Chinese [except once in awhile, out of respect for tradition]. Tatami mats and Paper screens have nothing to do with Zen practice particularly [but I happen to live in an old Japanese building, so ... well, tatami and paper screens!} :D Some things I think are just dumb (except symbolically), like the Kyosaku stick. Incense is great, until it was recently shown to cause cancer. Many beliefs of Buddhism are rather superstitious things that were picked up here and there. I abandon many of those.

The outer wrap of Zen Buddhism is changing greatly as it moves West. The greater emphasis on lay practice over monastics, the greater democracy in what was a feudal institution (arising in societies where the teacher's word was law ... oh, those were the days! :wink: ), giving the boot to a lot of magico-supersticio hocus-pocus bunkum, the equal place of women ... heck, the use of the internet to bring teachings that were once the preserve of an elite few into everyone's living room.Those are good and great changes to the outer wrapping (you can read about them in books like this one (author interview here: http://atheism.about.com/library/books/ ... anChat.htm ). The coreless core, however, remains unchanged.

Do not throw out the baby with the bath water. Many completely "Japanese" or other exotic practices which seem silly at first are worth keeping. ...

... other things, like some of the arcane incense, bell & drum filled rituals, take them or leave them.

Gassho (an Asian custom of "Pressed Palms"), Jundo (a Dharma name)




(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


Rev. Jiho Sargent Has Passed ...

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Rev. Jiho Sargent has left this little world. A Soto priest, a friend, guide, mother and tough as nails voice of reason and common sense for many people from around the world who sat Zazen with her in Tokyo over many years. I consider her informally one of my guiding teachers, a great inspiration for the creation of Treeleaf Sangha.

Thumbnail image for Jiho Optimized Cut Final.jpg
I believe that I first sat with her in 1989 at the temple in Tokyo were she was a priest (Taisoji). She became a priest late in life, at age 49, and was also one of the few Westerners to be trained in a fully Japanese way exclusively in Japan (at the Soto school's special monasteries for women) and then served as an ordinary "parish priest" at Taisoji involved in the more mundane, "day-to-day" duties of a Zen priest in Japan ... a very unusual path for most foreign teachers.  She also fought for the rights of female priests in the "man's world" of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

She is the author of a book called "Asking About Zen" (also available in German, Spanish and some other languages)

http://www.amazon.com/Asking-About-Zen-108-Answers/dp/0834804948

... which was rather unusual for a Zen book, and can best be described as a "nuts and bolts," "tell it like it is" dry, "bringing it down to earth" guide to many subjects which are explained rarely if ever to Zen students (and thus, are misunderstood by the great majority - especially Westerners). Jiho had a "set the record straight" style that allowed her to comment on many aspects of Zen as it has come to be practiced in the West that are usually ignored or "papered over" by other writers because they are rather controversial within the Zen community (a lot of the same subjects we freely discuss here at Treeleaf, in fact ... she was a TREMENDOUS influence and source of much of what we do, and how we do it, in this Treeleaf Sangha).
 
If you would like to read a bit more about her, here is a simple newspaper interviewshe gave many years ago (I am not sure that all the quotes by her are exact, by the way, as the reporter may have been paraphrasing) ...

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn19980608a9.html

We will have a special Zazenkai this weekend that will include a memorial service for Jiho ... I hope you will sit-a-long ...

Gassho, Jundo





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


Ten Pure Virtues or "Perfections" (Paramitas in Sanskrit) are fundamental to the Bodhisattva path.



Today, we will discuss the Perfection of an ethical life,
in keeping with
the Precepts  (Shila Paramita) 






(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

Silent Sitting

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No Talking, Just Sitting

.







(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


HATE CRIME

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Holocaust Museum Shooting: Racism and Reaction
(from The Washington Post)

Police are confirming that the suspect in the shooting today outside the Holocaust Museum in Washington is identified as 88-year-old James W. von Brunn, who decries Jews, blacks on rambling, racist and bitterly anti-Semitic website.







(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)
(BENDOWA XXXIV)


Buddhists may disagree on various interpretations of the fine points of Buddhist philosophy ...

... But when just sitting, in the perfect action of embodying enlightenment, there is nothing upon which to disagree ... nor anyone to disagree.

In a moment of Zazen, sitting as the Buddha sat, letting go of thoughts of this and that, we go beyond ideas of "delusion" vs. "realization", "common" vs. "sacred" ...

... Beyond words, all is set free.

_____________________________

Question Four:


... we should remember that from the beginning we have never lacked the supreme state of Bodhi [meaning "enlightenment"], and we will receive it and use it forever. At the same time, because we cannot perceive it directly we are prone to beget intellectual ideas, and because we chase after these as if they were real things, we vainly pass by the great state of truth. From these intellectual ideas emerge all sorts of flowers in space [meaning "phantom ideas"]; we think about the twelvefold cycle and the twenty-five spheres of existence; and ideas of the three vehicles and the five vehicles [meaning various details of Buddhist philosophy] or of having and not having are endless. We should not think that the leaning of these intellectual ideas is the right path of practice. When we solely sit in Zazen, on the other hand, relying now on exactly the same posture as the Buddha, and letting go of the myriad things, then we go beyond the areas of delusion, realization, emotion, and consideration, and we are not concerned with the ways of the common and the sacred. At once we are roaming outside the [intellectual] frame, receiving and using the great state of bodhi.  How could those caught in the trap of words compare [with this]?


From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross [with some amendments according to Uchiyama]





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)
Sitting by ourself, alone on our Zafu, working on our little 'self' ...


... seeking peace and understanding for ourself, in our own life ...


... It is so easy in this practice to become very 'self' centered, doing this mostly for ourself.


But we should always remember that we must be sitting for our 'selves', selflessly for all of us ...







(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


Please join our JUNE MONTHLY 4-hour 'Live from Treeleaf' ZAZENKAI, recorded in "real time" and available at the following links:

SMALL CAUTION: Due to a TECHNICAL GLITCH, the recording is divided into 2 parts this time as follows:

00:00 - 00:50 CEREMONY (HEART SUTRA / SANDOKAI) & ZAZEN
00:50 - 01:00 KINHIN
01:00 - 01:40 ZAZEN
01:40 - 01:50 KINHIN
01:50 - 02:30 DHARMA TALK & ZAZEN
02:30 - 02:40 KINHIN
02:40 - 03:20 ZAZEN  < (RECORDING STOPS MIDWAY IN THIS SITTING. PLEASE SELF TIME)
03:20 - 03:30 KINHIN < (NOT RECORDED)

ZAZENKAI PART I

03:30 - 04:00 METTA CHANT & ZAZEN, VERSE OF ATONEMENT, FOUR VOWS, & CLOSING

Remember, when we drop all thought of 'here' 'there' 'now' and 'then' ... we are sitting all together!

Our Zazenkai consists of our chanting the 'Heart Sutra' and the 'Identity of Relative and Absolute (Sandokai)' in English (please download our Chant Book at the link below), some full floor prostrations (please follow along with me ... or a simple Gassho can be substituted if you wish), a little talk by me ... and we close with the 'Metta Chant', followed at the end with the 'Verse of Atonement' and 'The Four Vows'.

Please download and print out the Chant Book (PDF) at the following link:




I SUGGEST THAT YOU POSITION YOUR ZAFU ON THE FLOOR IN A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE NOT STARING DIRECTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT CAN GLANCE OVER AND SEE THE SCREEN WHEN NECESSARY. YOUR ZAFU SHOULD ALSO BE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE COMPUTER SCREEN WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE ZAFU FOR THE CEREMONIES.

ALSO, REMEMBER TO SET YOUR COMPUTER (& SCREEN SAVER) SO THAT IT DOES NOT SHUT OFF DURING THE 4 HOURS.


Please join in, one and all.

Gassho, Jundo


Ten Pure Virtues or "Perfections" (Paramitas in Sanskrit) are fundamental to the Bodhisattva path.



Today, we will discuss Generosity (Dana Paramita) 





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

All Talk, No Action

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(BENDOWA XXXIII)

In other words ....

Sometimes Buddhists teachings come without words, taught by grass, flowers, mountains, stones and such.

In fact, we might say that every atom of the universe holds and preaches all the Buddha's teachings.

But experiencing so, and merely saying so, are certainly not the same ... all words, no action.

Further, don't get caught up in really beautiful words and philosophical doctrines without truly piercing their meaning by actual Practice.

Even profound slogans, some seemingly not too far from Dogen's own (such as "Just to sit is to become Buddha") are meaningless without true practice and understanding.

One must experience this all in actual Practice, seek out such a teacher who is a person of real action, and not merely read about such things, mouth the words or think about such matters only intellectually.


_____________________________

Question Four:


Q: Someone asks, "[The Hokke (Tendai) and Kegon School Teachings] have now been transmitted into this country, are [said to be] both ultimate expressions of the Great Vehicle. Moreover, in the case of the Shingon Sect, [the transmission] passed directly from the Tathagata Vairocana to Vajrasattva, and so [the transmission from] master to disciple [without deviation]. Quoting the principles whch it discusses that "Mind here and now is buddha"and "This mind becomes buddha," [the Shingon sect] proclaims that we realize the right realization of the five buddhas in one sitting, without undergoing many kalpas of training. We can say that this is the ultimate refinement of the Buddha's Dharma. What is so excellent then about the practice which you now solely recommend, to the exclusion of these other [practices]?"

 

A: I say: Remember, among Buddhists we do not argue about superiority and inferiority of philosophies, or choose between shallowness and profundity in the Dharma; we need only know whether the practice is genuine or [false].  Some have entered into the stream of the Buddha's truth at the invitation of grass, flowers, mountains, and rivers. Some have received and maintained the stamp of Buddha by grasping soil, stones, sand, and pebbles. Furthermore, the Vast and Great Word is even more abundant than the myriad phenomena. And the turning of the great Dharma-wheel is contained in every molecule. This being so, the words "Mind here is buddha"are only the moon in water, and the idea "Just to sit is to become buddha" is also a reflection in a mirror. We should not be caught by the skillfulness of the words. Now, in recommending the practice in which bodhi is directly experienced, I hope to demonstrate the subtle truth that the patriarchs have transmitted one-to-one, and thus to make you into people of the real state of truth. Moreover, for transmission of the Buddha-Dharma, we must always take as a teacher a person who has experienced the [Buddha's] state. It is never enough to take as our guiding teacher a scholar who counts words; that would be like the blind leading the blind. In this, the lineage of the authentic transmission of the Buddhist patriarchs, we all revere wise masters who have attained the truth and [accord with enlightenment], and we cause them to dwell in and to maintain the Buddha-Dharma. That is why, when Shintoists of [the lineages of] yin and yang come to devote themselves, arhats who have experienced the effect come to ask for Dharma, we give each of them, without fail, the means of clarifying the mental state. That is something that has never been heard in other lineages. The disciples of the Buddha should just learn the Buddha-Dharma. Furthermore, we should remember that from the beginning we have never lacked the supreme state of Bodhi,and we will receive it and use it forever. At the same time, because we cannot perceive it directly we are prone to beget intellectual ideas, and because we chase after these as if they were real things, we vainly pass by the great state of truth. From these intellectual ideas emerge all sorts of flowers in space; we think about the twelvefold cycle and the twenty-five spheres of existence; and ideas of the three vehicles and the five vehicles or of having and not having are endless. We should not think that the leaning of these intellectual ideas is the right path of practice. When we solely sit in Zazen, on the other hand, relying now on exactly the same posture as the Buddha, and letting go of the myriad things, then we go beyond the areas of delusion, realization, emotion, and consideration, and we are not concerned with the ways of the common and the sacred. At once we are roaming outside the [intellectual] frame, receiving and using the great state of bodhi.  How could those caught in the trap of words compare [with this]?


From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross [with some amendments according to Uchiyama]





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

This One Practice

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(BENDOWA XXXII)

In other words ...

Question: There are other popular sects of Buddhism these days that have some very ornate traditions, and they are certainly a lot more colorful than Zen. Some of their doctrines are pretty mysterious, claim to be secret teachings of the Buddhas that sound very powerful, and promise that they are the true highway to enlightenment. They claim these as the highest and most advanced Buddhist teachings too. That's all besides the fact that, sometimes, some of their teachings even sound a bit like your teachings. So, Dogen, why do you only recommend Zazen to the exclusion of all other practices.

Answer: Let's not talk about philosophy or who has the most colorful teachings. Let's talk about practicing true practice! 


_____________________________

Question Four:


Q: Someone asks, "[The Hokke (Tendai) and Kegon School Teachings] have now been transmitted into this country, are [said to be] both ultimate expressions of the Great Vehicle. Moreover, in the case of the Shingon Sect, [the transmission] passed directly from the Tathagata Vairocana to Vajrasattva, and so [the transmission from] master to disciple [without deviation]. Quoting the principles whch it discusses that "Mind here and now is buddha"and "This mind becomes buddha," [the Shingon sect] proclaims that we realize the right realization of the five buddhas in one sitting, without undergoing many kalpas of training. We can say that this is the ultimate refinement of the Buddha's Dharma. What is so excellent then about the practice which you now solely recommend, to the exclusion of these other [practices]?"

 

A: I say: Remember, among Buddhists we do not argue about superiority and inferiority of philosophies, or choose between shallowness and profundity in the Dharma; we need only know whether the practice is genuine or [false].  Some have entered into the stream of the Buddha's truth at the invitation of grass, flowers, mountains, and rivers. Some have received and maintained the stamp of Buddha by grasping soil, stones, sand, and pebbles. Furthermore,[words that express the vasteness of reality are] even more abundant than the myriad phenomena. And the turning of the great Dharma-wheel is contained in every molecule. This being so, the words "Mind here is buddha"are only the moon in water, and the idea "Just to sit is to become buddha" is also a reflection in a mirror. We should not be caught by the skillfulness of the words. Now, in recommending the practice in which bodhi is directly experienced, I hope to demonstrate the subtle truth that the patriarchs have transmitted one-to-one, and thus to make you into people of the real state of truth. Moreover, for transmission of the Buddha-Dharma, we must always take as a teacher a person who has experienced the [Buddha's] state. It is never enough to take as our guiding teacher a scholar who counts words; that would be like the blind leading the blind. In this, the lineage of the authentic transmission of the Buddhist patriarchs, we all revere wise masters who have attained the truth and experienced the state, and we cause them to dwell in and to maintain the Buddha-Dharma. That is why, when Shintoists of [the lineages of] yin and yang come to devote themselves, arhats who have experienced the effect come to ask for Dharma, we give each of them, without fail, the means of clarifying the mental state. That is something that has never been heard in other lineages. The disciples of the Buddha should just learn the Buddha-Dharma. Furthermore, we should remember that from the beginning we have never lacked the supreme state of Bodhi,and we will receive it and use it forever. At the same time, because we cannot perceive it directly we are prone to beget intellectual ideas, and because we chase after these as if they were real things, we vainly pass by the great state of truth. From these intellectual ideas emerge all sorts of flowers in space; we think about the twelvefold cycle and the twenty-five spheres of existence; and ideas of the three vehicles and the five vehicles or of having and not having are endless. We should not think that the leaning of these intellectual ideas is the right path of practice. When we solely sit in Zazen, on the other hand, relying now on exactly the same posture as the Buddha, and letting go of the myriad things, then we go beyond the areas of delusion, realization, emotion, and consideration, and we are not concerned with the ways of the common and the sacred. At once we are roaming outside the [intellectual] frame, receiving and using the great state of bodhi.  How could those caught in the trap of words compare [with this]?


From: Bendowa - A Talk about Pursuing the Truth  - Nishijima-Cross [with some amendments according to Uchiyama]





(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)

Hair & the Buddhist 'Monk'

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Some folks have written recently to ask,

Hey, Jundo! What's with all the hair & the beard? I thought Zen monks are supposed to shave?

Well, many Zen teachers of old had hair and/or beards ...

... and even recent Ch'an monks ... and Western women (though usually not the beards) ...
 
... Master Dogen had a five-o'clock shadow some days ...


... and Zen immortals ... and Bodhidharma (with an earring, no less) ... and even the Bossman, Shakyamuni Buddha, had a gorgeous head of hair ... Even in Southeast Asian traditions, where things are rather strict, the Rules state ...


Hair of the head. The hair of the head should not be worn long. It should be shaved at least every two months or when the hair has grown to a length of two fingerbreadths -- whichever occurs first, says the Commentary. In Thailand there is the custom that all bhikkhus shave their heads on the same day, the day before the full moon, so that the Community can present a uniform appearance. Although this is not obligatory, a bhikkhu who does not follow the custom tends to stand out from his fellows ...

Beard. The beard should not be grown long, although -- unlike the hair of the head -- there is no explicit maximum length, unless the two month/two fingerbreadth rule is meant to apply here as well. One may not dress the beard as a goatee, a rectangle, or in any other design. The moustache may not be dressed, e.g., by making its ends stand up. Because there is no prohibition against using scissors to cut the beard, electric razors are clearly allowed in shaving the face.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/bmc2/bmc2.ch01.html

Oh, and did I mention the deep philosophical reasons for being hirsute? (I will in a minute). As the song goes (for those old enough to remember) ...

Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees Give a home to the fleas in my hair A home for fleas, a hive for bees A nest for birds, there ain't no words For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my Hair! (hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair) Flow it, Show it; Long as God can grow it, My Hair!
.

(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)