October 2010 Archives


Image I hear from folks every day touched by the bad economy ... jobs lost, houses foreclosed, marriages under stress, people in crisis. These are hard times for so many. 

Over the coming weeks, I will offer a series of talks on what Buddhism has to teach about the economics of "hard times". Some of it will cover big topics that impact the whole system, with our consumerism, materialism and wasted resources. The future is at stake! But some of it is small, and right at home

Today, we will start with a really simple lesson. In fact, it is so true, so wise, so often said ... that it sounds like a greeting card, a bumper sticker, a fortune cookie. But it is TRUE AS TRUE CAN BE: 

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE --ARE-- FREE! 

When the bank's repossessing the car, when hopes and dreams go up in smoke, when we have a leaky roof over our head on a rainy day, it good to appreciate the rain! 

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO -- "EVEN AS"

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Image "EVEN AS" ... an ordinary phrase that one hears used a lot around here:

Drop all thought of "this and that" ... even as we live in a world of "this and that" ...

Drop all thought of anything to achieve ... even as we keep moving forward to get things done ...

Drop all thought of anyplace to go ... even as we have places to go and people to see.

Drop all thought of "time" ... even as we watch the clock.
 

This even as sounds so ordinary ... even as nothing is ordinary!

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

VIDEO SEEMS TO HAVE CUT OFF A LITTLE EARLY ... 'EVEN AS' I KEPT TALKING. :)

 
Image A frequent visitor to our Sangha gifted us with a lovely post ... on Zazen and choices ... on "sitting with" questions ... 

Zazen is compass-ionate

Yes, folks, indeed it is.

Take what is tumultuous, sit it down in zazen
Like a true compass, zazen points
And in that pointing, all directions thereby are known

Take what is submerged, sit it down in zazen
Like a bubble of air, tugging toward 'up'
No amount of being rolled around by life's undertow
Can mask the fact 
'Up' is 'up'

zazen, if not now, in this lifetime, then when?


I do not feel that Zazen will always allow us to know the "one correct choice" to make at a life crossroads, the "one right answer" to every life problem. But it sure will point us in the right direction of good answers and choices ... toward more helpful, healthful, more peaceful, wise and compassionate choices free of anger, greed, selfishness. The silence and open space of Zazen allows our heart a moment of calm in which to settle on a course, free of self destructive impulses and biases. 

As well, whatever choice we make ... no matter whether it later turns out to have been the "right choice" or a "wrong choice" ... this Practice let's us experience that that is just where we are then, where we stand. That is just our life, the place is just what is, and we simply keep moving on from there. 

(sorry about the sound ... but it is raining cats and dogs outside)

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.


SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO -- Dumb Animal

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Image Well, the cat is home from the hospital ... minus his tail, bandaged up and down. 

Somehow, he seems okay with it ... too "simple minded" and "dumb" to rehash the past, worry about his limited future, his options, to be traumatized by the drama, concerned about his scarred looks, to mourn for his missing tail. He just sits with it all ... and purrs. 

Oh, what we might learn from poor, dumb animals!

Where did the cat's tail come from, where did it go?

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.


ImageNOTE: PART OF END OF TALK WAS CUT OFF ... BUT THE POINT GETS ACROSS! :) 

There's an old Chinese story about the son and the broken leg ... 

A farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console him over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"

A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"

The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.


Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

Image

An old Zen poem, the 'Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi' ... 

When the wooden man begins to sing,
The stone woman gets up to dance.


Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.
ImageIt's almost to the point that there'sa flavor of Buddhism for everyone, especially in the West! From A is for Amida to Z is for Zen, there are groups and teachings of all stripes ... the monastic and the "out in the world" types ... traditional and tradition breaking ... many teachers in between, mixing and matching. The Western Buddhist world comes in ten thousand colors and flavors!

And that can be GOOD! I have never been a "my way or the highway, one size fits all" kind of Buddhist. Different folks may require different medicines for what ails them. Find the path and teacher(s) right for you.

All you have to do, though, is avoid the snake oil, the image driven jive and hype, soothing but empty cliches, crazy cults, charismatic charlatans and ego maniac gurus professing "freedom from ego", downright crooks and con-men, New Age dribble and pseudo-psycho-babble, fast food drive-though spirituality. Also, don't fall into "spiritual materialism" ... shopping around in the Dharma department store for the fluffy and flashy, for teachers of 'anything goes, feel good philosophies', "teachings" that just say what we want to hear (and not what we need to hear). Oh, and if you do stumble on a worthwhile practice, be sure not to quit too fast ... as soon as it becomes a little demanding.

Do all that ... and you'll be just fine!


Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.
Image The topic came up in a Treeleaf Forum thread about worrying too much about what others think of us ...

I have a tendancy to take a lot of what people say to me, personal. ... Can anyone give me some tips from a buddhist or zen-perspective, how to stop myself from constantly being so busy with what other people think of me (or, better put: what I think that other people think of me)

viewtopic.php?p=42113#p42113


Well, ultimately there is no "you" there, nor "others" ... so no need for you to worry what others think! :shock: 

However, even before one gets to such an ultimate Truth ... there's much Wisdom that Shikantaza Practice can offer to free us from opinions, from self judgments, imaginings and the like. Let them go, let them drift from mind!

What's more ... you are a jewel, just as you areNot a thing to change! (which doesn't mean, however, that you don't have some flaws, my friend, in need of change! 8) )

Gassho, Jundo


Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.


ImageDogen writes: Do not suppose that what you realize becomes your knowledge and is grasped by your consciousness. Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge. Zen master Baoche of Mt. Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, "Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. When, then, do you fan yourself?"
"Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent," Baoche replied, "you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere."
"What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.


Taigu comments ...

In this video, we look at Dogen's take on practice (fanning) as the only way to manifest awakening (air). Even this little corner of the big Universe is reached and touched by reality itself. No need to take this too far, to travel far, the simple actions of our life, the daily moves we make, the ten thousand activities we display are unfolding this awakening. The simple and bare practice is the Dharma gate. It also shows that tradition matters, we are not asked to get rid of the fan but to pick it up. 

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Rememberrecording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.