May 2011 Archives

.
Image Hi,

This will be the last Sit-A-Long by me for a couple of weeks, as I am heading into retreat at Shogoji Zen Monastery in the mountains of Kumamoto, Japan ... no phones, no computers and barely any electricity ...

http://www.shogoji.com/

.. but lots and lots of Zazen, Bowing, Zazen, Chanting, Oryoki, Takuhatsu, more Zazen, Samu, more Zazen and all the rest. Shogoji is famous for holding a very traditional Soto Zen Sesshin with the intent of keeping many of the "old ways" and rituals alive, and passing them on to the next generation, particularly western Zen priests. 

I will be completely out of touch with Treeleaf for a couple of weeks I think. Mongen, our priest-in-training, is joining me for the retreat, flying all the way from Germany. The retreat is part of a longer, 90 day Ango period, but Mongen and I can only stay for a short part. (I almost did not make it at all due to the earthquakes, nuclear reactors, a typhoon storm last night that did more damage to some of our buildings, wife & child & job, and some health concerns ... and any of that may yet pull me off the mountain a bit early). 

But this place keeps going as always, in the lovely hands of Taigu as it always is, assisted by Fugen and Shohei. Taigu will continue the "sit-a-longs", and we also have our monthly 4-hour 'netcast' Zazenkai this weekend, as always, led by Taigu. The Forum will keep jumpin' too!

As well, all of you will be with Mongen and me, in our hearts, as we sit at Shogoji. 

Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.


.
.
Image




Some think of Zazen as their quiet, safe refuge away from it all ...




... But were is not our safe refuge? 




Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.


.
.
Image (by Daido)

Being the open bright boundless between the words, thoughts, good and bad things of life. 

Being the open bright boundless that shines through, that enlightens & enlivens the words, thoughts, good and bad things of life. 

Once, when the Great Master Hongdao of Yueshan was sitting in Zazen, a monk asked him, "What are you thinking of, sitting there so tall and straight? The master answered, "I'm thinking of not thinking." The monk asked, "How do you think of not thinking?" The Master answered, "Nonthinking."

Master Dogen said (Zazengi) ...

Sitting in balance and stillness like mountain, think of "not-thinking." How can the state of not thinking be thought? Be "Non-Thinking."

This is the essence of zazen. Zazen is not meditation. It is the Dharma Gate of great ease and joy. It is stainless, undivided practice-realization.


PS -Thank you to the many folks who have written to ask how we are doing with the FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR REACTORS, just 100 miles from here as the crow flies. Well, we are fine, life is surprisingly normal. Of course, waking up each morning to headlines like these can be rather STARTLING! :shock: 

http://enenews.com/

But fear and worry is a state of mind. I sometimes compare fear in this case, of cancer and radiation and the like, to the fear of flying. Each year, many people are killed and injured in airplane accidents, yet that does not stop most of us from boarding planes. We will likely arrive safely, but even if not ... it is all the trip, man!



Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.

 
.

SIT-A-LONG with Taigu: Baike 3

| 1 Comment
.
The entire world is mind-ground, the entire world is blossom-heart. Because the entire world is blossom-heart, the entire world is plum blossoms.

Dogen points it out. Dogen's finger is also it. Once you cut things into one, it reveals as one big shining thing. The precept of not killing applies fully here, each thing is welcomed and not killed, not labeled, not covered up. Blossom within a blossom, each blossom-thing, blossom-office, blossom-bus, blossom-bag, blossom-shopping is as is. Untouched blossom.



.
.
ImageJizo Bodhisattva is a beloved figure in Japanese Buddhism, and statues of him can often be seen along roads to protect travelers, in temple grounds and cemeteries. He is a figure of Compassion, much as Kannon, who travels anywhere from heaven to hell to help those in need ... especially those who find themselves in a hell of their own making by Greed, Anger and Ignorance. 

Jizo has become known over the centuries as a protector of children and women, including expectant mothers. Most of all, he is the protector of deceased children, including stillborn, miscarried or aborted infants. He is thought to protect them in the 'other world', nursing and soothing them, guiding them back for another chance to be born in this world when the time is right. For that reason, he is often seen by the hundreds in cemeteries dressed in children's clothes and a bib, surrounded by toys and dolls.

Image

The Jizo at the top is one who remains standing amid mud and rubble despite the recent earthquakes and Tsunami in northern Japan. So many children where lost in that tragedy.


In my heart, I hope that Jizo is with them somehow...


Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.


,
.
  During our monthly Zazenkai (seen below) we had people sitting Zazen in our Zendo in Japan from Christian, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds, both Sunni and Shi'ite. All our differences are left at the Zendo door, as we turn to sameness ... space for all of us in our Zen Hall. 

But the world is not always so simple. 

Today, I will add my voice to the many Buddhist commentators on this week's killing of Osama Bin Laden. 

It is a personal view, as interpretation of the Precepts can vary. Some may believe that ALL taking of the life of sentient beings in any form, under any conditions is wrong. 

I believe that it is sometimes necessary to take the life of persons who do harm if the taking is in order to save innocent lives. The taking is thus an act in preservation of life.  I feel that this was such a case. 

However, outright revenge is not justified, for it merely perpetuates hate. Where the death of Osama Bin Laden falls is not clear to me, but it seems that it was needed to prevent future loss of life, as Osama seems to have been plotting some other major attacks from information I have read today (he had several plots in the works). Even a killing in retribution may sometimes serve to dissuade others who might be thinking of taking life, thus serving to preserve life. 

Nonetheless, even if we must take a life to preserve life, we must do so with great hesitancy, only after seeking all other possible avenues. Furthermore, we must not act out of anger or vengeance, but simply to protect. Standing in the streets celebrating and waving flags (though understandable, I suppose) is ugly and just brings further hate and division. 

You see, Osama Bin Laden is a victim too ... of greed, anger and ignorance. It is "greed, anger and ignorance" that are the real destructive forces here, and both Osama Bin Laden, as well as the people in the Twin Towers on 9-11, the soldiers on battlefields, and all others touched by these tragedies, are all victims. Under other Karmic conditions, any of us might have been "Osama Bin Laden". We must feel compassion even for (especially for) someone like Osama, who was a prisoner of his own anger and violent suffering. That does not mean that action to stop him was not right (including the taking of his life), but we should see that "greed, anger and ignorance" is the real root. 

What is more, the person who takes a life, even if needed and justified in defense of the innocent (such as by a soldier or policeman) should reflect on the weight of his/her actions, and will bear the burden of having needed to do so. I have known many policemen and soldiers who, forced to take life in a "justified shooting", still carried the weight and pain of having done so for years afterwards.

In principle, any violence should be avoided because violence ... even if seemingly justified ... may plant the Karmic seeds for future violence. 

Of course, the ideal is a society in which, finally, all of us can live peaceably, with mutual respect of our basic human rights. 

Until that day, however ... it may sometimes be necessary for society to protect the innocent through taking life. 

When he was alive, I would often chant Metta, wishing for peace and kindness within the heart of Osama Bin Laden.  Though it may be shocking for some people, the perspective on chanting for Osama Bin Laden is this: If he could have once found, while alive, the peace and non-violence which we chant for, no harms would have happened at his hands as did occur. Yes, he is "Buddha" too ... although hidden under layers and layers of anger, religious divisions, violence and disrespect for life and other ugliness. As the ripples of his actions sweep on into the future (long after his death), we also chant that the effects of those actions may settle into healing and peace. Even here, the real "enemy" is not Osama, but the Greed, Anger and Ignorance that plagues all humanity. 

Just my view.

Gassho, Jundo

TODAY'S TALK (30 MINUTES) IS PART OF OUR MONTHLY ZAZENKAI:

 
Video streaming by Ustream
.
.