Zen 101

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blog Follower's Invitation

With palms together,
Good Morning Bloggers

I would like to that you for being "followers" of my blog.  I realized this morning that I rarely post anything on Blogger that I don't post in other venues.  So, I want to invite you each to post a comment on the content of this blog and let me know how you feel about something. 

If you have followed my blog for some time you will know that I have often taken personal life and commented on it from a Zen perspective.  I have done less of that of late.  Moreover, I have not posted much about Zen and its practice either.  What I want to know is this: do you prefer straight Zen talk or content from my everyday life with a Zen commentary?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Gassho

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nothing

With palms together,




Good Morning Everyone,







It is the middle of the night and I have greeted it’s darkness over and over again with an open heart. The sounds of a sleeping world are my companions. A cooling breeze is my blanket. What’s this? I feel as though I am but a shadow in the corner . The fox and the monk are one as karma is the product of a deluded mind.







I realize I have not been posting much and what I have posted has had more to do with my pain than Zen itself. This realization brings me to the question of Zen in Everyday Life, a theme I am exploring in my new booklet under the same title.







At our Zen study group this evening the question came up about practice realization in our daily life. It sprung out of the text of Master Dogen’s Genjokoan. In that text Dogen Zenji says in the comings and goings of practice realization we are deluded, but in practice realization, comings and goings are practice realization. Rather like form is emptiness and emptiness is form, if you get my meaning.







If we live in practice realization our comings and goings (read everyday life) are not deluded. This means we address our lives as not separate from things. In fact, in practice realization, there are no things. We, and the “things” before us, are not separate, but one and we are one with them. So, the cup I am just now sipping from is myself as are the keys on this PC. In this state, the tricky part is, there are, in fact, no cups or keys, no me to sip or type. An infinite circle is no circle at all, as Glassman-roshi points out in his book, “Infinite Circle.”







As we practice and approach infinity we discover our truth, this truth is actually quite simple, in the infinite, there are no limits and as a result, everything falls away as “things” and only the vast emptiness of our true nature resides. Touch a cup and you touch everything that is, touch everything that is, and cup, you, and touch are one. How do we then disrespect the cup without disrespecting the universe?







Yours in the dharma,





Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Status Update

With palms together,


Good afternoon all,



It seems the two procedures I have undergone to correct my lumbar spinal stenosis have not been effective. My condition is worsening and an appointment with my doctor today resulted in scheduling another procedure called "mild" which is supposed to be effective in most cases. I am scheduled to have this procedure on Friday at Mountain View Hospital. The procedure involves inserting a needle into the part of my spine that has calcification, removes the bone matter, thus relieving the pressure on my spinal cord. It requires about a three day recovery according to the literature. Due to my current condition and this coming procedure I must cancel all temple activities including dokusan until Monday. My jiisha, Rev. Soku Shin, or myself will keep you apprised of my progress. I apologize for this inconvenience and hope to be back at work on Monday.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Bodhisattvas

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



On August 3rd I will travel to Upaya in Santa Fe for a weekend retreat with Roshi Bernie Glassman. I am most interested in his way of engaging people toward engaging the world in order to make the world a better place. It seems to me we spend next to no time on this question. Yet every day we recite the four great vows of the bodhisattva.



How do we live our lives? While obsession ought be addressed as something that leads to suffering, some obsessions are better than others, don’t you think? Are we self obsessed belly button watchers or are we bodhisattva warriors obsessed with creating conditions for improved living? If we are to have one obsession, which would it be?



Our every breath as bodhisattvas ought be directed at freeing others from suffering. Yet, to say such a thing creates, in itself, a duality which traps us in our own suffering. Because this is our choice, we are not actually suffering. The freedom of others is dependent on our freeing ourselves: free yourself and all beings are free. Through this we see the truth of suffering.



Let us practice together: Sunday at 9:00 AM at Clear Mind Zen Temple.



Be well.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Thursday

With respect to all,




Today is a full day of interviews, class and zazen. This morning, however, I will ride over to the Pain Management Office and camp out hoping to see my Doctor in between her appointments. The piriformis muscle is still inflamed and is creating continued sciatic pain in my left hip and leg. I was hoping to be done with this for awhile, but it seems I am not. So, we will see what she says, if I can manage to see her.



This afternoon we have several interviews and this evening we will address chapter 9 of "Realizing Genjokoan." We follow study with a period of Zazen, the Hanya Shin Gyo, and the Four Great Vows. The chapter of the text is about "The Moon in Water." This is the section where Master Dogen refers to realization as moon in water, using moon as self, as emptiness, and in the water as 'the middle way.' As many of you know, Dogen had a thing for the moon. He stared at it alot, used it in many of his teachings, his poetry, and in effect, it becamea mandala for him.



It seems many of us in the world of Zen have a thing for the moon. The moon seems to rest in the sky, floating as it were, above us, offering our mind's eye a place to rest in the night. It becomes a picture of tranquility.



Please consider joining us this evening at 6 for study and again at 7 for zazen.



Be well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tuesday

The sky is cloudy with heavy rain clouds. I am sitting in the courtyard with you. Suki and Emma are sitting withme. Binky is with Soku Shin who is not yet awake. The courtyard is awash with sounds of birds and insects.




I woke this morning with no pain in my leg, but the piriformis muscle is still very tight or I have a bruised hip joint. At least it is localized and not shooting down my leg.the procedure yesterday was simple and quick, as well as nearly painless. The Dr was terrific and asked for a card. She wants to learn zazen.



We never know where or when we will meet a student of the Way.



I would like to thank student Craig for his assistance yesterday. Craig came over in the heat of the afternoon and put together our inversion table for us. Thank you Craig!



We will practice zazen tonight at 7:00 pm at the Temple. Please consider joining

us. Gassho.