Articles & Essays

One Thing

· Articles & Essays, Open Access · ,

by Jody Hojin Kimmel

Master Dogen taught in his fascicle Henzan—Encountering Everywhere, that whole-hearted practice of the Way is to take up the study of one thing and to understand it deeply. He encouraged us to “study each dharma exhaustively and then to study it still further.”

In Spring of 2000 during one of our three-month training intensives, called ango, we were presented with an art practice assignment: to choose one thing, one object, and be in its presence for next 90 days with full attention. Daido Roshi charged us to enter into the continuously changing nature of our experience, and bring our understanding into a form of creative expression.

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Photo By Markus Jaschke

Learning To See

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By Robin Wall Kimmerer

We poor myopic humans, with neither the raptors gift of long distance acuity, nor the talents of a housefly for panoramic vision. However, with our big brains, we are at least aware of the limits of our vision. With a degree of humility rare in our species, we acknowledge there is much that we can’t see, and so contrive remarkable ways to observe the world. Infrared satellite imagery, optical telescopes, and the Hubbell space telescope bring vastness within our visual sphere.

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Photo By Keith Chastain

Arousing the Aspiration for Enlightenment

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By Dogen Zenji

Kashvapa Bodhisattva extolled Shakyamuni Buddha with a verse:

Although beginner’s mind and ultimate mind are indistinguishable, the beginner’s mind is more difficult. I bow to the beginner’s mind that lets others awaken first. Already a teacher of humans and devas, the beginner’s mind excels the mind of a shravaka or of a pratyeka-buddha. Such aspiration is outstanding in the three realms, so it is called unsurpassable.

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Photo By Wendelin Jacober

Going Within

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By Joseph Goldstein

Our first experience of faith or devotion may be in or to someone or something outside of ourselves. One of the oldest recitations of faith in Buddhism is taking refuge in what is called the Triple Gem: the Buddha himself, that person who awakened under the Bodhi Tree twenty-five hundred years ago; the Dharma, the truth, the law, and the body of teachings; and the Sangha, which means, in particular, the order of monks and nuns and, more generally, the community of wise beings. “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha.”

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By Marla Showfer

My Body Benefits in Solitude

· Articles & Essays · ,

By Deborah Hay

We are dying. We think we are not. This is a good argument for giving up thinking.

Spend one night a week in candlelight.

I lie on the floor in the corpse pose, called Shavasana in yoga.

Wherever I am the dance is. Instead of dancing wherever I am, I choose the time and space to play dance. This is equilibrium, and motion. Several minutes pass before I remember even to notice that my thoughts are going yacketta, yacketta, yack—even after three thousand corpse poses. 

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Beginner’s Disease

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by Zen Master Ta Hui

Buddha preached all doctrines to save all minds; I have no mind at all, so what’s the use of any doctrines? Basically there is nothing in any doctrine, and no mind in mind. The emptiness of mind and things both is their real character. But these days students of the Path often fear falling into emptiness. Those holding such views misapprehend expedient means and take the disease for the medicine: they are to be pitied deeply. Therefore Layman Pang said, “Don’t be averse to falling into emptiness—falling into emptiness isn’t bad.”

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Photo By Jerry Lai

Meditation: Channeling the Force of Mind

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By His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

To develop spiritual qualities such as love, compassion, and altruism to their fullest, meditation is needed. At present, our minds are too scattered, and once the mind is scattered, its force is limited. If we channel it, then, like water, it becomes forceful. Thus, one type of meditation is for developing a calm abiding of the mind, whereas the other type is for developing special insight in order to investigate the nature of reality. Let us begin with the first type.

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Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius

Diving

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by Eve Ensler

When I was a child I loved diving. Diving off. Diving in. Diving off high stone quarry walls. Diving off high diving boards. I loved climbing the long ladder to the top. I loved my sky blue onepiece bathing suit. I loved how fast and compact I was at ten. I loved practicing the approach. I see now everything is in the approach. How high you get, how focused your attention, how clear your desire for flight and clean entry. I loved my naked wet feet on the board.

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Photo by Stephen Melkisethian

Living in Harmony

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by The Buddha

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mahayana Buddhism teaches various perspectives and ways of manifesting the precepts. The precept Actualize harmony: Do not be angry can be understood as an instruction to practice not giving rise to angry thoughts, words and actions when anger hasn’t yet arisen, and to practice facing and letting go of anger once it has arisen. Another perspective is that anger, when used selflessly and out of reverence for others, can be a compassionate act. Examples of both perspectives are found in the following three selections.

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Photo by Pj Nelson

Love and Compassion in Meditation and Action

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by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

The classical Buddhist commentaries hold that before one can meditate on compassion, one first has to master the meditation on loving-kindness. However, I consider this position too stern. I have found that when you are able to stabilize a warm feeling of sincere loving-kindness for sentient beings, you can begin to cultivate the meditation on compassion.

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