Dharma Discourses

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Finding Our Way

· Dharma Discourses, Open Access · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

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The Zen tradition places a special emphasis on beginner’s mind because the mind of a beginner has qualities that are so important for dharma study. The beginner’s mind can be quite open and have a certain kind of innocence within the dharma. There can be a sense of eagerness to set out on a journey into unknown territory. And there’s no history with regards to practice and training, which means there’s not much accumulation, not much prejudice to cloud our view.

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After All I Still Don’t Know

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By Ron Hogen Green, Sensei, MRO

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Gateless Gate Case 9
Daitsu Chisho Buddha

Main Case

Once, a monk earnestly asked priest Jo of Koyo, “Daitsu Chisho Buddha sat in the meditation hall for ten kalpas, but the Dharma of the Buddha did not manifest itself, and he could not attain Buddhahood. Why was this?” Priest Jo replied, “Your question is reasonable indeed.” The monk again said he sat in zazen in the meditation hall; why did he not attain Buddhahood? Priest Jo replied “Because he is a non-attained Buddha.”

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Right View

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By Vanessa Zuisei Goddard

At the beginning of our spiritual journey, most of us have a sense that the path we’ve traveled until now is not, by itself, the path that will lead us to liberation. We know, vaguely or with certainty, that there must be another way, but we’re not yet able to discern what that is. And even though there is no way of knowing where we’ll end up, built into the journey itself there are certain guideposts which can help set our course. When it comes to the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, the first of these markers is right view.

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Freedom to Move

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

Book of Serenity, Case 79: Changsha Advancing a Step
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The Pointer

The bodhisattva appearing as a maiden on the banks of golden sand was a special spirit. Stuffing pastries in a crystal jar, who would dare to roll it? Without going into the frightening waves, it’s hard to find a suitable fish. How about one expression of walking relaxed with big strides?

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Your Rightful Place

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

From The Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines
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The Buddha said, ‘It is as with a mother who has many children five, or ten, or twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand. If she fell ill, they would all exert themselves to prevent their mother from dying, to keep her alive as long as possible, and to keep pain and unpleasantness away from her body.

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Build a True Sanctuary

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

The World-Honored One Points to the Ground
Book of Serenity, Case 4
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Introduction
As soon as a single mote of dust arises, the whole earth is contained therein; with a single horse and a single lance, the land’s extended. Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?

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Born As The Earth

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

Koans of the Way of Reality, Case 8

Main Case
A visiting student began to ask, “The truths of the Earth continually wait. They are not so concealed either. They’re calm, subtle, untransmissible by print.”
The teacher interrupted, saying, “Stop, stop! Is that Walt Whitman’s poem?”
The student said, “Yes it is.”
The teacher said, “Those are the words that describe his reality. What is the reality itself? Show me.”

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River Seeing River

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by John Daido Loori, Roshi

from Master Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra

The river is neither strong nor weak, neither wet nor dry, neither moving nor still,neither cold nor hot, neither being nor non-being, neither delusion nor enlightenment. Solidified, it is harder than diamond: who could break it? Melted, it is softer than milk: who could break it? This being the case we cannot doubt the many virtues realized by the river. We should then study that occasion when the rivers of the ten directions are seen in the ten directions. This is not a study only of the time when humans and gods see the river: there is a study of the river seeing the river. The river practices and verifies the river; hence, there is a study of the river speaking river. We must bring to realization the path on which the self encounters the self. We must move back and forth along, and spring off from, the vital path on which the other studies and fully comprehends the other.

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One Single Thing

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by John Daido Loori, Roshi

The Tao cannot be conveyed by either words or silence. In that state, which is neither speech nor silence, its transcendental nature may be apprehended.

—Chung Tzu

According to Chuang Tzu, the transcendental nature of reality cannot be apprehended and conveyed unless we can attain the state that is neither speech nor silence. Before we realize that state, we’re dealing only with the shadows, derivatives, and echoes of reality.

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Within The Vast Web

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

Priest Xixian’s “I Am Watching”
True Dharma Eye, Case 227
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Main Case
Xixian Faan of Lushan was asked by a government officer, “When I took the city of Jinling with an army troop, I killed countless people. Am I at fault?” Xixian said, “I am watching closely.”

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