Dharma Discourses

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This is the Way I Express My Gratitude

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

In the Mountains and Rivers Order we have two paths by which a student can practice and realize Buddhadharma—a lay training path and a monastic path. These make up the fourfold sangha as established by the Buddha: female and male monastics, and female and male lay students. The lay and monastic students together create an interdependent and co-dependent body that is sangha. Each path has its own integrity and is mutually dependent upon the other, and the differences between the two paths helps to give each its vitality.

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Traveling by Day

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by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

This Discourse appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Mountain Record, “Within Light, Darkness.”

True Dharma Eye, Case 113
Baofu’s Blocking of the Eyes, Ears, and Mind

How do we become lost to ourselves? What does this even mean, and what’s the consequence of being lost? To see things as they are—it sounds so simple. We open our eyes, and there is something before us. The sun is bright; the moon is half-full; the grass is green. It appears plain and clear—what more is there to see? Well, if our ordinary seeing and perceiving was in accord with the real nature of things—our world—then shouldn’t our lives be functioning in harmony?

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The Ninth Grave Precept

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by John Daido Loori, Roshi

This excerpt appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of Mountain Record, “Within Light, Darkness.”

From The heart of Being:
Moral and Ethical Teachings of Zen Buddhism
by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Actualize harmony. Do not be angry.

Bodhidharma said, “Self-nature is inconceivably wondrous. In the dharma of no-self, not postulating a self is called the precept of refraining from anger.” Not creating an idea of a self frees us completely from anger. You cannot have anger unless there is a self. There is no boundless and omniscient self somewhere in the sky that created the whole universe, and there is no tangible and limited self that inhabits this bag of skin. All of reality is simply infinite dharmas that arise and disappear in accord with the laws of karma. There is not one thing standing against another.

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Finding Our Way

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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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