Walking the Path of Peace

· Sangha News, Teachings

A Dharma Discourse by Shugen Sensei

One week following the US elections, many of us are still reeling with frustration, confusion, sadness, and anger. In the Karaniya Metta Sutta, the Buddha said:

This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness
And who knows the path of peace.
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.

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Photo by Partha Chowdhury

Arousing the Aspiration for the Unsurpassable

· Teachings · ,

by Eihei Dogen, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi

The high ancestor of India [Shakyamuni Buddha] said, “The Snow Mountains [the Himalayas] are like great nirvana.”

Know that this is a precise analogy, intimate and direct. To take up the Snow Mountains is to speak of the Snow Mountains. To take up great nirvana is to speak of great nirvana.

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Photo by totaledcou

Build a True Sanctuary

· Teachings · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

The World-Honored One Points to the Ground
Book of Serenity, Case 4
Listen to this talk

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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Photo by Wolfgang Wiggers

Udumbara Flower / Udonge

· Essays, Teachings · ,

by Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi

Why would Dogen Zenji devote an entire fascicle of the Shobogenzo to praising a flower, a flower that some people say is mythical and does not exist? Others say it does exist, but it only blooms every 3,000 years, to herald the arrival of another Buddha, an enlightened being.

In modern times there are stories and photographs from Asia, of thousands of tiny white blossoms called udumbara flowers, mysteriously appearing on bricks, on buildings, on monuments, on grasses, and under a nun’s laundry tub. Biologists say, no, these are not miraculous apparitions, they are simply the ordinary eggs of lacewing insects. Botanists counter that the udumbara is a ficus, a fig tree, different from ficus religiosa, the tree under which the Buddha was awakened.

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From ‘Cultivating the Empty Field’

· Teachings ·

by Honghzhi Zhengjue

Investigating Wonder

In clarity the wonder exists, with spiritual energy shining on its own. It cannot be grasped and so cannot be called being. It cannot be rubbed away and so cannot be called nonbeing. Beyond the mind of deliberation and discussion, depart from the remains of the shadowy images.

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Photo by Martin Mutch

Born As The Earth

· Earth Initiative, Teachings · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

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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Maha-Rahulovada Sutra

· Teachings · ,

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Monastery. Then the Blessed One, early in the morning, put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. And Ven. Rahula, early in the morning, put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms following right behind the Blessed One. Then the Blessed One, looking back at Rahula, addressed him: “Rahula, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’”

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Photo by Olli Henze

River Seeing River

· Earth Initiative, Teachings · ,

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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Photo by Jeffrey & Shaowen Bardzell

Manifestation of Great Prajna

· Teachings · ,

by Eihei Dogen

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, while experiencing deeply the manifestation of prajna, clearly saw with the entire body that all five skandhas are empty. These five skandhas—form, feeling, perception, inclination, and discernment—are fivefold prajna. Clear seeing is prajna. To expound this teaching, it is said in the Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra that form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Form is form. Emptiness is emptiness, boundlessness. One hundred grasses are thus. Myriad forms are thus.

The manifestation of the twelvefold prajna [the prajna of the six senses and their objects] means twelve types of entering into buddha dharma.

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Photo by John Daido Loori

One Single Thing

· Teachings · ,

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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