Photo By Bill Kando Johnston, MRO

Ask the One Who Knows

· Dharma Discourses, Teachings · , , , , , ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Gateless Gate Case 47

Doushuai’s Three Barriers

Main Case

Master Doushuai made three barriers to test his students.
To inquire after the truth, groping your way through the underbrush, is
  for the purpose of seeing your nature.  Here, now, where is your nature,
  Venerable Monk?
If you realize your own nature, you are certainly free from life and death.
  When your eyes are closed, how can you be free from life and death?
If you are free from life and death, you know where you will go. When the
  four elements are decomposed, where do you go?


If you can rightly give the three turning words here, you will be the master wherever you may be, and live up to the Dharma no matter how varied the circumstances. If, however, you are unable to give them, I warn you, you will get tired of the food you have bolted, and well-chewed food keeps hunger away.


This one instant, as it is, is an infinite number of kalpas
An infinite number of kalpas are at the same time this one instant.
If you see into this fact,
The True Self which is seeing has been seen into.

If you’re free from life and death you know where you will go. When the four elements are decomposed, where do you go? This is the question that human beings have likely been asking since the beginning of our creation. Having a life force, what happens when we die? In death, where do we go?

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Look Again, and Again

· Editorial · , , , , ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman

Looking around at the people and things which come into our orbit, we can be easily misled. The seeing mind is dynamic, complex, and can be affected by a gnawing hunger for lunch, a yearning for praise or even a craving for peace and justice, filling our minds with opinions and judgements. A wide range of feelings rise up when right and wrong becomes solidified. From within this familiar ground, we can find refuge in the Dharma teachings of “View,” the theme of this issue of Mountain Record.

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Right View Comes First

· Teachings · , , , , , , ,

by The Buddha

Monks, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong view as wrong view and right view as right view: this is one’s right view. And what is wrong view? There is nothing given, nothing sacrificed, nothing offered; there is no fruit or result of good and bad actions; there is no this world, no other world; there is no mother, no father; there are no beings spontaneously reborn; there are in the world no ascetics and brahmins of right conduct and right practice who, having realized this world and the other world for themselves by direct knowledge, make them known to others. This is wrong view. And what is right view? Right view, I say, is twofold: there is right view that is affected by influxes, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions; and there is right view that is noble, free of influxes, supramundane, a factor of the path.

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Photo By Bill Kando Johnston, MRO

Why Do Beings Live in Hate?

· Teachings · , , , , , ,

by The Buddha


Sakka, ruler of the devas, asked the Blessed One: “Beings wish to live without hate, hostility, or enmity; they wish to live in peace. Yet they live in hate, harming one another, hostile, and as enemies. By what fetters are they bound, sir, that they live in such a way?”

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Photo By Bill Kando Johnston, MRO

Taking the Leap

· Teachings · , , , , , ,

by Pema Chodron


Nothing is static and permanent. And that includes you and me. We know this about cars and carpets, new shirts and DVD players, but are less willing to face it when it comes to ourselves or to other people. We have a very solid view of ourselves, and also very fixed views about others. Yet if we look closely, we can see that we aren’t even slightly fixed. In fact, we are as unfixed and changing as a river. For convenience, we label a constant flow of water the Mississippi or the Nile, very much the way we call ourselves Jack or Helen. But that river isn’t the same for even a fraction of a second. People are equally in flux—I am like that, and so are you. Our thoughts, emotions, molecules are continually changing.

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Open Letter

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Essays · , , , , , , ,

by Beth Loffreda

Many years ago, in the late 1980s, I attended a university in the south, very white, highly segregated. I had a friend, a young white man, more aware and more well-educated than me in things that mattered, who took a class in African American history taught by a well-known black civil rights leader. My friend acknowledged—with astonished, lacerating shame—that there was a moment in class when the pressure of his own racial identity became so unbearable to him that he found himself imagining shouting nigger at the professor. This was a whiteness inside him he had not before come in contact with—had been cushioned from. Cushioned, in that paradoxical fashion of whiteness, by the very fact that he was white and thus did not need to know it.

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Towards A Science of Consciousness

· Teachings · , , , , , , ,

by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

While the Buddhist contemplative tradition has not had access to scientific means of gaining insight into the brain processes, it has an acute understanding of the mind’s capacity for transformation and adaptation. Until recently, I gather, scientists believed that after adolescence the hardware of the human brain becomes relatively unchangeable.

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Photo By William Carpenter

Nothing Personal

· Essays · , , , , , ,

by James Baldwin

The light that’s in your eyes,
Reminds me of the skies,
That shine above us every day.

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· Teachings · , , , , , , ,

by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

When practicing meditation, we should become accustomed to the meaning of the view. Where is this view? At the moment our deluded mind probably is not in possession of the view. The unerring ultimate view is not something far away and spectacular that we need to look for outside, like embarking in a boat across the ocean after one has already exhausted all the land on Jambudvipa. That would be the approach of the causal vehicle of characteristics. When recognized within our present state of delusion, the view is naturally in the state of primordially pure great emptiness.

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The Perception of Sages

· Teachings · , , , , , ,

by Zen Master Xiatang

To learn to be a Buddha, first you should break through the seeds of habit with great determination, and then be aware of cause and effect so that you fear to do wrong. Transcend all mental objects, stop all rumination. Don’t let either good or bad thoughts enter into your thinking, forget about both Buddhism and things of the world. Let go of body and mind, like letting go over a cliff. Be like space, not producing subjective thoughts of life and death, or any signs of discrimination. If you have any views at all, cut them right off and don’t let them continue.

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