Zen master of Nanyue went to study with the Sixth Ancestor, Huineng. The Sixth Ancestor said: “Where are you from?” Nanyue said, “I came from National Teacher Huian.”
The Sixth Ancestor said, “What is it that has come like this?” Nanyue could not answer.
He attended on the master for eight years and worked on this question. One day he said to the Huineng, “Now I understand it. When I first came to study with you, you asked me, ‘What is it that has come like this?’ The Sixth Ancestor said, “How do you understand it?” Nanyue said, “To say it’s like something misses it.” Huineng said, “Does it depend upon practice and enlightenment?”
Nanyue said, “It’s not that there is no practice and enlightenment. It’s just that we should not be defiled by them.”
The Sixth Ancestor said, “Just this non-defilement is what buddhas have maintained and transmitted. You are like this. I am like this. All the ancestors in India were like this.”
Blue sky, bright sun
there is no distinguishing east from west.
Yet acting in accord with the imperative
still requires dispensing medicine when the sickness appears.
Shugen Roshi wrote the following preface for issue 37.1, the final quarterly print issue of Mountain Record. This long-considered change reflects how communications have evolved since we began publishing the journal in the 1980s. Starting this spring, follow our on-line updates and offerings, here and through our newsletters, and look for our annual print journal, available December 2019. —The Editors
Mondo by John Daido Loori, Roshi originally printed in Mountain Record in the issue Spiritual Calling (2008)
In the Zen Buddhist tradition there are several ways of engaging with a teacher and one of them is mondo, an informal question and answer session on some aspect of the Dharma. This mondo was held with John Daido Loori, Roshi, the founder of the Mountains and Rivers Order, at Zen Mountain Monastery in 2008.
by Jody Hojin Kimmel Originally published in Mountain Record journal: Zazen (2013)
Just resting is like the great ocean accepting hundreds of streams all absorbed in one flavor. A practitioner of the way follows movement and responds to changes in total harmony. Moreover, haven’t you yourself established the mind that thinks up all the illusory conditions? This insight must be perfectly incorporated. Discontinue leaks and do not act on them.
— Master Hongzhi
Cultivating the Empty Field
How do we leak the vital energy we need for spiritual awakening? What do we have to do to, “discontinue the leaks and not act on them,” as Master Hongzhi teaches?
by Amy Shoko Brown Originally published in Mountain Record journal: “Death and Renewal” (1993)
For a long time after Michael died I wanted to write but didn’t because somehow it felt like taking advantage of his absence. It was as if in some way Michael was looking over my shoulder and saying, “How could you do this to me?” And now he’s just humming along, looking out the window at the sky most of the time and then at me and he doesn’t even have to read what I write; he just says, “Oh, I didn’t know you felt that way.” And laughs, sometimes pokes me in the ribs, and once while I was writing he cried, “I never knew you felt that way.”
by Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei Originally published in Mountain Record journal: “Practicing the Edge” (2001)
In the space between desire and despair, between holding and letting go; between clinging and release, in this space is the unspoken thing. The thing that lives.
—Lives of the Monster Dogs
I’ve been working over the last few weeks with family members as they make a memorial visit to Ground Zero. The trips begin at the Family Assistance Center on Dock 94, where death certificates are being issued and other support services can be arranged. The Center is very big and very busy. From there we get on a ferry that goes down river to the World Trade Center site. On the water there are gunboats everywhere you look, and on board there is significant security. The wind blows brisk and the river incongruously glistens, and on the way the clergy and mental health workers make what connections they can with the families, offering support or space as needed.
NOTE: In October 2018, 16 sangha members, including Shugen Roshi and Hojin Sensei, travelled to India and Nepal “in the footsteps of the Buddha.” Here are some of their reflections and photos. More photos from an earlier blog post here.