Archive for the 'Koan' Category

The Breaking of Compassion

Kannon Journal EntryRecently I took the opportunity to go on a personal retreat for a few days. I went down to, Kiama, a very lovely place. For my retreat I packed a few books, my laptop, my camera, some incense, my Zafu and Zabuton, and in a last minute dash, I picked up my Kannon, purchased from the markets in Mount Tremper, near Zen Mountain Monastery. Continue reading ‘The Breaking of Compassion’

Yunmen’s “Sumeru”

Koan
The Case: A Monk asked Yunmen, “When not producing a single thought, is there any fault or not?”
Yunmen said, “Mount Sumeru.”

The Verse: Not producing a single thought—Mount Sumeru;
Yunmen’s gift of teaching is not stingy in intent.
If you come with acceptance, he imparts with both hands;
If you go on doubting, it’s so high you can’t get a hold.
The blue ocean is wide,
The white clouds are peaceful;
Don’t put so much as the tip of a hair in there.
A phony cock crow can hardly fool me—
I still won’t agree to let you pass through the gate in confusion.
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Coming to Reality with Dishes

Dishes, SFZCMaster Dogen, said “Cooking a meal and washing the dishes are none other than the activity of the marvelous mind of nirvana”. Many times I’ve washed dishes and prepared food, never quite understanding how this ‘nirvana’. I’ve even tried being ‘Zen-Like’, washing dishes. Trying, of course, is something other than what is, so I never got it. With thanks to a video by Alan Watts (embedded below), I now see reality through washing dishes.
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Fayan’s Boat or Land

Koan
Water doesn’t wash water,
Gold isn’t changed for gold.
Find a horse without knowing its color,
Enjoy the lute without the strings.
Typing knots, drawing trigrams, when there are such things,
Completely lost is the true pure mind of original man.
Continue reading ‘Fayan’s Boat or Land’

Exploring the Sigalovada Sutta

Burma, May they reach peace soonSometimes what we like isn’t good for us. We resist, and things get a little messy. Christmas is a very difficult time of year to practice, and sometimes how things look on the surface is not reality. We must remember to look through the obvious, past the hostilities sometimes, to where the heart is. We have to enter where they come from, and from that place, can we still accept them?
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Twist of the schedule

ScheduleWhen looking at coming on a retreat, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation about how things will go. Talk of how good the meditations will be, talk of waking up early, really doing the work, and of course talk of really becoming enlightened.
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Absolute, Relative, and Enlightenment

Two Arrows Mid-AirAbsolute, Relative, and Enlightenment are illuminated, and their inter-relations displayed in Great Master Dogen’s Kannon fascicle. It invites us to “examine both the imagining of night from [the perspective of] the day, and the time when it is night as night. You should examine this completely, [considering] time that is neither day or night.” What does all this mean, and what does it have to do with the subject.
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Dongshan’s No Grass

KoanMove, and your bury your body ten thousand feet deep;
don’t move and sprouts grow right where you are.
You must cast off both sides and let the middle go;
then you must buy some sandals and travel some more before you’ll really attain realization.
Continue reading ‘Dongshan’s No Grass’