Wednesday, April 30, 2008

30th April

Catching The Bull

The seeker must now struggle to catch the bull. At this stage this student realises that what he has found is not enlightenment, but self that is uncontrollable and unruly, like a wild beast that he must master in order to progress further on his journey. He must overcome his own restless mind to sustain the Zen vision. Zen is experienced as a challenge to be faced, and the separate self as an obstacle to be overcome. The bull will not yield easily, however, finding refuge in inaccessible hiding places. In the same way the separate self of the student, when faced with disciplines like meditation, may cleverly find every excuse not practice, or more subtle still, decided to reinvent itself with fantasies of being a special spiritual person.
Kuo-an Shih-yuan writes:

I battled bravely to seize the bull -
struggling with its ferocious will
and inexhaustible strength,
as it charges high into misty mountains
and deep into inaccessible ravines.

The bull that has been lost in the wilderness is found at last, but he is hard to control. He constantly longs for the sweet smelling fields. His wild nature is unruly and does not wish to be tamed. If the oxherd wants the bull to be in complete harmony with himself, he will have to raise his whip.

To realise Mind, begin by looking for the sources of your
thoughts. Whether asleep are working, standing or sitting,
intensely ask yourself, " What is my mind?"
Bassui Tokusho.
No comment needed.

29th April

The treasure house is within you.
It holds all you will ever need.
Hui - Hai.
You are all there is!

28th April

There is nothing real in my teachings.
If you understand that you will be rich enough
to really enjoy yourself!
Lin - Chi.
To accept the teachings of the master is to accept
that something can be given you, which is totally untrue.
The master is there to reflect back to you the unreal.

27th April

Whose mouth could possibly be big enough
to describe things as they are?
Alan Watts.
No comment needed.

26th April

"Nothing but lies come out of my mouth,"
said the master. "There - see! I've just done it again."
No comment needed.

25th April

The heavy intellectuals are still dissecting
Zen in the laboratory and solemnly reporting
that there is nothing in it. How nearly right they are!
Christmas Humphreys.
No comment needed.

24th April

Just as the highest and the lowest notes
are equally inaudible, so, perhaps, is the greatest sense
and the greatest nonsense equally unintelligible.
Alan Watts.
No comment needed.

23rd April

During a funeral a monk knocked on the coffin
and asked, "Is he dead or alive?" His master replied,
"I won't say alive, I won't say dead."
The master was correct in pointing out that he was neither.

22nd April

You asked me how to practise Zen on your sickbed.
I ask you who is it that is sick? Who is practising Zen?
Who you are? Do you know? Your whole being is
Buddha nature. You are the Great Way - beyond all forms.
Is there any sickness in it?
Letter from Bassui Tokusho.
The mind, emotions and body arise like a wave in the
sea of Buddha nature. At death they will sink slowly back
into the sea.

21st April

Become a master of every situation,
and you will always be in the right place.
Lin - Chi.
Being in the wrong place is a manifestation
of the mind in judgment of present circumstances.

20th April

If you have sentiments about Buddhist teaching,
it becomes a worldly thing.
If you have no sentiments about worldly things,
they become Buddhist teaching.
Zen proverb.
No comment needed.

19th April

Just see that Buddhism is not found in the world,
but do not yet conclude that there is nothing
worldly about Buddhism.
The world that we experience arises from Buddha nature
like a mirror image. Without Buddha nature it would not exist.

18th April

To follow the Way, do not push away anything -
even sensual experiences and thoughts.
In fact, to completely accept them is enlightenment.
Seng - T'san.
Everything that arises in the mind must be accepted
and embraced as a manifestation of Buddha nature.
Only then will Buddha nature be revealed.

17th April

Where there is beauty, there is ugliness.
When something is right, something else is wrong.
Knowledge and ignorance depend on each other.
Delusion and enlightenment condition each other.
It has been like this since the beginning.
How could it be otherwise now?
Wanting to chuck out one and hold onto the other
makes for a ridiculous comedy.
You must still deal with everything ever-changing,
even when you say it's all wonderful.
To be in good or bad, happy or sad,
is to be attached to that which arises out of Buddha nature.
One must acknowledge that when you are happy, sad also
exists in the same moment.

16th April

Finding the universal in every particular,
whether coming or going, they remain unmoving.
Finding the silence which contains thoughts,
whatever they do they hear the Truth.
The universal is, yet contains all that we identify with,
constantly arising and sinking, always remaining pure Truth.

15th April

It is wisdom that is seeking for wisdom.
Shunryu Suzuki.
This illustrates the dichotomy of you,
who is the manifestation of wisdom,
seeking yourself.

14th April

Investigate your mind and realise your Buddha nature -
that which never rests nor moves, neither starts nor stops.
You will have wasted your lifetime if you don't.
Buddha nature is not the mind. It is the foundation from which the mind arises, like clouds in the sky, or waves in the sea.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

13th April

It is the sufferings and insecurities of our lives that,
although painful and distressing, teach us not to cling on
to the impermenent things of this world.
Not even the greatest master could teach us so well.
We should honour and respect them,
not shun their company.
T'ao -shan.
This illustrates the basic tenet of Buddhist teaching, that
it is our attachment to things of the world which causes our suffering.
If we were not worried about money, job, car, house, health, holiday, clothes
hair-style, physical looks, partner, family etc there would be nothing to centre
the energy on worry on. It would become redundant.
We create worry because we like to feel it. Take all of these things away,
including the NEED to worry, and what is left is Zen. The perfect acceptance
of nature as it unfolds in you as it's expression.

12th April

Babbling about "Buddha" and "Dharma"
is an offense to both. Why break the quiet by talking
about silence? Why fracture reality by giving it a name?
Shen T'sing.
To live with Zen is to be in the total flow of nature as it unfolds.
The mind will try to understand what is happening and give it
a definition, a purpose. Zen is the recognition that you ARE nature
unfolding without purpose.

11th April

It is not one, ot two, not both, and not neither.
You can't get hold of it. Don't try. For while the part sees
the Whole, there is no Zen, for there are two things, the
part and the Whole. Zen awareness must be an expansion
of consciousness beyond all knowledge of any kind
and beyond all process.
Christmas Humphreys.
No comment needed.

10th April

What is Mind? It is the true nature of all sentient beings.
It existed before your parents were born and so before our
own birth. It exists now, eternally unchanging.
It is called "one's Face before one's parents were born."
It does not come into existence at birth and it does
not dissapear at death. It is not male or female. It is not good
or bad. It can't be compared to anything.
This is why it is called "Buddha-nature."
Bassui Tokusho.
In this text Mind is described as an eternally existing expression
of Life. It is the matrix in which all things exist and do not exist.
It is the medium through which expression happens yet it is
seperate from the happening. It is the eternal cause without
attachment to outcome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

9th April

Someone who has seen into his self-nature,
sees it whenever questioned about it.
To see into one's own self-nature is to see and experience
the action and re-action of the conscious mind. When questioned
about the mind, the mind responds with projections of itself in
relation to the question thus revealing self-nature.

8th April

An enlightened being is his own light.
He can see in the dark.
He turns on the light only for his guests.
He uses ideas only to illuminate his visitors.
Shen T'sing.
For the Zen master the light and the dark are the same
and he is reliant on neither. He enteres the world of the
ordinary man without attachment to play the game.

Monday, April 7, 2008

7th April

When you can tell which man has an open inner eye,
I will admit that you really have had a personal interview
with the ancient sages.
This indicates that to be in Buddha-consciousness, is to
recognise that consciousness in all other beings is the same
consciousness as that which is in me.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

6th April

Waiting in the cloakroom
of Reality
I am scared -
like a shy adolescent at a party
to knock (maybe)
and go in.
I'd rather look at the coats:
- try and figure out
who's already
Pete Rawlings.
This writer expresses how the conscious mind conditions our reactions to Reality, constanly playing scenarios based on our hopes and fears.

5th April

In some religionsthe Holy Man is a figure of adoration and renown. But many of the greatest Zen masters of the past behaved and looked like tramps, and were regarded as mildly mad. Only the few, with an opened eye of the Buddhi, saw the greatness within the utterly happy but apparently irresponsible life of the sage.
Christmas Humphreys.

For me this text illustrates what we say in workshops; that you could pass the wisest man on the planet, in the street, and you would never know it. The trappings of greatness that we all recognise are worthless and of no consequence to the Zen master.

4th April

Nature is much more concerned with play
than with reaching goals.
Alan Watts.
Nature is as an expression of the joy of Life.
It does not worry about outcomes or how to manifest,
it creates ever more beautiful expressions of itself

Thursday, April 3, 2008

3rd April

Master Tao-sheng believed that everything had
Buddha-nature, which was a heresy at the time and he was
expelled from the Buddhist community. Tao-sheng, however,
was content to preach to the rocks, who it is said nodded in
agreement. Years later, master Ungan remarked that the
rocks had been nodding long before anyone had bothered to
speak to them.
This story shows how wisdom is naturally inherent in nature.

2nd April

There was nothing sentimentalabout the masters
who used to box their disciples ears to bring them to their senses,
and who experienced life "close to nature" not only when she was
warm and pleasant but when she was freezing, wet, and stormy.
The sentimental "lover of Nature" only sees one side of her face;
when it is wet he goes indoors and speaks of the delightful hissing
of the rain on leaves. He does not let it trickle down his neck.
Alan Watts.
This text expresses how the Zen masters embraced all of the
manifestations of nature. It's counterpart in our lives is to embrace
ALL that life offers us including those things we would term 'difficult'
based on our opinions and judgements.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

1st April

Buddhism has no room for special effort.
Just be ordinary and nothing special.
Eat and drink, then move your bowels and pass water,
and when you're tired go to sleep.
Fool's will find me ridiculous,
But the wise will understand.
No comment needed.

31st March

Zen masters are totally identified
with nature.
DT Suzuki.
Zen masters Are a manifestation of nature.

30th March

One day and master was just about to give a sermon
when a bird started to sing. The master said nothing and
everyone listened to the bird. When the song stopped,
the master announced that the sermon had been preached
and went on his way.
This text again confirms that the manifestation of nature around us is the most profound teaching we will ever experience.

29th March

For some with a special gift or a certain sharpness
of mind, a gesture or a word is all that is needed to impart
an immediate perception of Truth.
Chiang Chih-chi.
This text indicates that the simplest word or gesture is often all that is needed for a person who is in conscious awareness to experience the Truth.

28th March

A Samurai warrior approached master Hakuin and asked, " What is hell and heaven?" The master took one look at the Samurai and started insulting him saying,
" You are such a scruffy looking warrior you would never understand anything."
The Samurai became furious and pulled out his sword.
"There!" Said Hakuin. "This is hell. "
The Samurai had a flash of illumination and was overcome
with gratitude, humbly bowing before the master. Hakuin
said, " There! This is heaven."
The Master indicated to the Samurai that self opinion, which generates striving, causes constant dissatisfaction, our own personal hell. To recognize this is to be centered in the Self, in perfect harmony.

27th March

Student: "Show me the way to enlightenment."
Master: "Do you hear that babbling brook?"
Student: "Yes."
Master: "Enter there."
Nature, as it manifests around us is the Self.

26th March

When Zen wants you to taste the sweetness of sugar
it puts the required article in your mouth and
no further words are said.
DT Suzuki.
Life will bring you all that you require without struggle. It will arise as naturally as your next breath.

25th March

I remember when as a boy lying on my back on the grass, gazing into the summer blue above me, and wishing I could melt into it - become a part of it. Now I think that in those days I was really close to a great truth - touching it in fact without the faintest suspicion of its existence. I mean the truth that the wish to become is reasonable in direct ratio to its largeness - or in other words that the more you wish to be, the wiser you are; while the wish to have is apt to be foolish in proportion to its largeness. Cosmic law permits us very few of the countless things that we wish to have, but will help us to become all that we can possibly wish to be.
Lafcadio Hearn.
In this quote is a definition of what is easily attained and that which is not. We are already all that we wish to be, but strive to possess things external to the self based on the illusion that that which exists outside of ourselves is real and can bring happiness and contentment.

24th March

You cannot tread the path
before you have become the path yourself.
Zen saying.
No Comment needed.

23rd March

We see it, yet it is not seen.
We hear it, yet it is not heard.
We talk about it, yet it is not talked about.
We know it and yet it is not known.
Tell me, how does this happen?
This quote defines intuition. Knowing without reference to the facilities of mind.

22nd March

How then do we know? By the intuition.
This intuition is direct and immediate in experience.
By it we know, as immediately as the hand that picks
up a red hot instrument knows pain.
Christmas Humphreys.
Truth is perceived by direct knowing without thought.

21st March

Seeing the Bull.

At this stage the student catches a glimpse of his own true nature. When the world and the self are known to be One, the bull is seen everywhere, beyond description and penetrating all things. He has caught the vision, but it is fleeting. Kuo-an Shih-yuan writes:

Birdsong from within the branches,
warm sun and cool breeze,
green willows by the riverbank.
There is nowhere for the ball to hide.
Who could paint such a huge head
and such penetrating horns?

The oxherd listens hard and finds the way. His senses become harmonious and he sees into the source of things. It is obvious in everything he does. This unity is like salt in water. When he is completely clear, he will discover that even the smallest thing is not apart from the self.
Throughout this journey the bull signifies the mind. The oxherd is pulled along by the mind but gradually realizes that all that passes him by is mind also. The distinction between oxherd, bull, and journey starts to merge into one.

21st March.
Someone may be deluded for lifetimes,
but may attain Buddhahood in a moment.
The true nature of Self is always accompanying us wherever we go. One only has to catch a glimpse of this to be changed forever.

20th March

Zen is a way of being happy.
Happiness for me in this quote is about being free from attachments of the mind. When the mind is still, happiness arises as a natural condition.

19th March

The secret is within your Self.
To find the nature of the Self, your very essence is Zen.