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Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

“Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master’s. Where we differ is that we place a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience and then proceed to make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be “real” in and of itself rather than to be an “expression” of the “occasion” in which we think or talk about the given experience. In a sense, we have a double layered description:

First, there is the prereflective, not yet conceptualized, experience – what we all share, Zen master and the rest of us alike.

Second, there is the expression or characterization of any experience within a particular situation or occasion.

If the speaker brings no personal, egotistic delusions into this expression, the occasion speaks for itself, the total situation alone determines what is said or done. Thus, in the case of the Zen master, what-is-said is simply what-is. In the case of the deluded person, however, the “what-is” includes his excess conceptual baggage with its affective components, the deluded ideas about the nature of “self,” “thing,” “time,” and so on that constitute the person’s own particular distortion of what actually is.

The wisdom of Enlightenment is inherent in every one of us. It is because of the delusion under which our mind works that we fail to realize it ourselves, and that we have to seek the advice and the guidance of Enlightened ones before we can know our own Essence of Mind. You should know that so far as Buddha-nature is concerned there is no difference in an Enlightened person and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is one realizes it, while the other is ignorant of it.”

Dogen Zenji Enlightenment: Can you do it?

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“By nature, we do not perceive ourselves or others accurately. We magnify the importance of ourselves and diminish that of others. In the beauty of a clear night, however, we look at the stars and feel ourselves small, unimportant, and at peace. On an objective scale, we sense our insignificance. Somehow the realization comforts us. The return of the illusion hurts us, takes our peace away, allows us to magnify slights, rejections, and humiliations as others challenge the illusion of our self-importance with theirs. It is in our human nature that this be so; it is our task to transcend it.”


Barry Grosskopf
Hidden in Plain Sight

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“There’s a space at the bottom of an exhale, a little hitch between taking in and letting out that’s a perfect zero you can go into. There’s a rest point between the heart’s muscle’s close and open – an instant of keenest living when you’re momentarily dead. You can rest there.”

Mary Karr

“The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe.”

Annie Dillard


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Basho

The temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.

Basho

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Four questions

Whenever you’re troubled by a particularly bothersome train of thought or feeling, or when you’re tempted to say or do something that you’re not sure about, put yourself through these four questions, or “gates,” which will help make you a real team player:

1. Is it truthful?
2. Is it helpful?
3. Is it kind?
4. What is my motivation and genuine intention here?

If you can say yes to each question – if you can pass through each gate – then go ahead. If not, stop and go no further. You do have the ability to control whether you stop or go, even in the deepest recesses of your mind.

Please don’t think you are powerless to do whatever is good for yourself as well as whatever is good for others. Remember: the two acts are one and the same.

– Buddha Is As Buddha Does by Lama Surya Das

A few thoughts on Stop Signs with its eight sides

1. Slow down
2. Pay attention
3. Look around
4. Pause
5. Look within
6. Breathe deeply
7. Appreciate
8. Move consciously

And so… the next time you see a Stop Sign, you may want to remember that you are in the act of receiving a very sacred message.


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Concentration. Contemplation. Meditation.

The great rishis tell us God is in everyone, everything. Imagine a rishi, in the forest, full of Light, seeing God in all. A student comes along, then another, they all can see he is someone special and they ask him questions. He tells them to see God everywhere. They can’t. They just can’t. Finally, the rishi may have said, “Ok, sit here in front of this stone and at least learn to see God in one simple thing, this rock. Then we’ll progress from there.”

Maybe that was the first Sivalingam.

TAKA
July 9, 2003

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By Ross Bolleter Roshi

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” When Michal, my composer friend from Slovakia, was driving me out from Bratislava to show me the eastern regions of this country, especially his birthplace Lengow, in the foothills of the High Tatras, he asked me a lot of questions about Zen and how to live it. I found his questions challenging – such questions always are – but their radical simplicity was far more confronting because I spoke no Slovak and he spoke just enough English for us to deal with practical matters and in a vague way to feel out the contours of each other’s lives.

Once he asked me, ‘What is Zen?’ and I replied that ‘the countryside looked splendid now that the sun had come up.’ As always after my responses to his questions he would remain thoughtfully silent, however, as we neared his home village he said, ‘I like the jokes in your religion, but I don’t think I would do the meditation.’ Sensing my disappointment, he went on, ‘But I would do Great Aunt Meditation’. ‘Well, what would that be?’ I asked doubtfully. ‘Great Aunt Meditation is chicken meditation. My great Aunt spends all afternoon in front of her fire. For hour after hour there she is in her chair, looking like she is asleep. But she knows where very chicken is and which way the wind is blowing and what loaf of rye bread the pantry mouse is munching.’ When we meditate we let the world be as it is; we let our heart just be. Then what is there can be, as W.A. Mathieu describes sounds as nourishment, holy food, and best friend. The plane roars through opening up your heart; you hum that old love song as you move from paying bills, to shopping to writing a difficult letter and the humming confirms it.

There is an old Taoist saying, ‘The hen can hatch her eggs because her heart is always listening.’ When we listen to hear another’s pain in their critical words, when we listen to our own pain when we are criticized, the depth of and warmth of our attending opens up the way for life to appear.

Later, in Lengow, I met Michal’s Great Aunt. She was frail, almost totally blind. Michal talked family with her in Slovak. She responded in rivers of Ruthenian. I listened in English. She plied me with Polish vodka. If you can’t understand at least you can drink! Michal asked me to explain Zen to her. I said, ‘Ask her if the birds are singing in her heart!’ Maybe he did, but she just poured me another vodka. As she laboured to get another log on the fire, Michal told me that it took her an-hour-and- a- half to get to church. ‘How far is the church?’ I asked for the village was tiny. ‘Oh about a hundred metres’, he said. ‘Is that because she is blind, because she can barely walk?’ ‘Yes. But mostly because she keeps stopping to enjoy what she can make out of the shadow and light. She picks up rocks and pebbles so she can feel them, talks to the dogs and cats, and to anyone she meet. It’s a long journey.


Ross Bolleter


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If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained.

If you are a good horseback rider, your mind can wander but you don’t fall off your horse. In the same way, whatever circumstances you encounter, if you are well trained in meditation, you don’t get swept away by emotions. Instead, they perk you up and your awareness increases.

Abandon any hope of fruition.

The key instruction is to stay in the present. Don’t get caught up in hopes of what you’ll achieve and how good your situation will be some day in the future. What you do right now is what matters.

Two activities: one at the beginning, one at the end.

In the morning when you wake up, you reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, you think over what you have done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence, and compassion in the days that follow.

Pema Chodron, Bite-Sized Buddhism, Tricycle Magazine

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one day the heart was heavy. . . . the chambers constricted. . . .beating like
a swan running on tangled sod. . . . concerned about some unborn thing. . .
. a constriction of the knotted heart with no thoughts of flight. . . the noise of the mind
entangled and blocked by weeds. . . . till there was no room to move . . . i fluttered
without gracefulness to the center of the lake, which humans call silence. . . . then. . . .
peace  found  in the underside of tired wings that rested on the lake. . . . while the heart
in it’s feathers pounded softer and softer. . . . and i surrendered into the One that is
always present and able to bear the totality of all heaviness and all heaven. . . . .
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Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again,
saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
David Walcott

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