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Posts Tagged ‘simplicity’

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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begging bowls

This  set of  9 alms bowls is handmade in Rajasthan, India by the Kharadi muslims for use by the Shwetamber sect of Jain monks. The white-robed Jain monks take five ethical vows–this includes renouncing all worldly possessions, including their name–owning only these bowls presented to them by their followers. In a journey of humility, the monks travel on foot with only their bowls, going door to door, village to village, seeking followers who fill them with food.

jainmonkbowlstacked

The begging bowls or “bhiksha patra” are lathed from local rohida wood, prized for its dense grain and strength. No wood is wasted, with each of the nine bowls scooped from the heart of the bowl before it.

Artisans apprentice for years to make these bowls by first making simple coasters and progressively improving their skill level once each has been mastered. In addition to the difficulty of carving a smaller bowl from the heart of a larger bowl, the walls are only 1/16-inch thin which further tests their skills.

As a continuation of their vow to renounce worldly possessions, when the bowls are no longer of use they are broken into pieces, buried and returned to the earth.

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You are the Unchangeable Awareness in which All activity takes place.
Always Rest in Peace.
You are Eternal Being, Unbounded and Undivided.
Just Keep Quite.
All is well.
Keep Quiet Here and Now.
You are Happiness.
You are Peace.
You are Freedom.
Do not entertain any notions that you are in trouble.
Be Kind to Yourself.
Open to your Heart and Simply Be.

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Papaji

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Join me here Now
where there are no points of view.
Slip under good and bad
right and wrong
worthy and unworthy
sinner and saint.
Meet me here

where everything is unframed
before understanding
and not understanding.
Meet me here

where silence roars
where stillness is dancing
where the eternal is living and dying.
Meet me here

where you are not you
where you are it
and It is unspeakable.
Meet me here

where all points of vies
merge into a single point
that then disappears.
Meet me here

before there ever was something
before there was nothing.
Meet me here

where everything speaks of this
where everything has
always spoken this
where nothing is ever lost and found.
Meet me here.

Adyashanti

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In the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Kahlil Gibran

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simplicity

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.

Albert Einstein

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