Google+ Followers

Friday, April 18, 2014

Getting zen comfortable is getting caught

Hmmmm.....the heat of a late April sun is permeating your body. You are lying back in your hammock. You've just had a marvellous lunch. What a great connection you made with this new friend. And what luck: who'd have known you had invited a master of the culinary arts into your home. As you release a sigh of pleasure, you turn your head and notice the last vestige of a morning dewdrop vibrate on a spider web, as its creator travels to and fro. Hey, could life be better? The orchestral birdsong about you agrees. A heaviness invades your eye lids. Why not you think... must be time for a little nap.....

In the practice of Silent Illumination, the quiescence of the self centeredness can be a very comfortable mind state in which to abide. Far away from the troubles of the day,  perhaps you've never before experienced such a profound depth to your samadhi. The self centeredness, which inherently discriminates and attaches to its discriminations, finally seems to be resting. You are happy and content in this profound meditation experience. Never been better!

Ahh careful here! A little attention here please. Some children are throwing sticks at a hornet's nest just on the other side of the hedge! It may not be the time to fully relax into the pleasure of these sunny doldrums. And maybe this profound meditation experience is not such a good place to reside in afterall.

The practice of Silent Illumination involves not just the silencing of the self centeredness. It also involves the illumination of the silencing. Not just profound samadhi. Instead, simultaneous samadhi and illumination.

In perfect balance. Samadhi and Illumination in perfect balance.

How do we maintain this precarious balance?  When the silence in Silent Illumination begins to fall towards a comfort state, towards a seemingly profound peaceful state, a state which seems so blissful we would like to stay there forever, we must tip the scales toward Illumination. How do we do this? We say to ourselves in our mind, "This is the mind's jugglery."

And we drop the state of mind that we were just experiencing.

Remember, Silent Illumination is the 'letting-go' practice. Whatever comes up, let it go. Drop it! We say to any state of mind we are abiding in, "This is the mind's jugglery." Whether the state of mind is  profoundly peaceful or if its chattering away in disharmony, we start over.....start over....start over...

Upon hearing these words of the Diamond Sutra, "Without abiding in anything, the mind arises." the 6th Patriarch awakened to an 8th level enlightenment.

In Silent Illumination, there is clear awareness that the phenomena of the presence of the body is just sitting....The practice of Silent Illumination is the clear awareness of the quiescence of the self centeredness; first through unification of the body and the mind, second through unification of the body and the environment, third with the cosmos....through to No Mind.

And even though thoughts may occur, without any attachment to even the slight uprising of thought.

Without abiding in anything, the mind arises.

Always the relaxation. Always the awareness.

1. MAIN WEBSITE: Cosmos Chan Zen Community at
2. Master Cheng Yen in Facebook;
3. Chan Community Canada at
5. Listen/download audio talks from the Tallahassee  Chan group at
6.the Western Chan Fellowship at
8. Audio downloads at Dharma Drum
9. Questions?  Adrian at 250 650 9055; and

Monday, March 17, 2014

Classes are postponed until April 17.

1. MAIN WEBSITE: Cosmos Chan Zen Community at
2. Master Cheng Yen in Facebook;
3. Chan Community Canada at
4. Listen/download audio talks from the Tallahassee   Chan group at
5. the Western Chan Fellowship at
7. Audio downloads at Dharma Drum
8. Questions?  Adrian at 250 650 9055; and

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chan even puts down the present!

According to many Self Help spiritual guru's, to be 'present to each and every moment' has become a central tenet of how to live a fully embodied spiritual life. Upon trying to practice this call to presence, one finds it can be a very difficult task. Often, the result of our quest is a conceptual confusion. 

Here is a traditional method that has withstood the test of thousands of practitioners. The guiding text that follows is taken from a retreat Master Sheng Yen gave in Wales to members of the Western Chan Association.

"As time passes, you witness the passage of thoughts. As thought succeeds thought, you experience the passage of time. In your practice it is important to make every thought the present moment. If you make yourself one with the moment, you stop the thought. There is simply experience without time because, without thought, time becomes a continuous present. You have to discover for yourself what being one with the moment actually is. 

When you make every thought a present moment., there is no continuity of time, no carry over from moment to moment. Everything is continuously fresh, like the water of a spring endlessly bubbling up into the open air. In such practice, every moment is a rebirth. Here we have no thought succeeding thought,  rather there is endless re-creation without discrete moments. As one master has said, 'One thought for a thousand years.'....from pg. 39/40 Illuminating Silence by Master Sheng Yen.

1. MAIN WEBSITE: Cosmos Chan Zen Community at
2. Master Cheng Yen in Facebook;
3. Chan Community Canada at
4. Listen/download audio talks from the Tallahassee   Chan group at
5. the Western Chan Fellowship at
7. Audio downloads at Dharma Drum
8. Questions?  Adrian at 250 650 9055; and

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pure Awareness of Self Nature moment by moment without deluded thinking

Pure Awareness of Self Nature is a natural function of our inherent wisdom.

How do we work with Pure Awareness? We become aware of everything inside and everything outside. What is everything inside and outside?...That would be thoughts and emotions, body sensations and everything external to our body...the guy using the power saw next door, the children crying, the traffic noise, the sunlight reflecting off the store window, the smell of fresh baked cinnamon buns from the bakery.....

When do we use Pure Awareness of  Self Nature? In every moment! Waking up out of bed, body cleaning, talking, eating, writing, sex, looking at the computer, driving the car, picking up the groceries, watching tv, playing sports, any participatory verb, use Pure Awareness of the Self Nature AND drop the deluded mind of self centeredness and discrimination that inevitably forms attachments to the objects the mind likes and the objects the mind doesn't like.

When we first begin to use Pure Awareness of Self Nature in every moment of daily life, we will notice that the world has grabbed our attention and we have forgotten to use Pure Awareness of Self Nature. Thousands of moments drop away as we keep forgetting . Then, at each moment of remembering, we wake up to the natural function of our inherent wisdom.  At each additional remembering, we strengthen the habit of remembering. Notice the difference between the two states of awareness...the one that is very dull (asleep) and the one is very bright (aware).

How can we strengthen the habit of remembering to practice using Pure Awareness of Self Nature in every moment of our daily life? There are tricks. Here's one. If you have an I Phone, set the alarm function to ring once an hour and at different times each hour for several hours in a row. Yes, the process is a little of a nuisance, but it's an easy way to start establishing a habit. When it rings, check yourself. Are you practicing Pure Awareness of Self Nature, at that moment, without any deluded thoughts?

This process (without the technological time trick) we call No Method. The 6th Patriarch Huineng  (638 to early 713) did not use seated meditation at all. He simply performed the function of his occupation...a wood cutter...using Pure Awareness of Self Nature continually moment by moment all day long. We will continue this No Method practice when we sit on the meditation pillow, to do either Silent Illumination or to raise the Questioning Sensation in the Huatou practice.

Main Web Site: Cosmos Chan (Zen) Community at

Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley and at large:
And California at

Please note the change of phone number, Adrian at 250 650 9055,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Diane Kennedy and Chan workshop in Courtenay

Old Shakyamuni had four great vows. He said,
"Though the many beings are uncountable, I vow to save them;
Though delusions rise without end, I vow to end them;
Though Dharma Gates are  limitless, I vow to study them;
Though Buddha's way is inconceivable, I vow to embody it."
But for me, I have my own four great vows. They are
"When I get hungry, I have something to eat; When the weather
is cold, I put on more clothes; When I get tired, I lie down and
take a nap; When it's warm, I look for a cool breeze."
...Zen Master Baiyun (White Cloud, active 11025-1072 CE of Nengren Temple in Jiujiang City, addressing the monks in the Dharma Hall....from Tracking Bodhidharma, a journey to the heart of Chinese Culture, by Andy Ferguson, pg. 131

This weekend Diane Kennedy of Chan Community Canada presents an Introduction to Chan Meditation workshop at Bill Moore Park, Lawn Bowling House,  Sat 10 to 5 and Sunday 10 to 4. Please pre-register with Adrian. Cost is by donation.

5. Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley:
6. And California at

Please note the change of phone number, Adrian at 250 650 9055,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Upcoming Courtenay 2 day Intro to Chan Meditation with Diane Kennedy

Please join us Oct 26/27 and meet our new Chan Dharma teacher.

"To be attached to things is primordial illusion" implies that it's not the awareness itself that is the problem, but the clinging to it. For example, I cling to the feeling that I am separate from others and am thus unable to accept the fact that I am the others (and visa versa). We have to be able to see both relative and absolute at the same time and to live and function freely in both spheres simultaneously. That is freedom. Sticking to either side is illusion and bondage. At the same time, however, our practice requires that we stick to one side or the other in order to experience it. Having done that, we must unstick ourselves by letting go of the realization, but we must first have the realization. Just living in the state of oneness without actually experiencing it, is not enough. The fish that hasn't yet realized it's swimming in water is a potential Buddha. A potential Buddha is still a Buddha, of course, but only a potential one. A child of the Buddha is a Buddha and, at the same time, a child. The child has to grow up. And there is no way not to grow up!...from Infinite Circle, Teachings in Zen, by Bernie Glassman, pg. 90-91.

Please note: there will be no class September 26!
5. Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley:
6. And California at

Please note the change of phone number, Adrian at 250 650 9055,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Roshi Bernie Glassman on the costs and benefits of conceptual thinking

"Our ideas and concepts are very useful, but we have to see that they're models, in the way that the globe is a model of the Earth. It is not the Earth. If we know the globe is the Earth, if we're full of ideas and knowledge we think constitute reality, we'll be shocked time after time when things won't go as we know they should.

When we're bound by ideas and concepts, it's easy to anticipate how we'll act. That's our karma, our propensity to do things in a certain way. But if we can step back and look at that bondage, examine how we act. When we free ourselves of those fixed ideas, when we no longer know how we're going to act, therein lies our true freedom. Each moment the circumstances change, freeing us to not know what we are doing. Indeed, we are free because we don't know. Doing what's appropriate is the expression of our freedom from notions of what's appropriate. Letting go is the manifestation of the One Body; appropriate action is the manifestation of not-knowing."....from Infinite Circle..Teachings in Zen, Bernie Glassman, pg 68-69

Also check out these Chan sites of interest:
2. How to chan meditate:
3. Master Sheng Yen in Facebook
4. The Western Chan Fellowship at
5. Upcoming events at Dharma Drum in Vancouver
5. Other Buddhist centres in the Comox Valley:
6. And California at

Please note the change of phone number, Adrian at 250 650 9055,