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Monday, November 29, 2010

White rock Saturday the 4th retreat with William
















"The koan path within the Zen Way is yet another whole dimension of play. It's full of that kind of creative, dragonish energy described in the first hexagram of the I Ching, "The Creative"--the electrically charged, dynamic, arousing force of a spring thunderstorm. And yet it is a modest, homely, simple business. Koan work is a fierce, playful form of dressing up in order to stay profoundly at home.

A koan can be a tiny story or a fragment of the record of discourse or encounter between a teacher and a student; or it may be a line from a sutra or a poem, or most simply of all, a vast and simple question, "What is the sound of a single hand?" "What is your original face, before even your parents were born?"  In every case, it defeats the efforts of ordinary consciousness to resolve the questions it raises and we must learn to respond with wide (and wide-awake) awareness, from the depths of our heart-mind."... from Susan Murphy's Upside Down Zen, pg. 45. (Susan's book is a great read and is available in the VIRL.)

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There will be a by donation Chan retreat in White Rock this coming Saturday December the 4th 9:30 to 4:00 p.m. with Willam Tsao, accredited Chan teacher. Email marie Sabine msabine@shaw.ca to register. And of course we will be sitting at the Courtenay Elementary School this Thursday evening.





Also check  out:

Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sunday retreat coming up on the 28th

"As the mind becomes clearer, it becomes more empty and calm,
and as it becomes more empty and calm, it grows clearer."...Master Sheng yen
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Join us to clear your mind this Thursday evening.  There will be a sitting this Sunday 1:30 to 4:00. Due to a PDDay, we will meet at Adrian's. Call first. RSVP Adrian to attend the Sunday sitting.













Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just go straight

 


"I hope you only go straight, don't know, which is clear like space, soon find your correct way, truth, and correct life, get enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering."  ...Zen Master Seung Sahn in Only Don't Know pg. 96
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There will be a class this Thursday. Events will now be listed on Facebook at Comox Valley Zen (Chan) Centre.






Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Patriarchy and sexual ethics in Chan/Zen

















Patriarchy and sexuality have historically isolated women from practicing Chan and Zen. Miaozong is one woman who refused to be oppressed by her societal obligations. One of Chan Master Yunan's (1063-1135) primary students, Miaozong, asked this question when Master Yuan challenged her request to study Chan.

"Does the Buddhadharma distinguish the difference between male and female forms?"

Her answer revealed a deep understanding of Chan that related back to the exchange between the 5th Chan Patriarch Hongren and the 6th Chan Patriarch Huineng (678-713). When initially denied acceptance into Hongren's monastery because  Huineng was uncivilized, a southern Chinese peasant, and thus incapable of studying Zen, Huineng replied to Hongren, "As far as people are concerned there are north and south, but how could that apply to buddha-nature?"

The 20th/21st centuries have seen the blossoming of women in Chan/Zen studies. Needless to say, the conflict between patriarchy and spirituality has led to a preponderance of ethical crises in many centers/monasteries. At the heart of these ethical crises is the relationship between teacher and students.
Do teacher and student have sex together or not? What's the harm?

For two excellent investigations into sexual ethics, consult Stephen Batchelor's Shaping the Future at
http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/shaping-the-future.html and Zen Women, beyond tea ladies, iron maidens, and macho masters, by Grace Schireson (available in the public library).
 
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Attention:  Who amongst us can write the best chan huatuo (zen koan)? 

To solve the huatuo, here are some suggestions that Zen master Dahui (1089-1163) gave to  Miaodao (a Zen sister of Miaozong).

The huatuo read,  "It is not the mind, it is not the Buddha, it is not a thing; after all, what is it?"


    1. You must not take it as a statement of truth.
    2. You must not take it as something you do not need to do anything about.
    3. Do not take it as a flint-struck spark or a lightning flash.
    4. Do not try to divine the meaning of it.
    5. Do not try to figure it out from the context in which I brought it up.

What's the winnings in this great Zen contest?   Well, first let's decide if after all this meditation, is there even a WHO to award?  You can use the comment section to post your mind boggle!

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ATTENTION: there will be no class this November 11th due to school Remembrance Day closure.  There will however be a silent sitting this Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30. R.S.V.P. Adrian please. 


Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.







Tuesday, November 2, 2010

dancing under the gallows











Is it to be Silent Ilumination or Huatou Method?

"Master Hsu yun has said that the practice of zazen, either as Silent Illumination or in a koan or hua-tou investigation, is to illuminate the mind so that we can see our ‘true nature’. This ‘true nature’ or ‘Buddha nature’ is Emptiness experienced – not a void without objects, nor lacking anything, but rather the basis of sentient being – ‘emptied’ of words. Experiencing and eventually understanding this and applying such understanding in life is the purpose of the Dharma.

In practicing Silent illumination, Shifu (Master Sheng Yen) always stressed the calming of the mind to reach a one-pointed awareness of the totality of a body’s experiencing (Total Body Awareness). Once achieved, this awareness may be widened to admit sensory impressions. Once this is stabilized, changes in experience may appear spontaneously. These may include a loss of a sense of time, a widened awareness of space and later possibly bliss, gratitude, and a disinterested love of being itself. These shifts in feeling lead into a quiet tranquility. The Japanese call these experiences makyo, illusions, since untrained persons may mistakenly think they are enlightened. I call this condition ‘Self at Ease’. The feeling of being a normal self remains present during these shifts in awareness. It is clearly ‘me’ that is having them.

The hua-tou method may be either intense or relatively relaxed. The concentration takes the form of an obsessive enquiry, known as the ‘great doubt’, into such brief paradoxes as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” or ‘What is next?‘ At some point, during either Silent Illumination or hua-tou work, some stimulus, usually quite small and either of an inner or outer nature, may trigger a sudden change.

This change comes ‘from its own side’ without any self-involvement, wishing or desire and the continuing presence of ‘me’ is disrupted. It is as if at the centre of awareness there is a mirror where the ‘I’ had been and in which all impressions are reflected without any comment from the mirror itself. Shifu calls this experience ‘self forgotten’. While the intensity of the experience may be suppressing the normal awareness of self, it remains possible that the egoic component of self changes in form to a bright witnessing with a mirror-like quality lacking self-reference.

This experience of ‘insight’ (prajna) beyond ego is essentially ineffable – one can try to express it but it is essentially beyond the reach of language. Although this is an experience of ‘emptiness’ – an emptiness of access to word, thought, idea – yet the immediate environment is extra-vividly present in a unique way, extraordinarily brilliant, clear and vivid. One is uninterruptedly ‘present in the presence of the present’." ... from John Crook in
NCF #42 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/ncf+M5fd1872ceff.html

Really famous Zen Masters, or "Watch it, whether you answer correctly or incorrectly to Zen master's question, you still get 30 whacks from the incense stick. Ouch!!!


Which famous Japanese Zen master devised 'What is the sound of one hand clapping? Hakuin believed he could do much better than the traditional Chinese huatou, 'what is wu' with this new huatuo.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Though Hakouin (1686-1768) visited many Soto temples and frequently quoted  the 13th century Soto Master  Dogen, he despised the technique. "In recent times, however, the Zen schools have been engaging in the practice of "Silent Illumination" doing nothing but sitting lifelessly like wooden blocks. What, aside from that, do you suppose they consider their most urgent concern?....Consuming lots of good rice. Passing day after day in a state of seated sleep." from Wild Ivy, The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin, by Norman Waddell.













Hakuin was a  prolific painter, calligraphist, and writer.
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Though Alice Herz-Sommer never studied Zen, as the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world, she is a humanitarian mentor to us all. Check out Alice Dancing under the Gallows at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlccsLr48Mw

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There will be a class this Thursday evening.

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Also check  out:
Master Cheng Yen in Facebook; 
http://chancommunitycanada.wordpress.com/ 
and the Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/

Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.