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Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Go beyond language. Go beyond thought."

"Language and behaviour, perception and cognition are all functions of the moving mind. All motion is the mind's motion. Motion is its function. Apart from motion there's no mind, and apart from the mind there's no motion. But motion isn't the mind. And the mind isn't motion. Motion is basically mindless. And the mind is basically motionless. But motion doesn't exist without the mind. And the mind doesn't exist without motion. There's no mind for motion to exist apart from, and no motion for mind to exist apart from. Motion is the mind's function, and its function is its motion. Even so, the mind neither moves nor functions, because the essence ot its functioning is emptiness and emptiness is essentially motionless. Motion is the same as the mind. And the mind is essentially motionless.

Hence the sutras tell us to move without moving, to travel without traveling, to see without seeing, to laugh without laughing, to hear without hearing, to know without knowing, to be happy without being happy, to walk without walking, to stand without standing. And the sutras say, "Go beyond language. Go beyond thought." Basically seeing, hearing, and knowing are completely empty. Your anger, joy or pain is like that of a puppet. You can search, but you won't find a thing." ...from The Bloodstream Sermon in The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma translated by Red Pine, pg. 44-45 (written around the early 6th century).

John Crook, English Dharma heir to Master Sheng Yen, dies http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/news-item+M5468d1b790a.html

















 
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 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/


Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adrian2@shaw.ca
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Big boxes and small boxes




"Buddha" means "one who has woken up from the dream of self-image." We can't really understand what waking up is until we wake up. We can talk about it but we can't really describe it as such. Someone who is sleeping might dream about being awake, going to work, meeting friends and so on, but it is a dream. So, usual mind cannot encompass Awakened mind within itself. We can't put a big box into a small box. Only Buddha can realize Buddha. ....from Anzan Hoshin on Shojo Zen in http://www.wwzc.org/book/begin-here-five-styles-zen





"If you have already discovered that your deluded thoughts are not really you then whatever method you have been using---breath awareness, reciting the Buddha's name, or even a mantra---as long as you are able to calm the mind, you will gradually reach a point where a quiet, subdued realization of impermanence arises, that is what we call "lightness-and-ease," or "mental pliancy." This mind is quite tranquil; it has experienced at some level its own insubstantial nature. This gradual approach is likened to a clay vessel containing muddy water in which the mud settles little by little until eventually the water is clear and transparent.

Using this kind of gradual approach is fine, but the huatou approach is not only a matter of gradually letting the mind settle down; rather, you use your full life force, like blowing at the water in the clay pot with great determination until there is no more water, nor any mud to settle. Better yet, using the power of huatou, you can shatter the clay vessel into a thousand pieces. All that will be left is your illuminated mind."....Master Sheng Yen in Shattering the Great Doubt, pg. 82. 












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 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/


Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adrian2@shaw.ca
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Be your own master

Dogen zenji says: "Think of not-thinking,
How do you think of not-thinking? Be before thinking. These are the basics of Zazen."

This means: No opposites. Zen is not a matter of thinking or of shutting out thought but of being Before Thinking. Before Thinking means to be prior to experiences in the same way that a mirror is always prior to what it shows even at the moment of showing it. We cannot be anything that we are aware of. We are always the context of whatever content arises. When we release all of our states and our avoidance and identification then we are always right there at the very moment that the  world arises, right at this pointless point. Bring together every aspect of mind, everything hidden and everything obvious, and allow each to resolve itself into the knowing of it. This is zazen, the shikan-taza of all awakened ones."  Anzan Hoshin in The Straight Path, pg. 128.



"We begin with open Awareness, we add a contraction, a holding on, and then with this pattern of contraction we build ourselves and we build the world. Basically then, self-image has only one moving part: contracting, grasping, holding on. And because self-image is always trying to hold on, there is always a sense of anxiety, because everything is always getting out of hand. Nothing can truly be held, thoughts and feelings rise and fall, sounds come and go, marriages break up, people are born and people die, civilizations rise and fall. You feel good. You feel bad.

And because you are living out a presumption of separation, every area of your life is fragmented and then hastily glued together to create a sense of continuity. One is continually trying to defend this ghost-like "I". Someone says something and one takes it as an attack and all one's defences come to bear. Someone looks at you in the wrong way, someone does not fulfil your expectations, someone expects too much of you and on and on and on"...
Anzan Hoshin in The Straight Path, pg. 122.

What's an alternative. "Be your own master. Stay in Pure Awareness. Can't maintain it? Diligently practice your Silent Illumination or your Huatou method"... Master William Tsao in a Chan teaching moment.

 

2. How to chan meditate:
 
3. Master Sheng Yen in Facebook

4. The Western Chan Fellowship at http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/


Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adrian2@shaw.ca
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.

Monday, July 11, 2011





















Suppose someone has done something to irritate you, or better yet, you have harmed another person with your malicious thought, action or speech. The thought of being violated, or of violating someone keeps cycling itself over and over in your mind. It's very disturbing to the tranquility and awareness you are usually able to maintain.

As a beginning technique, one method is to label the obstruction either Greed, Anger or Delusion everytime the specific, persistent thought occurs in your thinking, and number each time it occurs one to ten. So the nuisance landlord becomes Anger #1, and then Anger #2, all the way up to #10 and start over again at Anger #1.

Like all impermanent things, the energy of the specific thought will begin to dissipate. Then, return to your regular practice of Silent Illumination or Huatou. If the thought of the nuisance landlord returns, once again return to labelling and counting the thought. When it dissipates, and it will,  return to your regular practice.

But what about those huge obstructions that seem to verge on life or death, when your back is against the proverbial Wall?

Then you can depend on the energy of your Vows to push your practice, your very life, through the obstruction. Package the following vows together, and before your sitting practice, commit yourself to recite (with awareness of who is reciting these Vows) every day.  

1. The Great Vow:  This is a personal vow. No one else but perhaps your teacher is to know this vow. It can be open and expansive.  Kshitigarba, a bodhisattva, took a vow "to deliver all sentient beings in Hell before becoming a buddha." So your Great Vow could be, "I vow to (............make your own up.............................) for all sentient beings."

2.    a.) "Due to my self-centered discriminatory and attachable nature , I have acquired many vexations. 
       b.) These vexations have harmed many people through my vexatious mind, speech and actions.
       c.) I vow to no longer harm people and I vow to practice Chan diligently for the benefit of all sentient beings."

3. a.) I vow to deliver innumerable sentient beings.
    b.) I vow to cut off endless vexations.
    c.) I vow to master limitless approaches to Dharma.
    d.) I vow to attain supreme Buddhahood. 

4. "I dedicate this meditation (today's) for the benefit of all sentient beings (or a specific person)."  

Then, proceed with your sitting or walking practice. Definitely, this is a mouthful of vows and initially hard to remember. But you will be saying these vows for the rest of your life, so may these words come to you as easily as the obstructions will melt away. 

Master Sheng Yen writes in Shattering the Great Doubt, "Sometimes we recite the vows without really meaning them. When we take these vows, we should say them from the depths of our heart so that we actually mean it. Some people fear making vows because they think the vows are too lofty for them to accomplish. They should know that the vows at least give us a direction and a path, and we try to fulfill them according to our own abilities and at our own pace."  Pg. 63. 
















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 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/


Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adrian2@shaw.ca
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.


picture by joanne carscadden

picture by joanne carscadden
















Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pure Awareness and the Gingerbread Man

Talking about Pure Awareness is a waste of time. Experiencing it is speechless/wordless. 

For this two person Experiencing Exercise, you will need to consult your physician to know that extreme physical exercion will not shock/damage your physiological system (i.e., a heart attack!!!!!) 

Let's call one person the Timekeeper and the other the Runner. After a good warm-up by the Runner,  the Timekeeper announces, "Go", and the Runner beatles it as FAST as the Runner is able to in a wide enough circle (maybe about a radius of 10 to 15 meters) around the Timekeeper that enables the Runner to acquire an extreme speed without the fear or occurrence of slipping. 

The Timekeeper should motivate the Runner to move as FAST as the Runner is able with loud exclamations, "FASTER, FASTER, FASTER". This is not a boy scout 'conserve your energy and protect against exhaustion' exercise...50 paces running, 50 paces fast walking. This Running is an all-out attack  on exertion. The Timekeeper might adopt the temporary attitude 'Compassion may also be the action of a sharp stick', and scream at the Runner to run "Faster, Faster, Faster", in order to ensure the Runner may end with at least a fleeting glimpse of Pure Awareness.

The Runner will run as if his/her Running will be a  'the Great Boogie Man is Gonna Get Me' kind of run, an 'I Gotta Catch That Departing Bus or I'm Gonna Get My Ass Fired' run, a 'That Man Stole my Passport And I Live In A Third World Dictatorship Hell Realm' run, or a 'I'm the Gingerbread Man and the Fox is Going to Eat My Cookie Dough' kind of run. 

At the precise moment when the attentive Timekeeper notices that the Runner is just about to die from overexertion, the Timekeeper shouts loudly into the Runner's  ears, 
"STOP!"
It is essential that at the precise moment when theThe Runner hears the Timekeeper's command that the Runner stops on command, on a dime so to say, and observes his/her own state of his mind. That experience will be Pure Awareness!

Prescient are the Gingerbread Man's words upon being caught and eaten by the Fox, "Presently the gingerbread boy said, "Oh dear! I'm quarter gone! And then, "Oh, I'm half gone!" And soon, "I'm three quarters gone!" And at last, "I'm all gone!" and never spoke again." Read about the experience of the Gingerbread Man at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gingerbread_Man'

Can the Runner maintain Pure Awareness beyond the few minutes that exhaustion allows the mental realm to stay free of wandering thoughts? 

If not, the Chan Timekeeper offers two methods with which to choke out the thoughts produced by the Runner's self-centered, discriminatory, attached mind.

Disgusted with his/her inability to maintain Pure Awareness, especially after such an exhausting run-around, which method will the Runner choose  to prevent obstructions?



 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 http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/


Call Adrian at 250 898 8201,
email adrian2@shaw.ca
Please notify me if you wish to be removed from the email list.