Jun 4 – Jun 10

“As the door opens, we see that the present is absolute and that, in a sense, the whole universe begins right now, in each second. And the healing of life is in that second of simple awareness. Healing is always just being here, with a simple mind.

– Joko Beck

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Jun 5, 8:30am
Friday Jun 8, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special, “Simple Mind,” p. 255.

We’ll be discussing Nothing Special until early July, then we’ll start on Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha (Parallax Press, 1991). To order a copy from Amazon, click here.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record, #25: “Lianhua’s Staff”

The hermit of Lotus Peak [Lianhua] took up his staff and showed it to the assembly, saying, “When the old ones [the great Zen personages of old] reached this point, why didn’t they dare to remain here?”
The assembly was silent.
He himself answered in their stead, saying, “Because that has no power on the Way.”
Again he said, “After all, how is it?”
Once more he himself answered in their place, saying, “With my staff across my shoulders, and, paying other people no heed, I go straight into the thousand and ten thousand peaks.”


Lianhua (“Rengeho” in Japanese), b. 906
15th Generation
Lineage: Shitou > Tianhuang > Longtan > Deshan > Xuefeng > Yunmen > ?? > Lianhua
Dharma Siblings: None of record.

At one level the staff represents the ego. At another level the staff represents enlightenment. Either way, the great Zen masters didn’t remain there.

Xuedou’s Verse:

His eyes filled with sand, his ears with clay,
Even among the thousand mountains he does not remain.
Falling blossoms, flowing streams: he leaves no trace.
Open your eyes wide, and you’ll wonder where he’s gone.

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About mgarmon

b. 1959; grew up VA, NC, AL, GA; also lived in TX, TN, MN, and now in FL; m. 1979; 1 daughter, b 1980; 1 son, b. 1982; div. 1997; m. 2000; Honduran son, b. 1987, adopted 2004; schooled: U West Ga, Emory, Baylor, UVa; UTS; MLTS. Former philosophy professor, now a UU minister and zen student.

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