Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mar 31 – Apr 6

“If you are a Buddhist, inspire yourself by thinking of the bodhisattva. If you are a Christian, think of the Christ, who came not to be served by others but to serve them in joy, in peace, and in generosity. For these things, these are not mere words, but acts, which go all the way, right up to their last breath. Even their death is a gift, and resurrection is born from this kind of death.”
-Jean-Yves Leloup — Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Apr 2, 8:30am

Friday Apr 5, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 37, “A New Faith”.

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #23

“Think Neither Good Nor Evil”

The Sixth Patriarch was pursued by the monk Myõ as far as Taiyu Mountain.

The patriarch, seeing Myõ coming, laid the robe and bowl on a rock and said,

“This robe represents the faith; it should not be fought over. If you want to take it away, take it now.”

Myõ tried to move it, but it was as heavy as a mountain and would not budge. Faltering and trembling, he cried out,

“I came for the Dharma, not for the robe. I beg you, please give me your instruction.”

The patriarch said,

“Think neither good nor evil. At this very moment, what is the original self of the monk Myõ?”

At these words, Myõ was directly illuminated. His whole body was covered with sweat.

He wept and bowed, saying,

“Besides the secret words and the secret meaning you have just now revealed to me, is there anything else, deeper still?”

The patriarch said,

“What I have told you is no secret at all. When you look into your own true self, whatever is deeper is found right there.”

Myõ said,

“I was with the monks under Õbai for many years but I could not realize my true self. But now, receiving your instruction, I know it is like a man drinking water and knowing whether it is cold or warm. My lay brother, you are now my teacher.”

The patriarch said,

“If you say so, but let us both call Õbai our teacher. Be mindful to treasure and hold fast to what you have attained.”

Mumon’s Verse
You cannot describe it; you cannot picture it;
You cannot admire it; don’t try to eat it raw.
Your true self has nowhere to hide;
When the world is destroyed, it is not destroyed.

Mar 24 – 30

Rising early
to begin the journey;
not a sound
from the chickens next door.
Beneath the lamp,
I part from the innkeeper;
on the road, my skinny horse
moves through the dark.
Slipping on stones
newly frosted,
threading through woods,
we scare up birds roosting.
After a bell tolls
far in the mountains,
the colors of daybreak
gradually clear.
-Chia Tao, The Clouds Should Know Me By Now

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Mar 26, 8:30am

Friday Mar 29, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 36, “Lotus Vow”.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #67

“Fu Daishi Concludes His Lecture on the Sutra”

Emperor Liang Wu requested Mahasattva Fu to expound the Diamond Sutra. The Mahasattva then from the high seat, lifted and brought the lectern table down once, and then came down from the seat. Emperor Wu was dumbfounded.

The Official of the Records asked, “Does Your Highness understand yet?”

The Emperor said, “I don’t understand.”

The Official of the Records said, “The Mahasattva has finished expounding the sutra.”

Mar 17 – 23

Body impermanent like spring mist;
mind insubstantial like empty sky;
thoughts unestablished like breezes in space.
Think about these three points over and over.
-Adept Godrakpa, Hermit of Go Cliffs

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Mar 19, 8:30am

Friday Mar 22, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 35, “Early Morning Sunshine”.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #1, Book of Serenity #2:

“Emperor Wu Asks Bodhidharma”

Emperor Wu of Ryô asked Great Master Bodhidharma:

“What is the highest meaning of the holy reality?”

Bodhidharma replied, “Vast and void, no holiness.”

The emperor said, “Who are you in front of me?”

Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know.”

The emperor did not match him.

Finally, Bodhidharma crossed the Yangtze River and came to the Shôrin Temple. There he  sat for nine years, facing the wall.

Mar 10 – 16

A monk asked: “What is Buddha?”
Chongshou said: “What is Buddha?”
The monk asked: “What is understanding?”
Chongshou said: “Understanding is not understanding.”
-Zen’s Chinese Heritage

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Mar 12, 8:30am

Friday Mar 15, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 34, “Reunion”.

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #41: “Bodhidharma’s Mind-Pacifying”

Bodhidharma sat facing the wall.

The Second Patriarch stood in the snow.

He cut off his arm and presented it to Bodhidharma, crying, “My mind has no peace as yet! I beg you, master, please pacify my mind!”

“Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you,” replied Bodhidharma.

“I have searched for my mind, and I cannot take hold of it,” said the Second Patriarch.

“Now your mind is pacified,” said Bodhidharma.

Mumon’s Comment

The broken-toothed old Hindu came so importantly, thousands of miles over the sea.
This was raising waves where there was no wind.
In his last years he induced enlightenment in his disciple, who, to make matters worse, was defective in the six roots.
Why, Shasanro did not know for ideographs.

Mumon’s Verse

Coming east, directly pointing,
You entrusted the Dharma, and trouble arose;
The clamor of the monasteries
Is all because of you.

Mar 3 – 9

Explaining many profound dharmas is easy,
living them yourself is hard.
Adept Godrakpa, Hermit of Go Cliffs

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Mar 5, 8:30am

Friday Mar 8, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 33, “Beauty That Does Not Fade”.

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #3: “The Indian King Invites the Patriarch”

A king of Eastern India invited the twenty-seventh patriarch, Prajna Tara, for a meal.

The king asked, “Why don’t you recite sutras?”

The patriarch said,

“The poor way does not stay in the world of subject when breathing in, and has nothing to do with the world of objects when breathing out. I am always reciting the suchness-sutra in millions and millions of volumes.”