Monthly Archives: June 2013

June 23 – 29

To be attached to one’s own happiness 
is a barrier to the true and perfect path.
To cherish others is the source 
of every admirable quality known
–Tsongkhapa, The Splendor of an Autumn Moon

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Jun 25, 8:30am

Friday Jun 28, 7:00pm

Special Note: This Friday’s sit will be Meredith’s last with the Dancing Crane Zen Center.

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 49, “Earth’s Lessons”.

This Week’s Koans

Book of Serenity #8 

Baizhang and the Fox

 Whenever Master Baizhang delivered a sermon, an old man was always there listening with

the monks. When they left, he left too. One day, however, he remained behind.

Baizhang asked him, “What man are you, standing there?”

The old man replied, ” In the past, in the time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived on this mountain as a Zen priest. Once a monk came and
asked me, ‘Does a perfectly enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?’ I said to him, ‘He does not.”Because of this answer, I fell into the state of a fox for 500 lives. Now, I beg you, Master, please say a turning word.”

Baizhang said, “The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured.”

Upon hearing this, the old man became greatly enlightened.

Gateless Gate #2

Baizhang’s  Fox

When Baizhang delivered a certain series of sermons, an old man always followed the monks to the main hall and listened to him.

When the monks left the hall, the old man would also leave.

One day, however, he remained behind, and Baizhang asked him, “Who are you, standing here before me?”

The old man replied:

“I am not a human being. In the old days of Kashyapa Buddha, I was a head monk, living here on this mountain. One day a student asked me, ‘Does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?’ I answered, ‘No, he does not.’ Since then I have been doomed to undergo five hundred rebirths as a fox. I beg you now to give the turning word to release me from my life as a fox. Tell me, does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?”

Baizhang answered, “He does not ignore causation.”

No sooner had the old man heard these words than he was enlightened.

Making his bows, he said, “I am emancipated from my life as a fox. I shall remain on this mountain. I have a favor to ask of you: would you please bury my body as that of a dead monk?”

Baizhang had the director of the monks strike with the gavel and inform everyone that after the midday meal there would be a funeral service for a dead monk.

The monks wondered at this, saying, “Everyone is in good health; nobody is in the sick ward. What does this mean?”

After the meal Baizhang led the monks to the foot of a rock on the far side of the mountain and with his staff poked out the dead body of a fox and performed the ceremony of cremation.

That evening he ascended the rostrum and told the monks the whole story.

Õbaku thereupon asked him, “The old man gave the wrong answer and was doomed to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. Now, suppose he had given the right answer, what would have happened then?”

Baizhang said, “You come here to me, and I will tell you.”

Õbaku went up to Baizhang and boxed his ears.

Baizhang clapped his hands with a laugh and exclaimed, “I was thinking that the barbarian had a red beard, but now I see before me the red-bearded barbarian himself.”

June 16 – 22

Unless we have the determination to increase our mindfulness from moment to moment, we will easily forgot to practice it.
–Ayya Khema, Be An Island

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Jun 18, 8:30am

Friday Jun 21, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 48, “Covering Mud with Straw”.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #73 & Book of Serenity #6

“Mazu and the Hundred Negations”

A monk asked Grand Master Mazu,

“Abandoning the four phrases and renouncing the 100 negations, I beg Master to directly point to the meaning of that First Certain Someone’s coming from the West.”

Master Mazu said, “Today, I toiled and am weary and do not have the energy to explain it for you.  Take the question to Zhizang and go away.”

The monk asked Zhizang.

Zang said, “Why don’t you ask the Venerable?”

The monk said, “The Venerable instructed me to come and ask.”

Zang said, “Today my head aches, and I don’t have the energy to explain it for you. Take the question to Elder Brother Hai and go away.

The monk asked Elder Brother Hai.

Hai said, “I arrived at this side, but still I don’t understand.”

The monk raised it to show to Grand Master Mazu.

Master Mazu said, “Zang’s head is white; Hai’s head is black.”


Jun 9 – 15

How much of your life do you spend looking forward to being somewhere else?
–Matthew Flickstein, Journey to the Center

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Jun 11, 8:30am

Friday Jun 14, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 47, “Follow the Dharma”.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #53

Baizhang and a Wild Duck”

Great Master Ma and Baizhang were walking to a rest stop.  Seeing young wild ducks passing in flight, Great Master said, “What’s that?”

Baizhang said, “Young wild ducks.”

Great Master said, “To what place are they going away?”

Baizhang said, “They passed in flight and are gone away.”

Great Master proceeded to twist the tip of Baizhang’s nose.

Baizhang did suffer the pain and cried out.

Great Master said, “How have they already flown and gone away?”

Jun 2 – 8

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
–Thich Nhat Hanh

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Jun 4, 8:30am

Friday Jun 7, 7:00pm

This Week’s Reading

Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path White Clouds, Chapter 46, “A Handful of Simsapa Leaves”.

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #3, Book of Serenity #36

“Master Ma Was Restless”

Great Master Ma was restless.

The chief of the courtyard asked, “Venerable, so what have your esteemed hopes of recent days been?

Great Master said, “Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha.”