Monthly Archives: October 2013

Oct 27 – Nov 2

The correct motivation for every action is essential.
Geshe Rabten, Advice From A Spiritual Friend

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Oct 29, 8:30am

Friday Nov 1, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #16, Blue Cliff Record #31

Mayoku Shook the Ring-Staff

Mayoku, with his ring-staff in hand, came to Shôkei. He circled Shôkei’s dais three times,
shook the ring-staff and stood there bolt upright.

Shôkei said, “Right, right!”

Mayoku then came to Nansen. He circled Nansen’s dais three times, shook the ring-staff and stood there bolt upright.

Nansen said, “Not right, not right!”

Then, Mayoku said, “Master Shôkei said, ‘Right, right!’ Why, Master, do you say, ‘Not right, not right!’?”

Nansen said, “With Shôkei it is right, but with you it is not right. This is nothing but a whirling of the wind. In the end, it will perish.”

Oct 20 – 26

Cold cliff
dead tree
this knobby-pated me
thinks there’s nothing better than a poem.
I mock myself, writing
in the dust, and
damn the man who penned the first word
and steered so many astray.
Ching An — The Clouds Should Know Me By Now

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Oct 22, 8:30am

Friday Oct 25, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #34

Nansen’s Knowing Is Not The Way

Nansen said, “Mind is not the Buddha, knowing is not the Way.”


The sky clears, the sun shines bright,
The rain comes, the earth gets wet.
He opens his heart and expounds the whole secret,
But I fear he is little appreciated.

Oct 13 – 16

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 Oct 15, 8:30am

Friday Oct 18, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #27, Blue Cliff Record #28

What the Holy Ones Have Not Preached

A monk asked Nansen, “Is there any Dharma that has not been preached to the people?”

Nansen answered, “There is.”

“What is the truth that has not been taught?” asked the monk.

Nansen said, “It is not mind; it is not Buddha; it is not things.”


Talking too much spoils your virtue;
Silence is truly unequaled.
Let the mountains become the sea;
I’ll give you no comment.

Oct 6 – 12

If one is lonely neither in a crowd nor in the deep mountains, one is an able person who knows how to enjoy absolute freedom.
–Jae Woong Kim, Polishing the Diamond

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Oct 8, 8:30am

Friday Oct 11, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #19

Ordinary Mind is the Way

Joshu earnestly asked Nansen, “What is the Way?”

Nansen answered, “The ordinary mind is the Way.”

Joshu asked, “Should I direct myself toward it or not?”

Nansen said, “If you try to turn toward it, you go against it.”

Joshu asked, “If I do not try to turn toward it, how can I know that it is the Way?” Nansen answered, “The Way does not belong to knowing or not-knowing. Knowing is delusion; not-knowing is a blank consciousness. When you have really reached the true Way beyond all doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as the great empty firmament. How can it be talked about on a level of right and wrong?”

At these words, Joshu was suddenly enlightened.


The spring flowers, the moon in autumn,
The cool breezes of summer, the winter’s snow;
If idol concerns do not cloud the mind,
This is man’s happiest season.

Sept 29 – Oct 5

If we don’t begin with ourselves, we have no way of actually, truly loving others. 
–Ayya Khema, When The Iron Eagle Flies

Practice Meetings

Tuesday Oct 1, 8:30am

Friday Oct 4, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #14, Blue Cliff Record #63 and 64, Book of Serenity #9

Nanquan Kills a Cat

Because the monks of the eastern and western halls were fighting over a cat, Master Nanquan picked it up and said, “If you can speak, I’ll spare the cat. If not, I’ll kill it.”

No one replied, so Nanquan killed it.

That evening Zhaozhou came back from somewhere else and Nanquan told him what had happened. Zhaozhou then took off his sandals, put them on his head, and walked out.

Nanquan said, “Had you been here, you could have saved the cat.”


Had Zhaozhou been present,
He’d have executed the order in reverse,
Snatching the knife away,
Nanquan begging for his life.