Monthly Archives: January 2014

Jan 26 – Feb 1

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Practice Meetings

Thursday Jan 30, 8:30am

Friday Jan 31, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #86

Rinzai’s Enlightenment

Rinzai asked Ôbaku, “What is the great meaning of the Buddha-Dharma?”

Ôbaku hit him. This happened three times.

Rinzai then took his leave and went to see Daigu. Daigu asked,

“Where have you come from?” Rinzai said, “From Ôbaku.”

Daigu said, “What did Ôbaku have to say?” Rinzai said, “I asked him three times, ‘What is the great meaning of the
Buddha-Dharma?’ and I got his stick three times. I don’t know if I was in error or not.”

Daigu said, “Ôbaku was overly gentle like an old grandmother; he completely exhausted himself for your sake. Yet you come here and ask if you were in error or not!”

With these words, Rinzai came to great enlightenment.

Jan 12 – 18

When we fall on the ground it hurts us, but we also need to rely on the ground to get back up.
-Kathleen McDonald, How To Meditate

Practice Meetings

Thursday Jan 16, 8:30am

Friday Jan 17, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #11, Book of Serenity #53

Huangbo’s Slurping Dregs

Huangbo instructed the assembly and said, “You people of various ranks are fellows who indeed slurp the dregs of the wine to the limit. In this way you travel about on your feet. At what place is today?  Do you even know that within the great nation of Tang there are no Zen teachers?”

At that time there was a monk who stood out and said, “But there seems to be in the various directions those who correct disciples and guide assemblies, how do they make it come alive?”

Bo said, “I did not say no Zen; only no teachers.”

Jan 5 – Jan 11

Try to be reasonable in the way you grow, and don’t ever think it’s too late. It is never too late. Even if you are going to die tomorrow, keep yourself straight and clear and be a happy human being today. If you keep your situation happy day by day, you will eventually reach the greatest happiness of enlightenment.
-Lama Thubten Yeshe, The Bliss of Inner Fire

Practice Meetings

Thursday Jan 9, 8:30am

Friday Jan, 10 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #76

Danxia Possesses Eyes

Danxia asked a monk, “From what place have you come?”

The monk said, “I come from down the mountain.”

Xia said, “Have you finished eating the cooked rice or not?”

The monk said, “I’ve finished eating the cooked rice.”

Xia said, “Did the person at the bottom who came with the cooked rice to give to you to eat also possess eyes?”

The monk was speechless.

Changqing asked Baofu, “As the person, who gives the cooked rice to eat, announces the benevolence of having a share, how does [that one] not possess eyes?”

Fu said, “The one who gives and the one who receives are both two blind fellows.”

Changqing said “Having come to use up all their opportunities, they still become blind don’t they?”

Fu said, “Are you saying we’re getting blind?”

Xuedou’s ode says:

Using up the opportunities is not becoming blind.
By laying a hand on the ox’s head to eat the grass,
All of the 28 and the six founding masters,
Came to uphold the precious vessel and complete fording across errors.
Fording across the depths of errors,
There is no place to seek.
Heaven (Devas) above and people are in the same in between space sinking on the shore.          
A workshop.
A wink.

Dec 29 – Jan 4

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Practice Meetings

Thursday Jan 2, 8:30am

Friday Jan, 3 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #7

Yakusan Ascends the Rostrum

Yakusan had not ascended the rostrum for a long time. The temple steward said, “All the assembly has been wishing for instruction for a long time. Please, Master, give your assembly a sermon.”

Yakusan had the bell rung. The assembly gathered. Yakusan ascended the rostrum and sat there for a while. Then he descended and returned to his room.

The temple steward followed him and asked, “You said a while ago that you would give the assembly a sermon. Why didn’t you speak even a word?” Yakusan said, “For sutras, there are sutra specialists; for sastras, there are sastra specialists. Why do you have doubts about this old monk?”