Author Archives: rodriguez.m

Oct. 11-17

“The need to know, the need to understand is sometimes like a mountain that we have to climb over or move through before we can rest here. We have a habit of needing to know and thinking that if we can’t know what this is, then we have no means of relating to it.”

-Peter Fenner

Practice Meetings

Friday Oct 16, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #2: Jôshû’s “Supreme Way”

Jôshû, instructing the assembly, said, “‘The Supreme Way is not difficult; it simply dislikes choosing.’ But even if a word is uttered, it is already an action of ‘choosing’ or of adhering to ‘clarity’. This old monk doesn’t dwell in clarity. Do you monks want to keep a firm hold on it or not?”

At that time a monk asked, “You say you do not dwell in clarity. If so, what is there to keep a firm hold on?” Jôshû said, “I don’t know, either.” The monk said, “If you, Master, don’t know, why do you say that you don’t dwell in clarity?” Jôshû said, “You have already asked amply. Bow and withdraw.”

Oct 4 – 10

“If you fall into poverty, live that way without grumbling – then your poverty will not burden you. Likewise, if you are rich, live with your riches. All this is the functioning of Buddha-nature. In short, Buddha-nature has the quality of infinite adaptability.”

-Philip Kapleau

Practice Meetings

Friday Oct 9, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #51, Book of Serenity #50
“What is this?”

When Seppô was living in a hermitage, two monks came to pay their respects. When he saw them coming, Seppô thrust open the gate of his hermitage with his hands, jumped out, and said, “What is this?”

The monks also said, “What is this?” Seppô hung his head and retired into his hermitage.

Later, the monks came to Gantô. He asked them, “Where have you come from?”

The monks said, “From Reinan.”

Gantô said, “Did you ever visit Seppô?”

The monks said, “Yes, we visited him.”

Gantô said, “What did he say?”

The monks related what had happened.

Gantô said, “What else did he say?”

The monks said, “Not a word; he hung his head and retired into his hermitage.”

Gantô said, “Oh, how I regret now that in those days I did not tell him the last word!

If I had told it to him, no one under heaven could do anything against him.”

At the end of the summer practice period the monks came back to this conversation and asked him about its meaning.

Gantô said, “Why didn’t you ask me about it sooner?”

The monks said, “We could not dare to ask you about it.”

Gantô said, “Seppô was born on the same stem as I, but he will not die on the same stem. If you want to know the last word, it is just this.” 

Sept 6 – 12

“Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea.”

-Choygam Trungpa

Practice Meetings

Friday Sept 11, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Blue Cliff Record #5
“Xuefeng’s Rice Grain”

Xuefeng, teaching the assembly, said, “I pick up the entire great earth with my fingers and bring it like a big grain of rice from the paddy. I throw it away toward the area in front of you.  The lacquer bucket does not meet it.  I beat the universal drum begging you to look at it.”

Aug 16 – 22

“Realization is not about you, the wave, realizing it is ocean. The ocean realizes itself in you and reveals itself to have never been just a wave. Nothing changes except the falling away of a false belief.” 

-Enza Vita

Practice Meetings

Friday Aug 21, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #96
“Kyûhô Does Not Acknowledge”

Kyûhô served Sekisô as his attendant. After Sekisô’s passing, the assembly wanted to make their head monk the abbot of the temple. Kyûhô would not acknowledge him.

He said, “Wait till I examine him. If he understands our late master’s spirit and intention, I will serve him as I served our late master.”

So he asked the head monk, “Our late master said, ‘Have been totally ceased; Have been totally extinguished; [Have become a cool land of desolation;] Have had only one awareness for ten thousand years; Have become cold ashes and a withered tree; [Have become a fragrant censer in an ancient shrine;] Have become a vertical stripe of white silk.’ Tell me, what sort of matter did he clarify with this?”

The head monk said, “He clarified the matter of absolute Oneness.”

Ho said, “If so, you have not yet understood our late master’s spirit.”

The head monk said, “Don’t you acknowledge me? Pass me incense.”

He lit the incense and said, “If I had not understood our late master’s spirit, I would not be able to pass away while the smoke of this incense rises.”

No sooner had he said this than he expired while sitting in zazen. Kyûhô caressed his back and said, “Dying while sitting or standing is not impossible. But you could not even dream of our late master’s spirit.”

Aug 9 – 15

“I was tired in the evening yesterday. I felt drained by the last days outer conflicts. I felt separated from life. Suddenly I heard the wind blowing through the trees outside my open window, whispering a silent and playful invitation: “Do you want to play? Do you want to join the dance?” This playful invitation again joined my heart and being with the Existential dance. I was again in a silent prayer and oneness with life.”

-Swami Dhyan Giten

Practice Meetings

Friday Aug 14, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #41
“Rakuho at his Deathbed”

When he was about to die, Rakuho addressed his assembly and said, “I have one matter to ask you about. If you say ‘yes’ to this, you are putting another head on your own. If you say ‘no,’ you are looking for life by cutting off your head.” 

The head monk said, “The green mountain always lifts up its legs; you don’t need to carry a lantern in the daylight.” 

Rakuho said, “What time is this to utter such a saying?” 

A senior monk named Genjô stepped forward and said, “Apart from these two ways, I beg you, Master, not to ask.” 

Rakuho said, “That’s not enough. Say some more.” 

Genjô said, “I cannot say it fully.” 

Rakuho said, “I don’t care whether or not you can say it fully.” 

Genjô said, “I feel just like an attendant who has nothing to respond to his master.”

That evening, Rakuho called Genjô to him and said, “Your response today had something quite reasonable. You have to realize what our late master said, ‘There are no dharmas before the eyes, Yet consciousness is before the eyes. IT is not the Dharma before the eyes, IT cannot be reached by eyes and ears.’ Which phrase is the guest? Which phrase is the host? If you can sort them out, I will transmit the bowl and robe to you.” 

Genjô said, “I don’t understand.” 

Rakuho said, “You must understand.” 

Genjô said, “I really don’t understand.” 

Rakuho uttered a kaatz and said, “Miserable, miserable!” 

[Another] monk asked, “What would you like to say, Master?” 

Rakuho said, “The boat of compassion is not rowed over pure waves. It’s been wasted labor releasing wooden geese down the precipitous strait.”

Jul 26 – Aug 1

“It’s only the ego that wants to surrender the ego; the real meaning of surrender does not involve anything external. It means to surrender to your true nature.” 

-Enza Vita

Practice Meetings

Friday July 31, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #59
“Deadly Snake”

A monk asked Seirin, “How is it when a practitioner goes along a narrow path?” 

Seirin said, “You will meet a deadly snake on the great road. I advise you not to run into it.” 

The monk said, “What if I do run into it?” 

Seirin said, “You will lose your life.” 

The monk said, “What if I don’t run into it?” 

Seirin said, “You have no place to escape from it.” 

The monk said, “Precisely at such a time, what then?” 

Seirin said, “It is lost.” 

The monk said, “I wonder where it is gone.” 

Seirin said, “The grass is so deep, there is no place to look for it.” 

The monk said, “You too, Master, must be watchful in order to get it.” 

Seirin clapped his hands and said, “This fellow is equally poisonous.”

July 19 – 25

“Everything you experience is a blessing and pushes you toward realizing your true self.”

-Vivian Amis

Practice Meetings

Friday July 24, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #73
“Sozan Fulfilling Piety”

A monk asked Sôzan, “When one leaves off his mourning clothes, how about that?”

Sôzan said, “Sôzan today has fulfilled filial piety.”

The monk said, “How about after you have fulfilled piety?”

Sôzan said, “Sôzan loves to get drunk.” 

July 12 – 18

“I was wedded to all the stars of the sky.There was not a single star left, and I married every one of them with great spiritual pleasure. Then I married the moon.” 

-Ibn Arabi

Practice Meetings

Friday July 17, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Book of Serenity #52
“Dharma Body”

Sôzan asked Elder Toku, “‘The true Dharma-body of Buddha is like the empty sky. It manifests its form corresponding to things — just like the moon on the water.’  How do you explain the principle of this corresponding?” 

 Toku said, “It is like a donkey looking into a well.” 

 Sôzan said, “You put it in a nice way, but you were able to say only eighty percent.” 

 Toku said, “How about you, Master?” Sôzan said, “It is like a well looking at a donkey.”

July 5 – 11

“Does one really have to fret
About enlightenment?
No matter what road I travel,
I’m going home.”
― Shinsho

Practice Meetings

Friday July 10, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #10
“Poor Seizei”

Seizei said to Sõzan, “Seizei is utterly destitude.

Will you give him support?”

Sõzan called out, “Seizei!”

Seizei responded, “Yes, sir!”

Sõzan said, “You have finished three cups of the finest wine in China, and still you say you have not yet moistened your lips!”

June 21 – 27

“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.” 

– Eckhart Tolle

Practice Meetings

Friday June 26, 7:00pm

This Week’s Koan

Gateless Gate #48, Book of Serenity #61
“One Road”

A monk asked Kempõ Oshõ,

“It is written, ‘Bhagavats in the ten directions. One straight road to Nirvana.’ I still wonder where the road can be.”

Kempõ lifted his staff, drew a line, and said, “Here it is.”

Later the monks asked the same question to Unmon, who held up his fan and said,

“This fan jumps up to the thirty-third heaven and hits the nose of the deity Sakra Devanam Indra.

When you strike the carp of the eastern sea, the rain comes down in torrents.”