Straight Up From Dogen’s Extensive Record

179. Dharma Discourse[Dogen] said:  The World-Honored One said, “When one person opens up reality and returns to the source, all space in the ten directions disappears.”Teacher Wuzu of Mount Fayan said, “When one person opens up reality and returns to the source, all space in the ten directions crashes together resounding everywhere.” Zen Master Yuanwu Keqin of Jiashan said, “When one person opens up reality and returns to the source, in all space in the ten directions flowers are added on to bro … [Read more...]

Bob Dylan – Most of the Time (FULL VERSION) … [Read more...]

The Moon in a Drop of Water

Question: I read this in a book by Wolinsky. What if so-called trauma is ongoing for us if we unconsciously compare what we are getting now—in the world—to stillness or essence? In other words, we expect perfection of “prior to form” in the world of forms…without knowing it, we keep hurting ourselves because it doesn’t exist in our view of the formed world. Well, unless you have one foot in stillness. So, perhaps everyone around us, and ourself, is coming up short due to this unconscious comparis … [Read more...]

Pancho and Lefty by Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan for something completely different - a Great old Townes Van Zandt song. … [Read more...]


Above is our doggie Bodhi doing some leaping through the field. And below is a provisional translation of the third line of the Genjokoan:Since the buddha way intrinsically leaps from abundance and deficiency, there is arising and perishing, delusion and realization, living beings and buddhas.The issue here may not be so much about transcendence or immanence (as I suggested in the last post about this line a week ago) but about leaping intrinsically from every flipping thing. It's about living a … [Read more...]

Zazen: Basic Shapes

Here are some more questions about zazen that come from comments to the last post. I welcome addressing these issues because zazen is the heart of Soto Zen – and I love Soto Zen.Before I get started, I want to acknowledge that I’m addressing the issues as best I can from my experience and using traditional sources soemtimes to clarify or amplify. I don’t suggest that you believe what I’m saying or the source. I suggest you focus on verifying the truth of the buddhadharma. Being of whatever assist … [Read more...]

What Are You Thinking There In Zazen?

Another good zazen question from the e-mail box:Does this bit of Fukanzazengi seem to you to emphasize the mental/thinking side of things as "the secret of sitting-Zen"?"Sitting in balance in the mountain-still state, "Think the concrete state of not thinking." "How can the state of not thinking be thought?" "It is different from thinking." This is the secret of sitting-Zen." (Mike Cross trans.)Recently I have been maintaining more of an awareness of, or alertness to, my thinking in zazen; a s … [Read more...]

Katagiri Roshi On Transforming Through Play

Here's the excerpt from a talk by Katagiri Roshi that inspired the name for our little practice place, "Transforming Through Play Temple:"In “Points to Watch in Buddhist Training,” Dogen-zenji says, “To listen to dharma is to cause your consciousness to disport itself freely.” In Japanese to “disport” is “yu-ge.” “Yu” is to play. “Ge” means to transform. “Yuge”means that we can transform our self in the process of playing freely.“Transform” does not mean to change. It means without changing your … [Read more...]

The Other

Sesshin here over the weekend so no blogging, then work all day and afterwards a green tea latte with an old friend - an ex-Roman Catholic priest, retired Episcopalian minister, and now a practicing Quaker. One very chilled and wonderfully grumpy old guy. Thanks to those of you who commented on the issue of immanent and transcendent. Here's a question from email, one that lots of Zen students have, that gets at this issue in a relationship kind-of-way:"How can a Buddhist or anyone who uses … [Read more...]