Sunset and My Last Will and Testament

Yesterday I spent some time working on my Last Will and Testament. I'm not sick or anything, just taking care of business. I found it quite fun, really, especially planning "my" funeral. My home crew seemed less than joyful about the topic - a good thing, I suppose, especially given the teenagerness of one significant faction. Anyway, the above old John Prine tune has been bubbling up ever since. It's on the play list for the my funeral so if you make it to the party, you'll hear it again. … [Read more...]

Glimpsing the Dog

Near the end of the last comment string, Al asked, "How would you recommend cultivating seamless zazen?"By sitting zazen as not a means to an end.  Maezumi Roshi creatively spun the characters for zazen to read as “Showing Oneness.”Once upon a time, the emperor asked his teacher, “After you die, what will need?”The teacher said, “Build me a seamless monument.” The emperor said, “Please tell me what the monument would be like.”The teacher was silent for a long while.Then he said, “Understand?”Tenk … [Read more...]

Turning Turning

Maybe it’s the turning weather – snowing again today – but I find myself reflecting on “turning” in zazen.Most translations of Dogen’s zazen instructions, Fukanzazengi, have “turn the light inward.”Literally, the text has no character for "inward" in "subekara-ku e kohen sho no tai ho o gaku" (or inelegantly, "Just learn the backward step, revolving the light around to illuminate").An important point for practice, it seems to me.Most translations also drop "subekara-ku" or "just." I find this ano … [Read more...]

John Hiatt – The River Knows Your Name – Malvasio … [Read more...]

A “Buddhian” Slip

At an important work meeting today I was trying to reassure various school district representatives that our school would be a good place for a program they are relocating. In my presentation I wanted to say, "Look, we have the dollars (to support funding the program)." Instead I said, "Look, we have the dharma."I heard the word come out of my mouth and stopped and looked around the table as everyone curiously looked back at me."Ummm. I mean dollars."Note to self: dollars might be dharmas but … [Read more...]

Cigar Island, Short Questions, and Short Responses

A few questions from Jason in the email box:"How does zazen/mindfulness impact thinking in everyday life? Is there some effect?" With mindfulness we know where we are - suffering - and it transforms our life. With zazen we wholeheartedly just live whether there is an effect or not. "How can a teacher like Trungpa be so gifted and yet seem to have major issues in his life?"Maybe just like a Buddha (can to sung to "Just Like a Woman" tune). I'm told that Trungpa's last talk consisted of just this: … [Read more...]

Steve Earle – Christmas In Washington't think of a better song for what's comin'!  Come back Woody! There might be hope for old, white guys yet - but that's not who's going to be the next president of the USofA! … [Read more...]

Second (or Third) Enlightenment?

Here's a comment from my last post that I'd like to post a comment about ... so we're already in the realm of two or three heads! Continue reading at your own peril.Dosho,In ["Valley Sounds, Mountain Colors"] Dogen talked of the 'second enlightenment' of Master Kyogen Chikan and Master Reiun Shigon.Nishijima Roshi interprets this as those Masters' attainment of understanding of the entire philosophical system of Buddhism. What do you think of this idea?Is the 'essential inquiry' of which you … [Read more...]

108 Delusions and the Teacher – Student Relationship

(Above is another shot of the enso tree from the woods near Wild Fox Temple [aka, my house])This is post #108th - #1 went up on May 10 - so, dear reader, cheers! Here's to delusion after delusion. Speaking of which, a few years ago I visited Great Vow Monastery in Oregon. I was packing to leave and decided not to carry back on the plane my reading material from the trip out. I went to the office with a magazine rolled up in one hand behind my back. A nice young man who is now a Great Vow monk … [Read more...]