A Taste of Zen: Daju Huihai

© 2011 Andrew Ferguson, Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings.
Reprinted by arrangement with Wisdom Publications

Summer Landscape Artist: Kano Tan'yū (Japanese, 1602–1674) © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtZen master Daju Huihai, whose name means “Great Pearl Wisdom Sea,” lived and taught in the late eighth and early ninth century. Daju was a senior and foremost disciple of Mazu Daoyi. He came from Yue Province, a place in Southeast China, and became a monk with a preceptor named Zhi at Great Cloud Temple, also in Yue Province. Daju Huihai is said to have had a bulbous forehead, which led to his Dharma name “Great Pearl.”

His biography relates that upon first meeting Mazu, the following exchange took place:

Mazu asked, “From where have you come?”

Great Pearl said, “From Yue Province.”

Mazu then asked, “What were you planning to do by coming here?”

Great Pearl said, “I’ve come to seek the Buddhadharma.”

Mazu then replied, “I don’t have anything here, so what ‘Buddhadharma’ do you think you’re going to find here? You haven’t seen the treasure in your own house, so why have you run off to some other place?”

Great Pearl then said, “What is the treasury of the wisdom sea?” Continue reading

Work with an Empty-Free Mind, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Work Must Be Practice

Blue Hydrangea.Work is an important problem for most of us, because we work to live. We can say our life has value because of work. This makes it a most important issue. Consequently, I like to raise work as a crucial issue.

An important problem for people is the issue of work, because we work to live. We can say our life has value because of work. This makes it a most important issue for us. Consequently, I like to focus on work as a crucial issue. On the back covers of our “Looking Within” series, I asked the publishers to print a little verse that concerns our topic.

Do work of all kinds with a free heart,
Offer the fruits of work to voidness,
Eat the food of emptiness as the noble ones do,
Die to one’s self from the very beginning. Continue reading

The Awareness of the Self is not the Self, by Ajahn Sumedho

AJanh Sumedho 2006 BPG Buddhist Summer School‘The awareness of the self is not the self.’
‘Pure consciousness isn’t a self; it’s not a person.’
‘The condition of a self arises and ceases according to time and place.’

Film around 90 minutes. (Sometimes it takes a while to link to this film)

Small Buddha on show at Agatha Christie’s house

Small Buddha on show at Agatha Christie’s old house near Totnes, Devon.


Continue reading

Part 5 Zazenshin: Acupuncture Needle of Zazen, by Shohaku Okumura

Reading what Dogen said with a fresh mind:

Buddhist Sage. Wang Zhen (Chinese, 1867–1938) © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtI have talked about the original story ‘Nangaku polishing a tile’. I have also referred to the Diamond Sutra as a way of helping to understand what Nangaku was trying to teach Baso. Now we will look at Dogen’s commentary on the same story.

First, however, I would like to introduce Dogen’s interpretation of this story in writings other than in the Zazenshin. I will quote four examples.

The ‘Polishing-tile’ story in Shinji Shobogenzo:

This first quote is from the so-called Shinji-Shobogenzo or Three Hundred Koan. Dogen collected these koan at Koshoji when he was thirty-five or thirty-six years old. He gathered them without adding any comments, though he made minor changes to some stories. From this we can see that his interpretations have a slightly different flavour from the originals.

Writing in Chinese, Dogen added twelve characters into his version of the ‘polishing a tile’ story which allowed him to interpret it in a fresh way: Continue reading

Being Alone, by John Aske

Crowd at the Seashore, William James Glackens © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThere are huge pressures in modern society that make us feel that in many respects we can only be happy in a crowd — until our intuition tells us otherwise. A lot of modern activities, like discoing and clubbing, for example, simply remove the individual, together with all the problems that go with it, and that gives us the impression of freedom.

But even gaining the whole world can be a worthless bargain if it lacks the rich colours and flavours of our humanity. It simply doesn’t mean anything if we are cut off from the very things that make life real. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140,814 other followers

%d bloggers like this: