In the bardo state, you believe you have eyes that see. However, everything is merely experience, whether it is the bardo or the hell realms or any other place. It is all your personal experience. Just because one believes one has eyes and can therefore see does not change the fact that what one is experiencing is basically mind experience. When you dream at night you see all sorts of different things. Are those things seen with the eyes? You believe you have eyes in the dream, don’t you? You walk around and look all over, yet in reality your eyes are closed and you’re in bed. (more…)
Once you have truly received the pointing-out instruction and recognised mind essence, becoming enlightened through training is not out of reach; it is in your own hands. You can remind yourself to recognise your mind essence as often as possible. If you train in this way, you can be liberated even if you spend your entire day doing something as simple as grazing cattle. If not—if you know all the words of the Dharma but don’t really experience the essential meaning—the moment you depart from this life you will just roam about in confusion. This is the essential point.
There is another thing that I would like to say. The Buddha was totally awakened and saw the three times as clearly as if they were held in the palm of his own hand. The teachings are based on this immense clarity. We don’t have to speculate about whether the words of the Buddha are true or not. I am not saying this because I am a Buddhist, but because it is really true. It is not the same as certain spiritual systems taught by unenlightened beings who had some partial insight and gave some portion of the truth but not the complete picture. Because of not being enlightened themselves and not having this completely unimpeded clarity, they were not able to teach in the same way as a fully enlightened buddha. This is something to bear in mind. I am not being prejudiced here, but it is really true that we don’t have to judge the words of a fully enlightened being. They have already been checked thoroughly. (more…)
Iida Toin (a Soto Zen master of the early twentieth century) remarked once: Words of love are not always kindly words. Let us look at a specific case. Suppose I’ve never been healthy, and my general physical condition is getting worse and worse. No serious illness yet, but I recognize that I have to do something about it; my life situation demands that I get well quickly. So I put myself in the hands of an expert who gives me a programme which includes an early morning run followed by a cold shower and all sorts of restrictions on diet and late nights. The body grumbles: Oh no! I can’t stand this! or, Oh, not that again! and Can’t we have just one day off? and so on. The programme has to be imposed on the body, imposed by force. The body finds it hateful. But the basis is love, and after a few months the body is grateful for the new vigour and zest in physical movement.
There is a Japanese poem that says if the mother loves the child, then when she slaps it it is right, and when she gives it a sweet it is right, and when she ignores it it is right, and when she makes a fuss of it, that too is right. But if it is a stepmother who secretly hates the child, then when she slaps it it is wrong, when she gives it a sweet it is wrong, when she ignores it, that is wrong, and when she makes a fuss of it, that too is wrong.
We have to realize that life cannot be always easy and pleasant. Suppose there is a child who is very talented musically and is studying the piano under a good teacher. It is not always going to be pleasant. The child wants to play, it is true, but not scales. The child wants to play the waltzes of Strauss or Gungl, but not Bach or Beethoven. Some force has to be used, but that force is based on insight and love, not of the unformed taste of the child, but of the talent that is awaiting development.
Extract from The Old Zen Master, by Trevor Leggett,
Buddhist Publishing Group
He comes and goes hundreds of times, so how can you meet him?
Respectfully inscribed by Priest Toin on February 20, Taisho 15  (Painting sealed by Hoten)
Daruma (Bodhidharma) seems to be sitting still but his inner Zen nature is always moving, so he cannot be pinned down with words. This is actually true of all of us—we are never quite like what we think we are.
Image © Shambhala Publications. Daruma by Iida Toin.
With kind thanks to Shambhala Publications.
Filed under: Art, Buddhism, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, Mahayana, Trevor Leggett | Tagged: Bodhidharma, Daruma, Iida Toin, Japanese poem, Shambhala Publications, Soto Zen, Trevor Leggett, Zen Buddhism, zen master | 1 Comment »
Filed under: Buddhism, Mahayana, Tibetan, Video | Tagged: Bodhicharya, buddhist philosophy, Buddhist video, emptiness, Impermanence, Interdependence, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhism, tibetan buddhist monk | Leave a Comment »
BNow Aug 99
Ten years ago Patricio Goycoolea, a Chilean seeker of truth, was permitted to stay at Bukkokuji, a Soto Zen monastery in Obama, Japan, for two weeks. Ten years later he feels it is time to leave! This place which he calls paradise, has been a nurturing environment for him far beyond his expectations. Now, as Reverend Jiku, a fully ordained monk, he is embarking on a slow journey back to Chile via China where he has been asked to compile a photographic report on the spiritual revival of Ch’an. (He was once a photographic journalist and has provided many beautiful photographs for Buddhism Now.) Intending to remain a monk for good, it is his wish to begin a place for meditation in Chile when he returns.
As Jiku departs, he sends us a teisho by Tangen Harada Roshi. Roshi Sama as Jiku calls him, has been the inspiration behind his life for the past ten years at Bukkokuji. This master’s teachings have appeared in Buddhism Now from time to time in the past. What follows now is a teisho given in English; the Roshi’s first teisho, it seems, ever to be given in English. He says towards the end, `Baby English—sorry!’ The English isn’t exactly right, but we know what he means. It is with great respect that we publish his Baby English Teisho here. If it is read with this in mind, we’re sure you will agree, it is a magnificent dharma thrust. Read ‘Baby English—sorry!’
Filed under: Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, History, Mahayana | Tagged: Buddhism Now, Bukkokuji, harada roshi, Reverend Jiku, Roshi Sama, Soto Zen monastery in Obama, Tangen Harada Roshi, Teisho, zen meditation, zen monastery | 4 Comments »
The Buddha Sakyamuni isn’t the only one to have given Dharma talks: Everything throughout the universes always speaks the Dharma. Even the huge boulders atop the mountains give Dharma talks hundreds of times greater than the buddhas in the temples.
You’re probably asking how rocks, boulders and clumps of mud could give Dharma talks. But if you come to understand Buddhism, you’ll realise that you should listen to the Dharma talks that the boulders are always giving, albeit not in what we know as spoken language. And the boulders aren’t the only ones giving Dharma talks. Even the formless, shapeless, invisible void gives an eternal Dharma talk. (more…)
Six short films on the Six Paramitas; Giving, Conduct, Patience, Diligence, Meditation, and Wisdom.
Ringu Tulku speaks most clearly and eloquently, laying out the basis of Buddhism and the path to take for those who wish to practise.
The Perfection of Giving
Filed under: Beginners, Buddhist meditation, Encyclopedia, Mahayana, Tibetan, Video | Tagged: Buddhist video, Prajnaparamita, Ringu Tulku, Six Paramitas, Tibetan Buddhism, tibetan buddhist monk | 2 Comments »
An interview with Jôkô Shibata by Arthur Braverman
Jôkô Shibata lives alone in a suburb of Komoro, a town in northern Japan, known as the Japan Alps. He moved to Komoro over twenty-five years ago in order to be with his teacher, the late Yokoyama Sodô Roshi, otherwise known as ‘the grass flute Zen master’. Jôkô is of average height and build, wears horn rimmed glasses and samue (work clothes worn by Zen Buddhist monks). He welcomes me into his home with a reserve that drops away quickly as we get to know each other.
I had first seen Jôkô (we hadn’t really met) in 1971 when he accompanied his teacher to Antaiji, a small temple in Kyoto, where we both attended the yearly memorial service for Sawaki Kôdô Roshi. Jôkô leads me through a corridor lined with pictures of his teacher to a small chanoma (tea room) where we have tea. On one side of the chanoma is a kitchen, on the other a balcony with a view of Mount Yatsugatake. Across from where we sit is a newly built Zen meditation room, or zendo, with the distinct smell of fresh wood and new tatami straw mats. At the far end of the zendo is a small altar with pictures of Jôkô’s teacher, Yokoyama Sodô Roshi, and his teacher, Sawaki Kôdô, both sitting in the zazen [formal sitting] posture. Jôkô’s life attests to his devotion to these two teachers. (more…)
We can see in both Soto practice and Rinzai practice sudden and gradual aspects. We can say it is a continuous process — first practise, then sudden realization, then further practise and further realization continuing endlessly. From the experiential point of view, the gradual and sudden aspects together are a gradual process.
In Soto Zen we also emphasize the intrinsic point of view. In other words, from the beginning, practice and realization are one. Practice is this life, and realization is this life, and this life is revealed right here and now as each of us. Realization is nothing other than seeing this plain fact. Whether we realize it or not, it is the fact. Whether we practise five years or ten years or not at all, it is the plain fact. In each moment the Buddha Dharma is completely revealed as this life. Every instant appears and disappears as the absolute truth. What could be more sudden than this? (more…)