Your own spiritual light will shine forth permanently, by Hui Neng

Finial of a Buddhist Monk’s Staff (Shakujō)Bhikkhu Zhi Chang, a native of Gui Xi of Xin Zhou, joined the Order in his childhood, and was very zealous in his efforts to realize the Essence of Mind. One day, he came to pay homage to the Patriarch, and was asked by the latter whence and why he came.

‘I have recently been to the White Cliff Mountain in Hong Zhou,’ replied he, ‘to interview the Master Da Tong, who was good enough to teach me how to realize the Essence of Mind and thereby attain Buddhahood. But as I still have some doubts, I have travelled far to pay you respect. Will you kindly clear them up for me, Sir.’

‘What instruction did he give you?’ asked the Patriarch. Continue reading

Fudo-sama — immovable wisdom

Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. Fudō Myōō (Achala-vidyārāja)
Artwork © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fudō Myōō is the most widely represented of the Buddhist deities known as Myōō, or Kings of Brightness. A fierce protector of the Buddhist Law, he is a direct emanation of the Buddha Dainichi Nyorai, the principal Buddha of Esoteric Buddhism. The first sculptures of Fudō made in Japan were seated, but standing sculptures like this one were carved beginning in the eleventh century. Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. The heavy weight of the shoulders and back is planted firmly on the stiffened legs, appropriate for a deity whose name means the “Immovable.”

This statue, originally composed of six hollowed-out pieces of wood, was formerly the central icon of the Kuhonji Gomadō in Funasaka, twenty miles northwest of Kyoto.

Continue reading

Without Fear, Happiness is Possible, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

Short film about 12 minutes.

More teachings from Thich Nhat Hanh here.

The Heart Sutra a review.

Heart Sutra
Trans. and Commentary by Red Pine,
Shoemaker & Hoard, ISBN 9781593760823

The Heart SutraMost Buddhists will know the Heart Sutra, at least those interested in the Mahayana tradition. It is chanted daily in Zen temples throughout Japan, Korea and China. This is considered to be the heart, the very essence, of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) texts. There have been many translations of this short text over the years, but this is a completely fresh look and the translator comes up with some rather unique conclusions.

Red Pine, otherwise known as Bill Porter, is the name he goes by when engaged in translation work—as with his Diamond Sutra: The Perfection of Wisdom, and The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Continue reading

Hearing Sounds Through the Eyes, by Jisu Sunim

Amitabha triad © Metropolitan Museum of ArtWe are approaching the end of this summer school here in Leicester. The day after tomorrow we shall be departing and the only thing left will be a sweet memory which may recur from time to time.

In a way, life is a continuous imparting of oneself in other people’s hearts. So we can say there is a continual process of giving something to someone. Whether you like it or not, that is just the way life is. If you know this, then give readily with pleasure. Give it according to your own environment and relations.

There is a maxim in this part of the world: `One swallow does not make a summer’. But I’ve never seen a swallow in Britain! I can, of course, imagine a mother swallow picking up a worm or an insect and bringing it back to the nest where her young chicks—maybe five or six of them—are waiting, making an awful noise, opening their mouths: Me first! Me first! Me first! Give it to me! Give it to me! Continue reading

Snakes, Ladders, and Utopia, by Diana St Ruth

Fudō uses his sword to cut through ignorance and his lasso to reign in those who would block the path to enlightenment. © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtHave you ever noticed? If everything seems to be going right in your life, if everything seems to be perfect and you start thinking that this is the most perfect time in my life and it’s going to be wonderful from now on, your world suddenly falls apart. It’s a bit like that old board game of snakes and ladders where you throw the dice and climb the ladder to greater and greater heights, then encounter a snake and zoom down you go again, maybe even to a lower position than before.

Some people might say that this is a somewhat pessimistic view of life and that we should be more optimistic, but I have found that this sort of thing does happen quite often. The pinnacle of perfection is reached in terms of health and worldly well-being, our ambitions have been gratified, maybe just sometimes, it’s exciting, and then something awful happens and we plummet downwards into a difficult or even nightmare situation. The depths of despair, on the other hand, can equally as suddenly turn and life goes into the ascendant again. Mostly, we probably just jog along with less dramatic ups and downs — we’re relatively happy; we’re relatively unhappy; we’re relatively happy again. Continue reading

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