History

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

If buddha-dharma is the self, why do we have to study from others? Why do we have to practise in order to change the self? Why do we have to practise? We already have buddha-nature. We can do whatever we want. What is wrong with this kind of view? That is the question. Dogen’s reply is as follows:…

The real part 5 of Zazenshin. Sorry for the slip up last time.

Pensive Bodhisattva

The origin of Buddha statues of this style is the figure of Prince Siddhartha in contemplation pondering the four phases of life (birth, old age, sickness, and death). Established first in India, the Pensive Bodhisattva was made in countless numbers in China but not till it came to Korea…

Zen Sickness, by Zen Master Hakuin

Afterwards, however, as I began reflecting upon my everyday behaviour, I could see that the two aspects of my life—the active and the meditative—were totally out of balance. No matter what I was doing, I never felt free or completely at ease. I realised I would have to rekindle a fearless resolve and once again throw myself life and limb together into the Dharma struggle…

A taste of Zen: Heze Shenhui

Shenhui thus founded what became known as the Heze (in Japanese, Kataku) school of Zen. The branch largely died out during the early ninth century and is not remembered as a major school. Nevertheless, the doctrine of sudden enlightenment remained a central characteristic that defined the teaching styles and cultural flavour of later Chinese Zen…

Virtue, Calligraphy by Hakuin

This oversize rendition of the character for “virtue” (toku 悳) reflects the exuberant spiritual energy projected by Hakuin Ekaku, who was one of the foremost proponents of the revival of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in late Edo Japan. Originally composed by Chinese historian and scholar of Confucianism Sima Guang (1018–1086), the inscription reads: