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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Snatching the Whiskers of a Dragon, by Master Kusan

元 龍虎圖 軸 Dragon Artist: In the style of Muqi (Chinese, ca. 1210–after 1269)After ascending the dharma seat, and looking to all the four directions, Master Kusan said, ‘Today is the beginning of this three-month retreat. Within the assembly present here now — do each of you brave men intend to go through with this retreat? Those of you endowed with the Dharma Eye, speak! What is an extraordinary person (an awakened mind)?’

The assembly remained silent. After a pause the master gave a shout and said, ‘The oranges of Cheju-do and the apples of Taegu — do you know where they fall? One pill of golden cinnabar (the medicine of the immortals) swallows all the Dharma realms, and exudes many marvellous mani­festations. Everyone is Vairocana. Everything is a store of flowers within which the Sam­bhogakaya of the Buddha dwells. Do you understand this? You must be as audacious as someone trying to grab the eyebrows of a living tiger or to snatch the whiskers of a flying dragon. Then you will know. A poem says: Continue reading

A moment of realisation, by Diana St Ruth

Chinese Lion, Hanabusa Itchō (Japanese, 1652–1724), © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtPart of the Buddhist path may be to come to terms with our own immaturity, having to realise that maybe we’re not always right and we’re not always kind. Sometimes in fact we’re downright foolish and unkind. Maybe we don’t mean to be, but we are. In the past we have justified our actions, perhaps, but through awareness we can notice this justification process going on. And even though it might be rather disturbing we face this reality because we want to know the nature of existence and the nature of ourselves. That wish for truth overrides our petty motives and we’re willing to look.

A moment of realisation about the way we operate in the world can open doors in our mind for the light to come in and bring insight. It may cause us to cringe a bit when we reflect on how we’ve been in the past, a very uncomfortable feeling. On the other hand, if we are resolved in wanting to know the truth of existence, we know we have to face such realities, any realities, whatever they are. Continue reading

The Illusion of Attainment, by Kusan Sunim

Translated from the Korean
by Martine and Stephen Batchelor

Spring blossom.To pride oneself on any slight degree of knowledge that may have been attained is likened to killing oneself as well as all the Buddhas and patriarchs. It is incorrect to base one’s life upon the fragments of understanding which might occur upon reaching certain states. The ancients of the past have always emphasized that one should never cling to such slight attainments. For if there is something which has been attained, then there is also something to be lost. In order that nothing may be lost, all sense of attainment has to disappear as well.

As long as we remain deluded, we tend to worry about our delusion. So we start diligently to practise meditation. After a while we may experience something which in fact is very insignificant — about as faint as the glow of a firefly or as tiny as the eye of a needle. But simply because what we are experiencing is something we have never heard of or seen before, we wonder, ‘Ah! this must be it!1 We are then liable to start saying that we now really know something and are even enlightened. To regard such an experience as final will result in our living and dying in vain. Therefore, even if we do have some slight attainment, we should not give it any importance! Continue reading

Solely from the Mind, by Kusan Sunim

Translated from the Korean by
Martine and Stephen Batchelor

Photo from British Library #endangeredarchives projectThe Buddhas of the three times arise solely from the mind. Likewise, all sentient beings arise solely from the mind. Furthermore, all things in the universe arise solely from the mind. And limitless space also arises solely from the mind. Thus the Buddhas and the sentient beings are not two. Likewise, what has form and what is formless are not two. Therefore, all of you gathered here today, say something about this one thing which is nondual! Have you awakened to this?

(The master strikes the base of the Dharma seat with his staff.)

The green pine and the green bamboo reveal the spring throughout the four seasons. White snow blending with the wind passes over the mountain behind. Continue reading

Have You Awakened? by Kusan Sunim

Red-crowned crane (丹頂鶴), displayed on a folding screen (障子) during the Gion Matsuri (祇園祭). Mating for life & with a fabled life-span of 1000 years, the crane (鶴 'Tsuru') symbolizes fortune, fidelity & longevity. #Kyoto Photo © @KyotoDailyPhotoI venture to ask this assembly, ‘Have you awakened to and penetrated into the subtle Way of enlightenment with which everyone is endowed?’ If you have awakened, say something! HAK!
[a shout to awaken those listening]

As the sun rises brightly in the sky in the middle of the night, young monkeys are climbing up trees backwards.

The clear wind and the bright moon
demonstrate the great truth.

The green peaks and the white clouds
reveal the subtle function.

Every kind of form magnificently adorns
the Buddha-worlds.

As a phoenix sings and a crane dances,
there is no end to the joy! Continue reading

One Door, by Kusan Sunim

The Red Shop (The October Sun) by Walter Richard Sickert, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service (Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery) There is one door. The Buddhas of the three times and also the successive patriarchs pass through this door. The bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the spiritual advisors of this world also pass through it.

Moreover, those of you gathered here today as well as all sentient beings likewise are passing through this door. So, say something! Have you completely awakened and realized this single great door?

[Kusan Sunim pauses and then strikes the base of his seat with his staff.] Continue reading

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