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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.

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.

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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

Part 2 Toward Nirvana and From Nirvana, by Professor Masahiro Shimoda

Twofold Depictions of the Buddha
Part Two

You can read part one here.

Model of the Mahabodhi TempleA fact that could surprise people who visit Buddhist remains on the Indian subcontinent may be this: monuments relating to the Buddha are concerned not only with the present life of the Buddha but also often with his previous lives, namely with the events connected with his earlier life as a bodhisattva. It seems almost impossible to understand this peculiar phenomenon, particularly for those researchers who are accustomed to regarding the Buddha exclusively as an historical person. However, when we remember the simple fact that throughout history the Buddha has been the one who has stirred deep within people’s hearts the desire to proceed to nirvana and continues always to help them in their purpose, this phenomenon ceases to seem strange. Even during his lifetime, the significance of the Buddha rested mainly in his efforts to strive for nirvana as a bodhisattva. For those who cannot see the corporeal existence of the Buddha, the Buddha appearing through the footsteps taken by the bodhisattva one by one appears much more significant after the Buddha’s parinirvana. Although they cannot directly meet the Buddha who affects this world from the state of ‘nirvana’, the Buddha’s figure as it strives ‘towards nirvana’ as a bodhisattva will be respected as something familiar and will be always widely sought after. Continue reading

Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture

Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum’s collection of Chinese Buddhist and Daoist sculpture is the largest in the western world. In this lavish, comprehensive volume, archaeological discoveries and scientific testing and analysis serve as the basis for a reassessment of 120 works ranging in date from the fourth to the twentieth century, many of them previously unpublished and all of them newly and beautifully photographed. An introductory essay provides an indispensable overview of Buddhist practices and iconography—acquainting us with the panoply of past, present, and future Buddhas, bodhisattvas, monks and arhats, guardians and adepts, pilgrims and immortals—and explores the fascinating dialogue between Indian and Chinese culture that underlies the transmission of Buddhism into China.
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Toward Nirvana and From Nirvana, by Professor Masahiro Shimoda

Twofold Depictions of the Buddha

Part 0ne

Beach leaves.Very rarely do people contemplating some wide-scale reality recognise that its origin is often to be traced back to an event too tiny to be seen with the naked eye, like a minute island far away in the vast expanse of the ocean. Over a period of some 2,500 years Buddhism has spread throughout the world, but its long-ago origin lay in the experience of a single person, an experience which, as unanimously corroborated by Buddhist sources, was at first impossible even to put into words.

The process whereby Buddhism—which first began as the deeply internal experience of just one ascetic practitioner—has over time borne fruit within vastly different races, climates, cultures and histories, might be likened to the way volcanic magma breaks through the earth’s crust and gushes heavenwards then flows down in every direction, descending slopes, changing course, swallowing rocks, trees and water currents in its path, sometimes redoubling in force, sometimes widening to a gentle flow until eventually it cools and coagulates. Overnight the path traced by the magma appears as a great mountain nobody has ever seen before. The invisible terrestrial heat has changed into a dignified, visible landscape. Continue reading

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