Posted on 9 December 2016 by Buddhism Now
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
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Posted on 10 September 2016 by Buddhism Now
We 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
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Posted on 13 January 2016 by Buddhism Now
Translated from the Korean
by Martine and Stephen Batchelor
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
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Posted on 1 August 2015 by Buddhism Now
Son (Zen) Master Taego Pou (1301-1382)
Translated from the Korean by Stephen and Martine Batchelor
HUA-T’OU: (Lit. ‘head of speech’). Has a twofold meaning: (i) the essence of the kung-an, a shortened version of the story or situation; (ii) the source of thought; that which exists before one thought has arisen (thoughts being the mind’s external manifestations — the ‘tail of speech’).
A monk asked Chao Chou [Jap. Joshu], ‘Does a dog also have the Buddha nature, or not?’ Chao Chou replied, ‘Mu (No).’ This Mu is not the Mu of yes or no; it is not the Mu of true nonexistence. Ultimately what is it? To reach that place from where Chao Chou said Mu one must straightaway lay down the entire body.
Do not do anything (good or bad) and do not even do this not-doing; then straightaway one reaches that place where there is no concern for external affairs, that vast and peaceful place where there are absolutely no obstructing thoughts. Continue reading
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Posted on 19 February 2014 by Buddhism Now
I’ve often spoken of the following words of Dogen Zenji: `Zazen is not step-by-step learning meditation, it is the culmination of totally realised enlightenment.’ `Step-by-step learning meditation’ is to think of peace of mind, or awakening, or practice as something which is separate from yourself. You think you are confused or that you are a practitioner of Zen and that from now on you will practise in order to attain enlightenment or get peace of mind or some kind of quietness. In other words, you perceive a result or an ideal which is far away from you. This is `step-by-step learning meditation’. Continue reading
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