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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.

Knowing The Future, by Trevor Leggett

Stairwell Art © @TessaMacDermotSometimes we persist in a course of action although it ought to be perfectly clear that it will lead to a disaster. Afterwards in the memory of the event we unconsciously persuade ourselves that our action was not really so stupid.

There are situations where both cause and effect are visible at the same time which brings out the idiocy before our very eyes. One instance would be in an aircraft where a film is being shown to passengers in one section and another copy of the same film is projected to passengers in another section. In a seat from which both screens are visible one can see the same film being run at the same time. The two films are about a minute out of sync with each other and result in us seeing the actors in one scene vigorously playing their part whilst on the other we see the consequences of what they were doing the previous minute. Continue reading

Words of love, Iida Toin

Daruma by Iida Toin. Image © Shambhala PublicationsIida Toin (a Soto Zen master of the early twentieth centu­ry) remarked once: Words of love are not always kindly words. Let us look at a specific case. Suppose I’ve never been healthy, and my general physical condition is getting worse and worse. No serious illness yet, but I recognize that I have to do something about it; my life situation demands that I get well quickly. So I put myself in the hands of an expert who gives me a programme which includes an early morning run followed by a cold shower and all sorts of restrictions on diet and late nights. The body grumbles: Oh no! I can’t stand this! or, Oh, not that again! and Can’t we have just one day off? and so on. The programme has to be imposed on the body, imposed by force. The body finds it hateful. But the basis is love, and after a few months the body is grateful for the new vigour and zest in physical movement.

There is a Japanese poem that says if the mother loves the child, then when she slaps it it is right, and when she gives it a sweet it is right, and when she ignores it it is right, and when she makes a fuss of it, that too is right. But if it is a stepmother who secretly hates the child, then when she slaps it it is wrong, when she gives it a sweet it is wrong, when she ignores it, that is wrong, and when she makes a fuss of it, that too is wrong.

We have to realize that life cannot be always easy and pleasant. Suppose there is a child who is very talented musically and is studying the piano under a good teacher. It is not always going to be pleasant. The child wants to play, it is true, but not scales. The child wants to play the waltzes of Strauss or Gungl, but not Bach or Beethoven. Some force has to be used, but that force is based on insight and love, not of the unformed taste of the child, but of the talent that is awaiting development.

Extract from The Old Zen Master, by Trevor Leggett,
Buddhist Publishing Group

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He comes and goes hundreds of times, so how can you meet him?
Respectfully inscribed by Priest Toin on February 20, Taisho 15 [1925] (Painting sealed by Hoten)

Daruma (Bodhidharma) seems to be sitting still but his inner Zen nature is always moving, so he cannot be pinned down with words. This is actually true of all of us—we are never quite like what we think we are.

Image © Shambhala Publications. Daruma by Iida Toin.

With kind thanks to Shambhala Publications.

Have your Dealings with Heaven, by Trevor Leggett

Moss on treeThere is a saying: ‘Don’t have your dealings with people. Have your dealings with heaven.’ If you have your dealings with people as they are you will be entangled in like and dislike. Have your dealings with heaven, with space, and there is heaven in them, heaven in yourself.

Don’t have your dealings with the clouds. Have your dealings with the sky. The clouds are the sky frowning, so to speak. There used to be an old song ‘Painting the Clouds with Sunshine’. Well, this is the opposite of the Buddhist training which is not trying to paint virtues onto something basically deluded, but is trying to dissolve delusions. There is a Japanese poem: Continue reading

CLACK! by Trevor Leggett

Photo: Wind BellIn the classical Zen of China a monk, called by the Japanese Kyogen, was famous as a scholar who after many years had mastered the scriptures. When the Abbot, his teacher died the new Abbot told him he could if he wished leave the monastery as he had now full knowledge of the doctrine. To the others’ protests he set Kyogen the Koan riddle: “What is your true face before your father and mother were born?” Baffled and furious Kyogen left the monastery but the riddle haunted him. He spent the next years in isolation minding the shrine of the 6th Chinese Patriarch without hope or expectation but still revolving the riddle in his mind. Continue reading

There is a treasure in our own house, by Trevor Leggett

Temple Building. Photo: © Paul HeatleyThere is a treasure in our own house which we often don’t see. We can say, ‘Well, how can there be?’

One of the Indian stories tells how the merchants in some of the towns (when India was the richest country in the world) were very strict about business ethics. One man cut some cor­ners. Well, they used to expel such people from the city and stone them ― not kill them ― but stone them and drive them away. So they took everything this man had, tied him to a stake outside the city, held back his wife and child, and threw stones.

There was a little boy there, the son of one of the big merchants. Not often you get the chance to throw a stone at a grown-up! He picks up a sharp stone, and he throws it. It catches the man on the face and just misses his eye. The blood pours down. Continue reading

Transcending Techniques, by Diana St Ruth

Maitreya Buddha C7-JapanDifferent ways of looking at things catch us at different times and that is why the Buddhist teachings are so diverse. It is not that we have to learn all the methods, study all the texts of all the schools, become engrossed in the history of Buddhism throughout the ages and learn all the languages the texts are written in, before we can get to the truth of it. Truth is not locked in a word or a description or even in a long stream of them. The truth is the same from first to last; it is about us; it is about what we are and what is beyond concepts and the thinking mind.

Descriptions are merely devices or skilful means for awakening, but they are not the reality itself; they are just hints: Let’s look at it this way; let’s look at it that way. . . They are all aids to help us open our own eyes. That is really as far as words and anybody’s teachings can ever take us. Continue reading

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