Archive for April, 2013

Doing Nothing

  Master Yaoshan Weiyan (751-834) One day Yaoshan was sitting on a rock. Master Shitou asked, “What are you doing here?” Yaoshan replied, “Doing nothing (wu-wei)” “Then you’re sitting idly.” “To sit idly would be doing something.” “You said doing nothing, what is it that you’re not doing?” “What a thousand sages cannot recognize.” Master Shitou praised him with a poem, Always lived together with that which is nameless, Getting by effortlessly, acting Read more [...]

The Terrible Twos

  From Hsin Hsin Ming The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential Read more [...]

Tending the Ox

Zen Master Ta Hui, from Swampland Flowers Since you’re studying this Path, then at all times, in your encounters with people and responses to circumstances, you must not let wrong thoughts continue. If you cannot see through them, then the moment a wrong thought comes up you should quickly concentrate your mental energy to pull yourself away. If you always follow those thoughts and let them continue without a break, not only does this obstruct the Path, but it makes you out to be a man without Read more [...]

Mud and Water

  Another monk stepped out and said: “I have already been able to meditate on emptiness.” Bassui responded: “Tell me how you meditate on emptiness.” The monk said, “During meditation I have complete control over scattered thoughts, and mind and body become one like a clear sky. At this time I have no doubt that my body and mind are originally empty.” Bassui: “That’s not meditating on emptiness. It’s merely the first view of emptiness aroused by all students Read more [...]

Shades of the Prison House

  From the Lost Writings of Wu Hsin Do not deem Wu Hsin to be insane Simply because you cannot hear The music he dances to. Man is the one who is insane: His solution to his Need for security is to Lock himself away in a prison. What could be more secure than A prison? He passes his time In a solitary cell labeled “me”. Believing he is now safe and that No other can harm him, He has exchanged freedom For security. What is outside The walls of the Read more [...]

The Real Amitabha

  (A Buddha from Korea: The Zen Teachings of T’aego) The pure, wondrous dharmakaya of Amitabha Buddha is everywhere in the mind-ground of all sentient beings. Thus it is said: “Mind, buddhas, sentient beings—these three are no different.” It is also said: “Mind is buddha, buddha is mind. Outside of mind there is no buddha, outside of buddha there is no mind.” If you genuinely recite the buddha-name, you are just invoking the Amitabha of your own inherent nature. Twenty-four Read more [...]

Ye Old Dragon Fool

  (From the Sayings of Old Ch’eng) Having heard that to see original mind you have to calm original mind, here you are, sitting on your asses stiff as bamboo, staring at the wall with your tongues jammed against your palates as you try to bring thinking to a halt. You arrive at some void like cotton wadding, take it for openness of original mind and out bursts your mind-blather again as of wakening from sleep. What possible value can there be in the absence of thought? Thought Read more [...]

Huangbo’s Whiskers

  Master Huangbo saw that Linji returned, and said, “This guy keeps coming and going, when will you ever be done?”  Master Linji said, “Because of your grandmotherly zeal, so all is done.” And he stood in attendance by Huangbo.  Huangbo asked, “Where have you been?”  Linji said, “Following your kind guidance, I visited Master Dayu and now I have returned.”  “What did Dayu say?”  Linji retold the encounter.  Huangbo said, “That ol’ fella Read more [...]

Seven-Heads Villainous Low

  The monk Huike had come a long way, hoping to learn from Bodhidharma. But Bodhidharma sat facing a wall at the Shaolin Monastery all day, ignoring him. It was getting dark and beginning to snow. Huike thought to himself, “Men of ancient times have sought the Way by smashing their bones to the marrow, feeding the hungry with their blood, spreading their hair to cover the muddy road for the master … what is my little suffering in comparison?” He stood firm and by the next day snow Read more [...]

The Immutability Factor

  Hui Hai (720-814)  Q: What does it mean when the sutra says: "The sound of discussion has ceased, and the role of thought is done"?  A: Words are used to manifest the doctrine. After understanding the doctrine, then, words are useless. The doctrine is void, voidness is the Tao, and the Tao is without words. This is the meaning of "The sound of discussion has ceased". Since the real meaning of the doctrine does not give rise to a single thought or perception and because no thought Read more [...]