Monthly Archives: February 2020

Coming in March: The Udāna

Ash Wednesday has always been profoundly deep-rooted in my being. Perhaps no other date on the Catholic calendar induces such a sense of somberness that millions (mostly non-practicing Catholics) are obsessed to go to church to get those ashes splayed across their foreheads. While that particular liturgical action no longer holds any stock for me, the solemn season of Lent that it ushers in does prove to have an enduring quality. If one were to search the archives here at Unborn Mind Zen, you would find many an auspicious-Buddhist series commencing during this period. This year will be no different as we will be offering an exegesis of the well-renowned, The Udāna. John D. Ireland in his excellent translation points-out its defining quality as an inspired utterance: read more

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Engaged Buddhism?

Generally when one considers “Engaged Buddhism” one thinks of the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh or perhaps the writings of Stephen Batchelor and his secular-oriented bent. One can think of many others like Robert Thurman or even the earlier writings of Walpola Rahula. Of course the list can go on incorporating the tradition of Theravada Buddhism and more mainstream Mahayana Buddhism. For this blog I’d like to focus on the writings of Ken Jones, particularly his “Buddhism and Social Action”, and how they may, in some fashion, pertain to our Transcendentalist approach to Engaged Buddhism here in Unborn Mind Zen. One of our blogs, “The Karma Factor”, spoke of its relationship to rebirth—perhaps even to the nether regions of Buddhist Hell. Ken Jones offers a “social” component: read more

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Mind to Mind Transmission?

Mind to Mind transmission is not about [somehow] coming to meet [itself] as in a mirror—like an objective face staring back at itself. Mind in itself does not need to have a transmission with itself, the very suggestion sound’s rather schizophrenic in nature, most juvenile!  “Mind coming to know itself?” Silly, reminds me of that song from the musical, The King and I–“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me. Getting to know you, putting it my way, But nicely, You are precisely, My cup of tea.” Does it take “a selfie” of itself as well? read more

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New Website Theme

Welcome to our new look!

For this new decade have decided to return to the feel of our original theme from 2011, with a few variables. This theme is known as parchment. Love the ancient feel to it. read more

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The Notion of Time in Buddhism

It needs to be stressed that Buddhism takes a very different stance on the notion of time and its effect on sentient beings. In Christianity there is a triadic-understanding: a person is born at one particular junction in time-based reality, then undergoes a certain trial-based system in which he/she must perform in a moral manner to be made worthy of entering into—eternal life in which they depart from this world in order to enter eternally into God’s “heaven”. So it’s essentially going from point A to point B in a linear fashion with no other variables interfering. From the Buddhist stance, one’s purported lifespan has always been ongoing in an unending cyclic-fashion. The wheel of samsara spins in a diurnal manner and there is no escape from it since one consistently becomes reborn again and again into one of the six realms of impermanence—hence the problem is how to bring this cyclic-existence to a final and successful conclusion. In this model of time, the mind-stream of sentient beings is beginningless, quelling any notion of linear time with a predestination in mind. So for a Buddhist, linear time is not real and is non-existent (except in relative fashion). Ch’an Master Hui-neng goes even further: read more

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How a Lankavatarian becomes impregnated

Laura Iverson

Suppose you were to awaken one day and discover that what you once conceived to be “you” unraveled and revealed itself to be a combination of five different parts all vying for attention: a concretized formal entity that is comprised of sensate impressions; these sensate impressions suddenly branch out and perceive its apparent environment through the medium of conflicting pleasurable or disagreeable feelings; suddenly the scene shifts again as everything undergoes a morphosis into pure cognitive mentation as it first begins to conceptualize just what it construes to be perceived phenomena;  now firmly attached to all that is moving within this great phenomenal craze, bundled and conditioned patterns of habitual karmic associations emerge and predetermines all future perceptions through the constricted lens of  preconceived discriminations; thus consciousness is born and is heavily dependent upon all the aforementioned aggregates as it crawls through samsara in sentient fashion—seeing and hearing and smelling and tasting and touching and evaluating and feebly trying to focus and make some sense of it all whilst at the same time, being hindered and inextricably linked and allied with a vast storehouse consciousness (Alaya-vijnana) of self-same interdependent origination since time immemorial. read more

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Spiritual Adultery

When one considers adultery, it is usually in the carnal sense, such as in having an adulterous affair. There are other forms of adultery, i.e., psychic adultery and spiritual adultery. Our focus for today is on the latter two. Psychic adultery consists of using occult means to gain control and power over another. For instance, utilizing telepathy, or the ability to manipulate the thoughts of others, especially in an offensive way—implanting a thought of low self-worth or even driving someone to the point of suicide. Mara himself implants such dark thoughts within the unwary soul. Another is the foolish attempt to engage in mediumship, or desiring the communication with spirits. Specifically the use of the Ouija-Board. There are many sad accounts of the devastating results of using such an evil tool, because it opens the door to the portal of dark dimensions–inviting an evil spirit access to one’s mind and spirit. There was once such an unhappy occurrence within my own family. One of my cousins and his wife were engaging in spiritual mediumship—her father was a spiritualist minister. They were reading from a Book of Spirits and there actually manifested in their home an evil presence, they could even see its disembodied feet running across the floor. The spiritualist minister attempted an exorcism but within the ensuing days a tragic event occurred. My cousin and is wife were driving down the Highway on a snowy-slippery day when suddenly their car crossed the median head-on into a coming Tractor-trailer. She was thrown through the windshield as her leg was severed from her body. As her limp and dying body lay on the road her eyes were littered with glass. Soon after her death, my cousin went into a deep depression from which he never recovered. He became an alcoholic and later died very young. read more

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A Typology of Bodhicitta

Returning once again to Wangchuk’s study, he marvelously breaks down the very Typology of Bodhicitta. First up for today is the Grand Gnoseological bodhicitta: read more

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Shih−t’ou (Sekito)

A little biographical sketch of todays favored Ch’an Master, from Suzuki’s Manual of Zen Buddhism: read more

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Of shoes and fluff and sealing-wax

Shambhala, once the proud publishers of Pocket Books such as The Zen Teachings of Huang Po, are now mass-publishers of love, empathy and caring—or in other words, your ever-prevalent new age bookstore. In my email box are incessant titles of stuff such as “Seeking out Deeper Connections”, the deep as in the emotional garbage that is the sewer-hole of our mass-infected world, and connections as in wounded souls seeking incessant solace and surface sharing and stroking. The popular guru on the block is Pema Chödrön, who increasingly looks like she’s morphing into some kind of character right out of The Hobbit. read more

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