Archive for the ‘Wisdom from the Masters’ Category

Shih−t’ou (Sekito)

A little biographical sketch of todays favored Ch’an Master, from Suzuki's Manual of Zen Buddhism: Shih−t'ou (Sekito) (700-790) whose family name was Chen came from the district of Tuan−chou. His other name was Hsi−ch'ien. While still young, his religious feeling was strongly stirred against a barbarous custom which was practiced among the Liao race. The custom consisted in sacrificing bulls in order to appease the wrath of the evil spirits which were worshipped by the people. Shih−t'ou Read more [...]

Allegiance to the Real

  Selections from The Bodhidharma Anthology [As the classic theoretician of the practice of gazing at the topic states, in this method the trainee is not to employ discriminative understanding, doctrinal understanding, thinking or calculation, intuition, verbal strategy, absolute nonchalance, engagement, analysis of the words, or anything else; one should simply “twenty-four hours a day and in all four postures constantly raise up the topic and constantly be aware of it.”] Now, Read more [...]

The Living Flame of the Unborn

John of the Cross (1542-1591) This Carmelite mystic, a true Black Dragon, once whispered the following—intended as an antidote for those afflicted by endless yearnings; with one paraphrased nuance: To reach satisfaction in all desire its possession in nothing. To come to possession in all desire the possession of nothing. To arrive at being all desire to be nothing. To come to the knowledge of all desire the knowledge of nothing. To come to the pleasure you have not you must Read more [...]

Who’s That Wriggling in Your Shoe?

    From Zen Master Keizan’s Transmission of Light (All passages taken from The Denkōroku: The Record of the Transmission of the Light; all Capitalized words are representative of THAT WHICH IS UNBORN, UNCOMPOSED, UNDYING and UNCREATED ) Once you become conscious of the LORD OF THE HOUSE then, to be sure, Mahākāśyapa will be able to wriggle his toes in your shoes. Do you not know that Gautama completely vanished at the very moment when ‘Gautama raised His eyebrows and Read more [...]

Light Triumphant

Zen Master Ejo Not fearing life and death is because of not seeing oneself. Not seeing oneself means not being self-conscious, not having a self-image. The light of great wisdom is thus impersonal, so the verse says that wisdom is Buddha. In spite of this, you think that it is a matter of loving the transitory body, which is like dew on the grass, like a floating bubble, when it comes to the great light that is your real body, you think it is an irrelevant discussion and suppose that there Read more [...]

The Four Sufferings

  Shanhui (497-569) Poems of the Four States: I.Birth Relying upon the ovum, consciousness arises, birth arises from love and desire. In a time now past he grew up, today he returns as a child. The stars follow the cycle of human life, red lips open for milk. Because we are deluded to our true Dharma nature, We still suffer in the cycle of birth and death. II.Old Age Look into the mirror and see how your face changed, how climbing the stairs can take your strength. You Read more [...]

For Suchness Sake

  More from Tōzan One day Dungshan said goodbye to Master Yunyan. Yunyan asked, “Where are you going?” “Although I’m leaving the master, I don’t know where I’ll end up.” “Aren’t you going to Hunan?” “No.” “Going to your native place?” “No.” “When will you be back?” “When you have a place to stay (i.e. heading a monastery) then I’ll be back.” “Now that we part, it’ll be difficult to meet again.” “It’ll be difficult not to Read more [...]

Sea-Slug Dharma

  Master Dongshan Liangjie  (807-869  Jpn.: Tōzan Ryōkai) -The Nonsentient Expounds the Dharma- Dongshan next visited Master Guishan, and asked him, “I’ve heard that the National Teacher Huizhong taught that the nonsentient can expound the Dharma, I don’t understand the intricate meaning of this teaching.” Master Guishan said, “Do you remember the dialog?” “Yes.” “Tell it again.” Dongshan then repeated the following dialog: A monk asked, “What is the Read more [...]

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 [...]
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