zen

A moment of Zen penetration from the Western philosophical tradition

Posted on

14180723009_46172848fe_z

“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
-Michel de Montaigne; Complete Essays, Chapter XIX

Advertisements

Linji’s How-To for Buddhists & Zen practitioners

Posted on Updated on

4177646070_0f2e7fe74c_z

“Followers of the Way, the Dharma of the Buddhas calls for no special undertakings. Just act ordinary, without trying to do anything particular. Move your bowels, piss, get dressed, eat your rice, and if you get tired, then lie down. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.”
– Linji Yixuan, 9th c. China

The way to study true Zen is not verbal

Posted on Updated on

24147924980_17c9940e1e_z
Photo by flickr user Sascha Sormann. Appearing via Creative Commons license. All rights revert to originator.

“I feel sorry that I cannot help you very much. But the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad. If that is difficult for you, you are not actually ready to practice zazen.”

— Shunryu Suzuki, Not Always So

Sengkan and transformative illumination

Posted on Updated on

8213347287_05dfb0c591_z
Photo by flickr user Abdul Rahman. (CC) All rights revert to originator

It’s really this simple: like unzipping a zipper.

When Daoxin (the 4th Patriarch) was 14 he traveled to see Sengkan, so named since his transformative encounter with Master Hui’ke.

Daoxin pleaded “I beg the master to have mercy. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.”

The master said “Is there someone who constrains you?”

Daoxin said “There is no such person.”

The master said “Why then seek release when you are constrained by no one?”

Layman Pang

Posted on Updated on

“Only hope to make empty that which exists.
Be careful not to make real that which does not exist.”

-Shōbōgenzō, Case 16

27607909602_63f8daf150_z
Image by flickr user Mark Robinson, appearing under Creative Commons license. All rights revert to the originator.

Basho – Slender, so slender

Posted on Updated on

2405784305_2c7c00ebff_z
Photo by flickr user Arnoud Boekhoorn. All rights revert to originator.

Slender, so slender
its stalk bends under dew —
little yellow flower.

 

-Matsuo Bashō, 17th c. Japan

Ikkyu – Coming Alone

Posted on

Photo by flickr user Andreas Øverland. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.
Photo by flickr user Andreas Øverland. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.

Coming alone,
Departing alone,
Both are delusion:
Let me teach you how
Not to come, not to go!

-Ikkyū, 15th c. Japan