We Are Our True Person

True Person poster

I made this poster and hung it above my bed after reading these words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

“The true person doesn’t go looking for an outside master. WE are in charge of our own destiny and we have to be responsible for each of our own words, thoughts, and actions. Mindfulness will help. Then we realize, ‘I’m thinking like this. I’m responsible for these thoughts. I’ve spoken like that, I’m responsible for my words. I’m doing this, and I’m responsible for this action.’
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Zen: Patience and Study

This is the page I contemplated this morning in my Driftwood Studio. It has to do with enlightenment being something that happens suddenly, from one moment to the next and yet many of us study with great patience. Master Linji gives us the sense that this study and this patience are part of enlightenment, not really “preparation FOR” enlightenment. The words of the sutras or of any text that inspires us are enjoyable and that is why we read and contemplate them. Enjoy this short text of Thich Nhat Hanh speaking of the teachings of Linji:
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Driftwood Studio

Every morning (if it’s not storming) I walk ten minutes from our duplex down to my driftwood studio and sit with my coffee or tea to read, write and contemplate. Right now I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s excellent book “Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go” on the teachings of the Zen Master Linji. I also have my Sony eBook reader with me that has several other favorites I am currently reading off and on.
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Zen: Each of Our Actions Carries Our Signature

Here a comment by Thich Nhat Hanh on the teaching of the Zen Master Linji: “Be sovereign wherever you go and use that place as your seat of awakening”.

Osho („Rajneesh“ Chandra Mohan Jain)

Osho

Then of course we can ask, “How to be sovereign?” If you know the story of Osho and his students and the goose in the bottle: Osho said there is a goose in a bottle. How to get the goose out without breaking the bottle or hurting the goose? he asked his students.
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Reincarnation, Karma and Presence

Eckhart TolleEckhart Tolle, Ramana and the Zen Master Dogen

The following statements by these gentlemen on the topics of reincarnation, karma and presence reflect my own views. Many years ago as a young man I had a vision of great magnitude in which I was standing on a wide path, a road, which came spiraling up from below. It was like an endless funnel and this road, this path, was spiraling around and up the inside of this funnel-like landscape. I recognized it as the path of time and of myriad past human generations. As I gazed mesmerized by the sheer magnitude of this scenario, someone on the opposite side of this ‘inverted mountain’ waved to me. In that moment I waved in return and recognized that the one ‘over there’ was me in another life. Continue reading

Put on Your Robe as a Free Person.

From The Record of Master Linji

Linji Bright Clarity pin

Dear Friends,

The first part of this article consists of some short passages from a text by the Zen master Linji with my comments. The second part is Linji’s complete text. The passages that I comment on are the ones that caught my attention most strongly. Of course, as with any text from the sages, there are many pearls to be found throughout the text. My intention is to make this text more accessible for those readers who may not know of Linji.
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Zen: What is the Buddha Devil?

The deeper message in so many ancient texts is the same. I find, however, that to contemplate this message from various enlightened authors allows it to “sink in” more and more. In the words of Swami Parthasarathy, “The whole theme of the scriptures is to introduce your Self to yourself, nothing else.”

Here is that deeper message this time from the Zen master Lin Chi.

Someone asked, “What is the Buddha devil?”
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“I have arrived, I am Home…”

True Home

True Home

Our true home is in the here and the now. The past is already gone and the future is not yet here. “I have arrived, I am home, in the here, in the now.” This is our practice.

You can recite this gatha, or poem, during walking meditation or sitting meditation. You can practice this poem when you drive to your office. You may not have arrived at your office, but even while driving you have already arrived at your true home, the present moment. And when you arrive at your office, this is also your true home. When you are in your office, you are also in the here and the now.

Just practicing the first line of the poem “I have arrived, I am home” can make you very happy. Whether you are sitting, whether you are walking, whether you are watering the vegetables in the garden, or whether you are feeding your child, it is always possible to practice “I have arrived, I am home.” I am not running anymore; I have run all my life; now I am determined to stop and to really live my life.

I have arrived, I am home
In the here, In the now
I am solid, I am free
In the ultimate, I dwell

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen: Voluntary and Involuntary Events

auniverseinside

For those of you who enjoyed yesterday’s post, this is the continuation of Alan Watts‘ text in The Way of Zen:

“The sense of subjective isolation is also based on a failure to see the relativity of voluntary and involuntary events. This relativity is easily felt by watching one’s breath, for by a slight change of viewpoint it is as easy to feel that “I breathe” as that “It breathes me.” We feel that our actions are voluntary when they follow a decision, and involuntary when they happen without decision. But if decision itself were voluntary, every decision would have to be preceded by a decision to decide – an infinite regression which fortunately does not occur. Oddly enough, if we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide. We are free to decide because decision “happens.” We just decide without having the faintest understanding of how we do it. In fact, it is neither voluntary nor involuntary.

To “get the feel” of this relativity is to find another extraordinary transformation of our experience as a whole, which may be described in either of two ways. I feel that I am deciding everything that happens, or, I feel that everything, including my decisions, is just happening spontaneously. For a decision – the freest of my actions – just happens like hiccups inside me or like a bird singing outside me.

Such a way of seeing things is vividly described by a modern Zen master, the late Sokei-an Sasaki:”

One day I wiped out all the notions from my mind. I gave up all desire. I discarded all the words with which I thought and stayed in quietude. I felt a little queer – as if I were being carried into something, or as if I were touching some power unknown to me … and Ztt! I entered. I lost the boundary of my physical body. I had my skin, of course, but I felt I was standing in the center of the cosmos. I spoke, but my words had lost their meaning. I saw people coming towards me, but all were the same man. All were myself! I had never known this world. I had believed that I was created, but now I must change my opinion: I was never created;

I was the cosmos; no individual Mr. Sasaki existed.

1940's Photograph of Sokei-an Sasaki

1940’s Photograph of Sokei-an Sasaki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

source: Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, p. 117

There is a story about a Zen master whose monastery was overrun by marauding soldiers. When the Zen master did not appear frightened, the soldier’s captain said, “Don’t you know who I am? I could run my sword through you and not think twice about it.” the Zen master replied, “Don’t you know who I am? You could run your sword through me and I wouldn’t think twice about it.”