the mountain walks

zen-monks-mindful-walking

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Take a step and set your foot down like you are pressing a stamp into the soft wax to make a seal. When that foot is firmly on the ground and your weight is on it, lift the other foot and carry it forward. Then press feel how you set that foot onto the ground like you are pressing a stamp into the soft wax to make a seal. When you lift the foot you breathe in and when you set it down you breathe out. You can also set one foot with the in-breath and then carry the other foot forward and set it with the out-breath. Always keep the back foot on the ground until the front foot takes the weight fully.

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the highest form of passion

shikan-taza

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My Comment:

Sitting is a term that has a deep meaning in Zen. Krishnamurti calls it ‘complete negation which is the highest form of passion’. Sitting in this sense calls for all of our energy on all levels.When there is any loss of energy through identification with our fears, desires, ambitions, visions, regrets, opinions, etc. etc. then we do not have the energy required for this highest form of passion.  Continue reading

no time for time

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Sitting is a certain body posture. More than that however, in zen sitting is a universal metaphor that transmits the deep sense letting all things, including oneself, rest. Letting rest means to exercise fine restraint in one’s whole being, releasing the habitual impulse to do anything and to carry anything over to the next moment. 

Whatever action presents itself in the course of how things go, is accepted. One doesn’t resist that natural action that is embedded in the whole. One carefully discerns the shining source in each minute event, and does not overstep this mindfulness at any time. Continue reading

non-thinking – the koan

Shikan Taza

 

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Below is Koan 129 from Dogen’s collection of 300 Koans that goes into “non-thinking” in relation to thinking/not-thinking. First you find “The Main Case” which has, at the end of each line a footnote number. After “The Commentary” and “The Capping Verse” there are “The Footnotes” by John Daido Loori, to which the numbers refer.  Below the footnotes I have included John Daido Loori’s Contemporary Commentary on Dogen’s text. Enjoy! Continue reading

authentic task

spring-summer-movie

If you can read these words without you mind…

The Ancient Ferryboat in Bright Moonlight

A patch-robed monk’s authentic task is to practice the essence, in each minute event carefully discerning the shining source, radiant without discrimination, one color unstained. You must keep turning inwards, then [the source] is apprehended. This is called being able to continue the family business.

Do not wear the changing fashions, transcend the duality of light and shadow. Accordingly the ancestors’ single trail is marvelously embodied. The residual debris of the world departs, its influence ended. This worldly knowledge does not compare to returning to the primary and obtaining confirmation.

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from sky to sky

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When the men of the world look for this path amid the clouds

it vanishes, with not a trace where it lay.

The high peaks have many precipices;

on the widest gulleys hardly a gleam falls.

Green walls close behind and before;

white clouds gather east and west.

Do you want to know where the cloud-path lies?

The cloud-path leads from sky to sky.

Han Shan

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avoid offending anyone you face

The Bright, Boundless Field

The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness. Utter emptiness has no image, upright independence does not rely on anything. Just expand and illuminate the original truth unconcerned by external conditions.

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life begins where thought ends

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This statement could be taken as referring to temporal sequence: first this happens and then that happens. However the word “where” gives us the clue: both life and thought are happening simultaneously. However, if we get the sense of our field of perception actually as a field, like a corn or rice field, then we may find one thing happening in one corner of the field and something else happening somewhere else in the same field. That is the case with our field of perception.  Let’s say: thought = the mind pulling up impressions of past events and based on those memories evaluating what is happening now and then creating an image. This image is then the basis for a slightly modified image of some future event as the progression from the present event. The mind is caught in a loop of its own images. Continue reading

it doesn’t keep an eye on itself

 

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My Comment: Today is a day that finds me just drifting from one thing to the next like in a dream. At some point I felt how all is one moving swirl of activities and I am one center of perception among many. Yes, there is also at times the sense of these various centers being like options for the universal activity to look through, to feel through, like channels on the TV. This post then showed up and was comforting in a simple way: just allow the universal movement as I and then also as you to move in its own natural way, whatever that may entail at the moment. I believe most of this excerpt from Alan Watts’ “The Way of Zen” are statements by Linji, but when I made these notes I didn’t keep track of ‘who said what’ – and, after all, it doesn’t really matter.

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It (Zen) enters into everything wholeheartedly and freely without having to keep an eye on itself. It does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.

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the silence wipes the other out

The conditioning of the past breaks down

in the fullness of silence.

My Comment: This portion of “The Urgency of Change” by Krishnamurti leads us to the point where the churning of the mind subsides. He points to the dynamic of the mind imagining itself separate from its own movement as judgement, evaluation, liking, disliking etc. and how this movement of separating oneself from ‘what is’ perpetuates the past.

We can see how he is describing with other terms what in yoga is called ‘the modifications of the mind’ or in zen the ‘mind formations’. The Sanskrit term used is VRTTI. The endpoint of yoga is citta-vrtti-nirodha, which is when these mind modifications come to rest on their own because they implode due to their realization they lack any substance whatsoever. That is a longer topic of its own, but this excerpt below gives us some valuable pointers on how this dynamic plays out. Enjoy! Continue reading