Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
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    Zen and the Art of Begging Paid Member

    It is the day for takuhatsu in Olympia, this small city in the State of Washington. After zazen and morning ceremony, we eat a modest breakfast of oatmeal and tea and still feel hungry. This is good, as one should not go begging on a full stomach. The rain has held off, but it is misty, windless, and raw. Streets and alleys are full of puddles. Only students who have requested this opportunity are participating, and two are doing takuhatsu for the first time. There will just be four of us. We are not trying to create a spectacle; we are practicing a tradition of Zen that dates to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha and has been passed down with the begging bowl to the lineages of the present day. More »
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    Fosco Maraini Paid Member

    The abbess of Gioji Temple in her studio. During her youthful days she was a famous geisha. Kyoto, 1963 More »
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    Bones of the Master Paid Member

    In 1959 a young Ch'an monk named Tsung Tsai escapes the Red Army troops who destmy his monastery and flees from the edge of the Gobi Desert to Hong Kong Hunted, starving, and knowing that his fellow monks are dead, Tsung Tsai is borne up by his mission: to canyon the teachings of his elderly master, who remained in his mountain to cave high above the monastery. More »
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    The Ten Oxherding Pictures Paid Member

    The ten oxherding pictures describe the, Zen training path to enlightenment, Folk images are accompanied by poems and commentaries. They depict a young oxherder whose quest leads him to tame, train, and transform his heart and mind, a process that is represented by subduing the ox. Even though these images are presented in a sequence, MARTINE BATCHELOR cautions us against thinking that self-development and Zen practice go in a straight line; It is more like a spiral, and we go back to different stages but with more understanding. You can see these pictures adorning the walls of Zen temples in China, Korea, and Japan. The following commentary by Batchelor is adapted from her new book, Principles of Zen (Thorsons/HarperCollins). The short pieces at the beginning of each commentary are poetic verses by MASTER KUSAN, first printed in his book The Way of Korean Zen. More »
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    How to Not Waste Time Paid Member

    I hate the phrase “killing time.” No one has an overabundance of time here on this earth—the idea of killing any second of it just makes me cringe. In Zen monasteries you often see an old Chinese poem written on the han, the wooden board that’s hit to call people to meditation. It goes like this: Great is the matter of life and death Moments go by swiftly and are lost To squander time is a great shame Do not waste your life People have a great variety of definitions for what constitutes time wasting and what doesn’t. Some people want to stay busy and productive every minute. On the other hand, when asked what he thought was the purpose of life, Kurt Vonnegut said, “We’re all just farting around, and don’t let anyone tell you different.” But Kurt Vonnegut accomplished a lot in his time. More »
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    Breaking Through Paid Member

    Detours and obstacles are a fact of practice life. Some arise out of our own psychology and conditioning: patterns of self-judgment and perfectionism, a tendency to procrastinate or seek diversions, addiction to control, and the like. Other obstacles seem to be more universal, and these are the ones that nearly every practitioner faces at one time or another. These obstacles are at the heart of practice, yet they are seldom given the emphasis they deserve. But until we can see them clearly—see how they manifest in our lives—it will be difficult, if not impossible, for our practice to move forward. There are three obstacles in particular that we need to address. Misunderstanding the depth of waking sleep More »