Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
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    Asking to Exhaustion Paid Member

    People ask, “How can I deepen the teacher-student relationship?” It is like asking “How can I love you?” Is there a book of instructions on how to love? Does the baby get taught how to love its mother, the flowers, the earth, and the rain? In Zen training we say, “Really put yourself into it,” but what does that mean? It means to take refuge and to be protected by the Three Treasures. What are the Three Treasures? We chant, “Being one with the Buddha, being one with the Dharma, being one with the Sangha.” Those are the Three Treasures, but what does it mean to “be one with”? This is what we need to see, to realize clearly and personally. More »
  • The Finger Bone Path of Angulimala Paid Member

    One morning when the Buddha entered Savatthi, all doors were bolted shut. No one was on the streets. The Buddha stood in front of a home where he normally received food offerings. The door opened a crack, and the owner hastily ran out and invited him to enter. Once inside, the owner latched the door and suggested that the Buddha remain to eat his meal inside the house. He said, "Lord, it is very dangerous to go outdoors today. The murderer Angulimala has been seen in these parts. They say he has killed many people in other cities. Every time he kills someone, he cuts off one of their fingers and adds it to a string he wears around his neck. They say that once he has killed a hundred people and has a talisman of a hundred fingers hanging around his neck, he will gain even more terrible, evil powers. More »
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    The Snaggletoothed Barbarian Paid Member

    Zen lineages all begin with Bodhidharma, the mythic first ancestor of Zen, who came to China from India, and who, by inaugurating Zen, also transmitted the true teaching beyond words that begins with Shakyamuni Buddha. For years I felt irritated by Bodhidharma; he glares out of innumerable portraits with a thick odor of machismo clinging to his robes. Image after image offers up a pair of round, bulging eyes popping out between beetling eyebrows and a bulbous nose, the face framed by immense pendulous ears and an untrimmed beard. He is a solid, bull-necked figure, muscular running to fat—a dharma linebacker. More »
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    The Principles of Zazen Paid Member

    The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammelled. What need is there for man's concentrated effort? Indeed, the Whole Body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice? More »
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    Raven's Edge Paid Member

    IN MEDITATION PRACTICE, as in the garden, often the best learning happens at the edge of what you know, where the sorceress hills at the back of your brain go stone dark and you push through onto new ground. “Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite beyond it,” observed the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson of the garden. This is the landscape I happened upon this winter, standing in the last Green Gulch field before the ocean, when a flock of ravens dismantled my notion of what it takes to make a garden. More »
  • Ambivalent Zen Paid Member

    Roshi wears his Yankee cap to breakfast, doesn’t remove it even after we sit down. He has a large collection of hats, but he has worn this one exclusively since I bought it for him last week at Yankee Stadium. Slightly self-conscious about his shaved head, he never goes out without a hat, but the Yankee cap has the added advantage of making him look, if not like an American, at least at home in the culture. Like any Zen master, he aims to walk the streets as if invisible, attract no attention, leave no trace of himself in anyone’s mind. The robes he wears in the zendo are seldom worn outside it. He favors flannel shirts and khaki pants, Saucony running shoes, a Yankee jacket in the fall and, when the weather turns, a parka and a black woolen watch cap purchased through the L. L. Bean catalogue. In addition to hats, he collects watches and seems to wear a different one every day. More »