Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    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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    Daughters of the Wind Paid Member

    EVERY YEAR around the spring equinox, the prevailing westerly winds begin to gust, battering the California coast just a scant half-mile from Green Gulch Farm. These westerlies are a swollen river of air moving across the face of the Pacific, blowing shoreline sand into long drifts and heaving spindrift spume against the dark bulk of the March headlands. 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 »
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    Of Samurai and Sisterhood Paid Member

    Alexis: Many of us came into Buddhism at the same time that we came into feminism, at least the three of us, and so we were wondering for you, how these two isms, Buddhism and feminism, are complementary and how are they contradictory? I find them complementary, and it’s probably because my personal and academic interests in feminism have been about the self and the formation of gender. I teach a course called “The Construction and Deconstruction of Gender,” which almost sounds like a course on Buddhism—in both cases it seems to me that the practice is about letting go of the labels and identities that limit us. I’m not sure I have ever found feminism and Buddhism in conflict. Because I see any feminist issue—like any issue ever, anywhere in the universe—as a Zen issue. More »
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    The Lady and the Monk Paid Member

    One reason I had always been interested in Zen was my sense that for people like myself, trained in abstraction, Zen could serve as the ideal tonic. For Zen, as I understood it, was about slicing with a clean sword through all the Gordian knots invented by the mind, plunging through all specious dualities—East and West, here and there, coming and going—to get to some core so urgent that its truth could not be doubted. The best lesson Zen could teach—though it was, of course, something of a paradox to say or even think it—was to go beyond a kind of thinking that was nothing more than agonizing, and simply act. In that sense, Zen reminded me of Johnson's famous refutation of Berkeley by kicking a stone. It was unanswerable as pain. More »