insights

  • Tricycle Community 18 comments

    Simply Stop Paid Member

    “As I see it, there isn’t so much to do. Just be ordinary—put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing.” —Master Linji, Teaching 18 IN MASTER LINJI’S TIME, some Buddhist terms were used so often they became meaningless. People chewed on terms like “liberation” and “enlightenment” until they lost their power. It’s no different today. People use words that tire our ears. We hear the words “freedom” and “security” on talk radio, television, and in the newspaper so often that they’ve lost their effectiveness or their meaning has been distorted. When words are overused, even the most beautiful words can lose their true meaning. For example, the word “love” is a wonderful word. When we like to eat hamburger, we say, “I love hamburger.” So what’s left for the meaning of the word “love”? More »
  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    Think Not Thinking Paid Member

    People who are new to Zen practice have all kinds of weird ideas about the state of nonthinking. Some people envision it as some kind of trippy spaced-out sorta thing. I’ve even heard the term mushiryo (“not-thinking”) consciousness thrown around as if it was some way-cool and mysterious altered state. Some folks are even scared by the idea. But it ain’t like that, folks. In fact, it feels real nice to stop thinking. And it’s not nearly as difficult as people want to make it seem. You just kind of think not thinking. More »
  • Tricycle Community 15 comments

    Searching for Self Paid Member

    Holding to an ordinary notion of self, or ego, is the source of all our pain and confusion. The irony is that when we look for this "self" that we're cherishing and protecting, we can't even find it. The self is shifty and ungraspable. When we say "I'm old," we're referring to our body as self. When we say "my body," the self becomes the owner of the body. When we say "I'm tired," the self is equated with physical or emotional feelings. The self is our perceptions when we say "I see," and our thoughts when we say "I think." When we can't find a self within or outside of these parts, we may then conclude that the self is that which is aware of all of these things—the knower or mind. More »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    The Zen of Confidence Paid Member

    My hope is that all practitioners of the Way completely believe in their true self. You should neither lack confidence nor give rise to pride.Mind is fundamentally equal and the same, and thus there is no real distinction between "ordinary people" and "sages." Nevertheless there are, in reality, those who wander in darkness and those who have been awakened to their true nature, thus distinguishing "ordinary people" from "sages." Following the instruction of a teacher, a practitioner may attain, in an instant, his true self, thereby realizing that he is ultimately no different from the Buddha. Hence it is said, "Originally, there is nothing," which means simply that one must not underestimate oneself, and lack confidence. This is the teaching of "sudden enlightenment." More »
  • Tricycle Community 18 comments

    Selective Wisdom Paid Member

    For most of us born in the Western world, remote from Buddhism of any institutional kind, knowledge of the dhamma has come entirely from books and, occasionally, spoken words, some quite excellent and informative, certainly. But this kind of learning still retains a somewhat ethereal air in the absence of actions, traditions, and spiritual observances in which we can participate. That the Buddhist religion has survived so long in the world is a result not so much of the durability of manuscripts as of the power of ideas embodied in custom; and custom, for all our abundant sources of information, is what we lack and cannot in the long run do without. Books crumble easily enough; thought crumbles faster, if not made firm by some sort of concrete practice that holds together believers and sees to the transmission of the teaching to the young. More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    The Zen of Confidence Paid Member

    For many Korean Zen practitioners, Chinese Zen master So Sahn’s compendium of teachings The Mirror of Zen is second in importance only to the Buddha’s teachings. Here, he comments on importance and risk of self-confidence. More »