Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Sometimes we say "We're on the same wavelength" when meeting or talking to somebody.  Others sometimes are on a totally different wavelength.
To practice understanding, acceptance and compassion to all involves a harmony of wavelengths on all levels.  How can one do this?  Perhaps with mindfulness, understanding, and unbiased opinion, or abolishing ego.  I know in posts past I have gone on about "ego."  But this is really what drags us down as humans.  We put ourselves first and cling to the idea that "I am" or "I need."  

So what if we could be on the wavelength of anybody?  I personally am trying to do this myself, trying to judge others less, and accept people.  Of course there are people I don't want to be involved in my personal life, and I have made measures to do so.  I don't believe this to be hypocritical, there are just people out there who may have a negative influence on you or people who are holding you back from what you believe is your potential. Though, to understand life and this "whole" we need to understand everybody and everything without exception.  

In short, it's important to have a wavelength or form of understanding to give compassion and acceptance to all beings.  Also it is very important to realize the influence and affect we all have on each other.

In Gassho.  _/\_

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nothing Special

What is it to be special?  Being held in high or low regard?  To be unique to all others?  In Reality, what is truly the difference between wealthy or poor; respected or ignored; sacred or mundane, wise or lame of mind?

All of the above are relative.  What I mean is that you can't have one without the other.  And why do these opposites exist?  Ego.  The sense of self, the idea of disconnection from the All. It is only applying form to that which in truth is actually formless or empty.

Too often we get caught up in the ideas and beliefs of what is right vs wrong, beautiful vs ugly, dark vs light, etc. But Buddhism and Zen is about seeing things for what they are before these ideas, or what we could even call labels.  Absolute Reality doesn't depend on opposites/relativity/opinions.  The universe will inevitably continue to unfold itself regardless of what happens or what we may hold as valuable.  As sobering as it may be, the earth will continue to spin after encounter the end of you life, and people will forget about you time to time.

One of the purposes of Zen is to live in the moment and approach each moment to it's fullest and deepest meaning.  A homeless person can penetrate this moment just as well as a billionaire. A plastic representation of a "holy" figure can have just as much value as one made of gold. It is never about who or what you are, but how you approach life in its completeness in this moment.  Just to be awakened is the point.  To see through the delusion of thought that opposites exist in the mind but not in Reality.

In conclusion nothing is ugly or beautiful, good or evil, sacred or mundane, light or dark, etc.  These are all ideas (delusion) which conflict with true reality.  Nothing is special or lame, everything just is.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pushing Against the Tide

One of the biggest roots of suffering is feeding our ego or self this belief that we can have Reality the way we want it.  Things don't happen in our favor when we believe they should, or we feel the universe is against us.

There was a ninth century Zen teacher from China named Kuei-shan and his student Yang-shan.  The student asked his teacher, "When the ten thousand things come up to you, what should you do?"  Kuei-shan responded, "Green is not yellow; long is not short.  Each thing manages its own; why should I interfere?"

What control do we truly have over Reality?  The answer is none.  Thinking that we can have things our way is like pushing against the tides when the water will just go around you anyway.  But do not think things are predetermined as destiny.  Things may go in favor for a while, but invariably can change in an instant because everything is constantly changing.

Also this isn't telling you to "just sit back and take it."  We can accommodate to the situations that rise up in our lives by approaching them wisely and in a calm manner.  As my teacher always says, "We just need to rise to the moment."  Face whatever comes your way, from a flat tire to losing a loved one.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back To Society

After spending a four to five month stint in the nether regions of Iowa working at the monastery, I'm back and I'm going to be posting more often. (I know I've said that many times before, but I do always return ;) ).
Some serious food for thought is included in the link below. Enjoy, and see you soon. Gassho.

The Universe in Prospective (interactive)
(be sure you scroll the bar all the way to the left to begin)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tiding Over

I've been quite busy lately, i.e. unable to post a meaningful entry, so to tide you over I have decided to share this video I stumbled upon to keep your mind flowing.  There are many metaphors and parallels to many Buddhist teachings included.  Enjoy

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mountains Walk

In Dogen's "Mountains and Waters Sutra" (Sansui-kyo), he states, "Mountains' walking is just like human walking...if you doubt mountains' walking, you do not know your own walking; it is not that you do not walk, but that you do not know or understand your own walking."

I have put this into practice and realized it's universal with all activities.  When we say "I" am walking, it's not just me walking.  The ground is also walking with us.  If there were no ground, how could walking take place?  The same goes for virtually any activity.  "I" don't shovel snow; the shovel, snow and myself shovel snow.  Even for driving, "You" don't drive; the car, the road, and yourself drive.

Having put this into practice, I have experienced a deeper connection with everything I do.  I've found it can be done with everything I do including cooking, dish-washing, painting, etc.  This is a great practice in mindfulness.  You become one with everything you are doing while realizing this, which Katagiri Roshi himself explains this topic in his book Each Moment is the Universe, and calls it "The great enlightenment."

This is also a great example of why Zen is considered "practice-realization."  We don't have to wait for enlightenment, it happens all the time if we put into practice the teachings and see the world from what some call "Big Mind" or "Universal Mind."

I highly recommend practicing the "Mountains walk" frame of mind.

In Gassho.

Friday, January 13, 2012


One of the vows for Lay Persons and Monks alike is, "..to not indulge in intoxicants."  Typically this is considered for mind altering substances like drugs and alcohol.  But what about other things in life which seem to "intoxicate" us?

The basis of the vow is that intoxicants cloud our minds so that we don't see the true reality which Buddha teaches us about.  Also the side-affects of these can lead to our mishaps, and can affect the lives of others.

As far as clouding the mind, I believe we as humans have many things which cloud our minds, not just drugs and alcohol.  Namely things such as ignorance, greed, desire, and anger just to mention a few.

We can get our minds in so deep into some of these that it really does intoxicate us, altering our minds just like a controlled substance.  We are unable to think clearly, see truth, and see things as they really are.  Not only that, but the side-affects can hurt others and affect their lives in negative ways as well.

By being mindful of our thoughts and emotions we can better control these impulses, recognize them and deal with them by more skillful means.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Marrow of the Bone

What is spirituality or religion?  What is life?  By seeing the two as separate things, we create a dualistic view and feel one is separate from another.

As Katagiri Roshi puts it,
down to the marrow of your bones.
True practice, as defined by many masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Katagiri Roshi, and Dogen Zenji, is total unification of the both.  In other words life is spirituality, and spirituality is life.  This is living a true spiritual life.

This idea isn't just for monks and priests, but for anybody who claims  they are spiritual, Buddhist, Christian, etc.  Pardon my words, but what is the point of a half-ass practice?

To see the true rewards of practice, this is what must be done; a complete unifying of life and practice.  The Buddha and all Bodhisattvas were only human and they were able to do this.  Saints of other practices have also realized this.

What are ways we as Buddhists can achieve this?  A continuation of practice.  Zazen/meditation, daily sutras and chanting, and living mindfully.  I believe this is also one of the reasons that there is The Noble Eightfold Path.  Of course it may not happen immediately if you are new to Buddhism, but always keep the words of the teachers and masters who have said the same thing as I have here and you will surely be able to live a truly spiritual-life.

In Gassho