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, " 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