Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dozan Fujiwara

My Manifesto

I do not believe in self-delusion, self-deception, or wishful thinking.

I would rather think than believe. I will think before I believe. I may, and probably will, make errors. As a thinker I can correct an error. As a believer an error can not exist.


The cause of happiness is rare,
And many are the seeds of suffering!
But if I have no pain, I'll never long for freedom;
Therefore, O my mind, be steadfast!

---The Way of the Bodhisattva 6:12---

Perfect This Moment

In the stillness by the empty window
I sit in formal meditation wearing my monk's surplice.
Navel and nose in alignment,
Ears parallel with the shoulders.
Moonlight folds the room;
The rain stops but the eaves drip and drip.
Perfect this moment--
In the vast emptiness, my understanding deepens.



We should not merely expend all our energy collecting pieces of information, but make an effort to experience their validity through insight in our daily life.

---Geshe Rabten---

Small Experiences of Calm

We cannot hope to attain our goal of universal and complete happiness by systematically making ourselves more and more miserable. This is contrary to the way things actually work. It is only by cultivating small experiences of calm and satisfaction now that we will be able to achieve our ultimate goal of peace and tranquility in the future.

---Lama Thubten Yeshe---

Would It Be Right to Say There is No Buddha?

"Have you or your teachers seen the Buddha?"

"No, great king."

"Then Nagasena, there is no Buddha."

"Have you or your father seen the River Uha in the Himalayas?"

"No venerable sir."

"Then would it be right to say there is no river Uha?"

"You are dexterous, Nagasena, in reply."

---The Milinda Panha (The Debate of King Milinda)---

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hui-neng's Last Words

Good-by, all of you. I shall depart from you now. After I am gone, do not weep worldly tears, nor accept condolences, money, and silks from people, nor wear mourning garments. If you did so it would not accord with the sacred Dharma, nor would you be true disciples of mine. Be the same as you would if I were here, and sit all together in meditation. If you are only peacefully calm and quiet, without motion, without stillness, without birth, without destruction, without coming, without going, without judgments of right and wrong, without staying and without going--this then is the Great Way. After I have gone just practice according to the Dharma in the same way that you did on the days that I was with you. Even though I were still to be in this world, if you went against the teachings, there would be no use in my having stayed here.

Where Are We to Seek Buddha?

Deluded, a Buddha is a sentient being;
Awakened, a sentient being is a Buddha.
Ignorant, a Buddha is a sentient being;
With wisdom, a sentient being is a Buddha.
If the mind is warped, a Buddha is a sentient being;
If the mind is impartial, a sentient being is a Buddha.
When once a warped mind is produced,
Buddha is concealed within the sentient being.
If for one instant of thought we become impartial,
Then sentient beings are themselves Buddha.
In our mind itself a Buddha exists,
Our own Buddha is the true Buddha.
If we do not have in ourselves the Buddha mind,
Then where are we to seek Buddha?

---The Platform Sutra---

Schools of Buddhism: Vajrayana

Vajrayana (Sanskrit, diamond vehicle). A late Indian term used to designate the path (yana) of tantric Buddhism. The name is derived from the image of the thunderbolt (vajra) which was used to symbolize the imperishable nature of enlightenment (bodhi), the indivisibility of appearances and emptiness (sunyata) or of compassion (kuruna) and insight (prajna).

---A Dictionary of Buddhism, by Damien Keown---

Avatamsaka Sutra

According to Hua-yen [a major school of Chinese Buddhism] the sutra's primary goal is to show the reader how the world appears to a completely enlightened Buddha or advanced Bodhisattva. It presents a universe conceived as empty of inherent existence and as arising and fading away each moment in response to the activities of mind. The Buddha, realizing that all reality arises in dependence on mind, and having perfect control of his mind through his meditation, is able to produce effects at any distance which may appear to unenlightened beings as magic, but which to him simply manifest reality as it is--mind-made. His transformations are not different in quality from those worked by ordinary beings as they pass from life to life; the crucial difference is that the Buddha is aware of the process and can control it. This places the Buddha in a universe lacking disparate objects with solid boundaries between them. Instead, he sees a constant flow and flux in the basic transformation of mind.

---A Dictionary of Buddhism, by Damien Keown---

A Natural Process

The more we reflect on old age and death, the more we see it as a natural process. It is nothing extraordinary. If we prepare ourselves in this way, then when such events actually happen, the work of accepting them as a very normal part of our life is already done. We can simply think, "Now is the period where my life's end is coming." I think that is a better approach.

---His Holiness the Dalai Lama---

Dejection Never Brings Me What I Want

So come what may, I'll not upset
My cheerful happiness of mind.
Dejection never brings me what I want;
My virture will be warped and marred by it.

If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

---The Way of the Bodhisattva 6:9-10---

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Mist

Body impermanent like spring mist,
mind insubstantial like empty sky;
thoughts unestablished like breezes in space.
Think about these three points over and over.

---Adept Godrakpa---

Polishing the Diamond

Buddha is no longer Buddha when you enclose him in your mind--Buddha become only your mind's discriminative notion.

---Jae Woong Kim---

Two Poems for My Friend Bosai

Yes, I'm truly a dunce
Living among trees and plants.
Please don't question me about illusion and
This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.
I wade across streams with bony legs,
And carry a bag about in fine spring weather.
That's my life,
And the world owes me nothing.

The gaudy beauty of this world has no attraction
.........for me--
My closest friends are mountains and rivers,
Clouds swallow up my shadow as I walk along,
When I sit on cliffs, birds soar overhead.
Wearing snowy straw sandals, I visit cold villages.
Go as deep as you can into life,
And you will be able to let go of even blossoms.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Free From Birth and Death

A wave on the ocean has a beginning and an end, a birth and a death. But Avalokiteshvara tells us that the wave is empty. The wave is full of water, but it is empty of a separate self. A wave is a form that has been made possible, thanks to the existence of wind and water. If a wave only sees its form, with its beginning and end, it will be afraid of birth and death. But if the wave sees that it is water and identifies itself with the water, then it will be emancipated from birth and death. Each wave is born and is going to die, but the water is free from birth and death.

---The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra, by Thich Nhat Hanh---


How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?”

Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.”

A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.

---Carl Sagan---

An Art

Buddhism is better understood as a skill or an art to be practiced and perfected rather than as information or knowledge to be learned or amassed.

---The Heart Sutra: Translation and Commentary by Red Pine---

Tofu Has No Wings

Ryokan once borrowed a copy of the ancient Buddhist commentary Abhidharma Kosha from the Man'en Temple in Izumosaki. When he returned it, he brought blocks of tofu with a poem:

Geese and ducks
have flown away,
abandoning me.
How happy I am that
tofu has no wings!

---Kazuaki Tanahashi---

Can They Suffer?

Grounded exclusively in lovingkindness and compassion, Buddhist ethics protect all who need protection, which is to say, all beings able to suffer, regardless of their rationality, intelligence, use of language and tools, self-awareness, or any other extraneous factor. Buddhism has recognized from its inception what Enlightenment philosopher Jeremy Bentham said in 1789. "What else is it that should trace the insuperable line [between beings who are entitled to ethical treatment and those who are not]? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, a week, or even a month old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can the talk? but Can they suffer?"

As with Bentham, so with Buddhism. In an ethic based on compassion, there is only one relevant question, "Can they suffer?" Issues of reason, language, and the like are beside the point.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

The Wolf and the Lamb

A wolf, meeting a lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea, which should justify to the lamb himself, his right to eat him.

He said to the lamb, “Last year you grossly insulted me.”

“Indeed,” bleated the lamb in a mournful voice, “I was not yet born.”

“You feed in my pasture,” said the wolf.

“No, good sir,” replied the lamb. “I have not yet tasted grass.”

Again the wolf said, “You drink from my well.”

“No,” exclaimed the lamb. “I have never yet drank water. My mother's milk is still both food and drink to me.

Upon that the wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won't remain supper-less, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”

The Moral:
The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice when the oppressor intends to be unjust.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Be A Happy Human Being

The artword is Flower and Butterfly by Rae Chichilnitsky

Share your love, your wisdom, and your wealth and serve each other as much as possible. Live in harmony with one another and be an example of piece, love, compassion, and wisdom. Try to be happy in your practice, to be satisfied with your life. Be reasonable in the way you grow, and don't ever think that it is too late. And don't be afraid of death. Even if you are going to die tomorrow, at least for today keep yourself straight and clean-clear, and be a happy human being.

---Lama Thibten Yeshe---

The Second Mindfulness Training: Nonattachment to Views

Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrowminded and bound to present views. We shall learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to others' insights and experiences. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

---The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings---

What Is Reborn?

"What is it, Nagasena, that is reborn?"

"Mind and matter."

"Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?"

"No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released of its previous deeds."

"Give me an illustration."

"It is like a fire that a man might kindle and, having warmed himself, he might leave it burning and go away. Then if that fire were to set light to another man's field and the owner were to seize him and accuse him before the king, and he were to say, 'Your majesty, I did not set this man's field on fire. The fire that I left burning was different to that which burnt his field. I am not guilty'. Would he deserve punishment?"

"Indeed, yes, because whatever he might say the latter fire resulted from the former one."

"Just so, O king, by this mind and matter deeds are done and because of those deeds another mind and matter is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released from the results of its previous deeds."

---The Milinda Panha (The Debate of King Milinda)---


"Will you, Nagasena, be reborn?"

"What is the use of asking that question again? Have I not already told you that if I die with attachment in my mind I shall be reborn, if not I shall not."

---The Milinda Panha (The Debate of King Milinda)---

Mung Bean Sprout Salad

2/3 pound of mung bean sprouts
1 teaspoon of salt
½ cup of water
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
½ knob of ginger root, grated
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds

Clean the mung beans sprouts.

Add the salt to the water and bring to the boil. Scald the sprouts in the water. Drain.

Mix the scaled sprouts with sesame oil and the grated ginger. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Add more salt if desired.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Matter of Expediency

The verbal teachings of Buddhas and Zen masters that have come down from the past are like bits of title used to knock on a door; it is a matter of expediency that we use them as entrances into truth.

For some years now, students have not been getting to the root of the aim of Zen, instead taking the verbal teachings of Buddhas and Zen masters to be the ultimate rule. That is like ignoring a hundred thousand pure clear oceans and only focusing attention on a single bubble.


Russian Guitar

Act on Reality

In learning this path, it is only important to walk on the real ground, to act on the basis of reality.


The Four Noble Abodes

Also named the Brahma Vihara, the Abode of Brahma, the Divine Abodes, the Pure Abodes, and the Immeasurable States.

1...Loving Kindness


3...Altruistic (Sympathetic) Joy


Loving Kindness is the wish for the welfare and happiness of All Beings.

Compassion is the feeling of empathy for all those afflicted with Dukkha*.

Altruistic or Sympathetic Joy is the feeling of happiness at the success and good fortune of Others.

Equanimity is a balanced reaction to joy and misery, good fortune and bad, which protects one from emotional agitation.

*The Buddha said, “Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, sickness is dukkha, death is dukkha, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair are dukkha, association with the unloved or unpleasant condition is dukkha, separation from the beloved or pleasant condition is dukkha, not to get what one wants is dukkha.”

Spirituality Should Be Based on Reality, Not Fantasy or Desire


To Die Without Ever Living

Tao Proverb

When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance.


Dukkha (Pali) (Sanskrit: duhkha) According to grammatical tradition derived from dus-kha "uneasy". But, perhaps derived from dus-stha "unsteady, disquieted."

It is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration.

It is perhaps amusing to note the etymology of the words sukha (pleasure, comfort, bliss) and duḥkha (misery, unhappiness, pain). The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning "sky," "ether," or "space," was originally the word for "hole," particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan's vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, "having a good axle hole," while duhkha meant "having a poor axle hole," leading to discomfort.

In classic Sanskrit, the term duḥkha was often compared to a large potter's wheel that would screech as it was spun around, and did not turn smoothly. The opposite of dukkha was the term sukha which brought to mind a potter's wheel that turned smoothly and noiselessly.

In other Buddhist-influenced cultures, similar imagery was used to describe dukkha. An example from China is the cart with one wheel that is slightly broken, so that the rider is jolted each time the wheel rolls over the broken spot.

In modern North America, dukkha may be compared to the wheel of a shopping cart that does not turn or wobbles wildly.

Although dukkha is often translated as "suffering", its philosophical meaning is more analogous to "disquietude" as in the condition of being disturbed. As such, "suffering" is too narrow a translation with negative emotional connotations which can give the impression that the Buddhist view is one of pessimism, but Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but realistic. Thus in English-language Buddhist literature dukkha is often left untranslated, so as to encompass its full range of meaning.

The Buddha described Dukkha: “This, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of Dukkha: Birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, sickness is dukkha, death is dukkha. Presence of objects we loathed is dukkha; separation from what we love is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.”

Still Water

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

---Tao Proverb---

Buddhist Fundamentalism

Rather than a theologian or a systems thinker, the Buddha was a liberator, a spiritually attained practitioner and teacher of the path to Nirvana -- freedom from hate, delusion, and fear.

His goal was to help as many beings as possible live in equanimity, harmony, and loving-kindness. He was against all belief systems -- a position that confounded many of his contemporaries, and that still puzzles people today who want to understand what “ism,” what philosophy, he propounded.

Many people still yearn to find in his words some “Buddhist fundamentalism” by which they can anchor ideological convictions and security against the turmoil of life.

A Drop of Water

Within the Seon tradition we have a meditation-meal practice. At the end of the meal we rinse our bowls with a little water and then drink it. This practice, among other things, teaches us to be respectful of the Earth and of those who grew the food and brought it to us. The practice teaches us not to waste any food. On a planet where over seven thousand children die every day from a lack of food, this practice is very important. Respect. Do not waste your food. Even if you are very wealth, do not waste your food. Respect

The practice brings to mind the following old story:

A Zen master named Gisan asked a young student to bring him a pail of water to cool his bath.

The student brought the water and, after cooling the bath, threw on to the ground the little that was left over.

"You dunce!" the master scolded him. "Why didn't you give the rest of the water to the plants? What right have you to waste even a drop of water in this temple?"

The young student attained Awakening in that instant.

He changed his name to Tekisui, which means a drop of water.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Buddhism and Social Action

Are You A God?

A Brahman named Dona once asked the Buddha, "Are you a god?"

"I'm not a god, Brahman," the Buddha answered.

"Are you a saint?" Dona asked.

"I'm not a saint, Dona," the Buddha answered.

"Are you an angel?" Dona asked.

"I'm not an angel, Dona," the Buddha answered.

"Are you a magician?" Dona asked.

"No, Dona, I'm not a magician," the Buddha answered.

"Are you a man?" Dona asked.

"No, I am not a man," the Buddha answered.

"What are you?" Dona asked.

"I'm awake," the Buddha answered.

The Buddha and the Brahman

A Brahman saw the Buddha meditating by a river. He approached the Buddha and asked him a question.

"What caste are you?" the Brahman asked.

"Caste is irrelevant," the Buddha answered.

"How so," asked the Brahman. "Surely you would agree that Brahman and royalty are of considerable worth whereas peasants and commoners are not?"

"Caste and riches matter not," replied the Buddha, "it is one's conduct that matters."

"How so," asked the Brahman.

"As fire comes from any type of wood so can a wise person come from any caste. It is through the knowing of truth that one becomes noble not through caste. The noble one is the one that doesn't cling to unworthy attachments. The noble one realizes the true way that things are, he no longer thinks of himself as a self and thus has gained clarity."

"You are truly wise," said the Brahman.

Our Vision

We tend to judge others by their behavior and ourselves by our intentions.

---Albert Schlieder---

Crazy Monk

Torn and tattered, torn and tattered,
Torn and tattered is this life.
Food? I collect it from the roadside.
The shrubs and bushes have long overrun my hut.
Often the moon and I sit together all night,
And more than once I lost myself among wildflowers,
........forgetting to return home.
No wonder I finally left the community life:
How could such a crazy monk live in a temple?


The Noblest Victor

Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself.

---Dhammapada 103---

Financial Advice to Sigala

Sometimes the Buddha even went into details about saving money and spending it, as, for instance, when he told the young man Sigala that he should spend one fourth of his income on his daily expenses, invest half in his business and put aside one fourth for any emergency.

---What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula---

The Question of Buddhist Idols

But I have heard people say that Buddhists worship idols.

Such statements only reflect the misunderstanding of the persons who make them. The dictionary defines an idol as 'an image or statue worshipped as a god.' As we have seen, Buddhists do not believe that the Buddha was a god, so how could they possible believe that a piece of wood or metal is a god? All religions use symbols to represent their various beliefs.

In Taoism, the ying-yang diagram is used to symbolize the harmony between opposites. In Sikhism, the sword is used to symbolize spiritual struggle. In Christianity, the fish is used to symbolize Christ's presence and a cross to represent his sacrifice. In Buddhism, the statue of the Buddha reminds us of the human dimension in Buddhist teaching, the fact that Buddhism is human-centered rather than god-centered, that we must look within, not without to find perfection and understanding. Therefore, to say that Buddhists worship idols is as silly as saying that Christians worship fish or geometrical shapes.

---Good Question Good Answer, by S. Dhammika---

One Little Kid

I refuse to seek refuge in the Three Jewels.
As I was walking along
I met one little kid
got fascinated by its innocennce.
How useless are candles and things
.............incense and things.
Oh dear! the dragonfly's got away.

---Ko Un---

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The First Mindfulness Training: Openness

Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.

---The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings---

To Shelter the Poor

The ink-dyed
sleeves of my robe--
if only they were broad enough
to shelter
the poor.


Thyme and Porcini Lasagnas

4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and diced
Rosemary to taste, chopped
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of mushroom broth
3 fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
Thyme leaves to taste
16 sheets of dry lasagna pasta

Heat the oil in saucepan. Add the shallot and saute.

Add the potatoes, the rosemary, the salt and pepper and the broth. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 7 minutes or until the potato is tender.

Add the mushrooms and the thyme.

Bring a large pot of salt water to the boil. Add the lasagna pasta and cook until al dente.

Form individual lasagnas on each plate by alternating layers of pasta and potato-mushroom sauce.

Serve immediately.

The Family of Life

Buddhism groups animals with human beings. Western thought has tended to lump them in with trees and rocks.

---The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights, by Norm Phelps---

The Buddha's Teaching

The Buddha’s teachings are deeply rooted in the everyday lives of ordinary people. The Buddha's teachings focus on the realistic views that people can adopt them as guidance for their life. The Buddha always emphasized that his teachings pertain to the people, and they are not just scholastic teachings. The Buddha's ultimate aim was for his teaching to bring happiness and prosperity to all beings.

The Cessation of Cause and Condition

"Is the man who will not be reborn aware of the fact?"

"Yes, O king."

"How does he know it?"

"By the cessation of all that is cause or condition of rebirth. As a farmer who does not plough or sow or reap would know that his granary is not getting filled up."

---The Milinda Panha (The Debate of King Milinda)---