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Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:18


The most critical point in practice is for us to be completely intimate with our experience. When we are, attachment, aversion, torpor restlessness and doubt do not arise.

But no matter how often we drop the cloak of the self we keep finding it's there again, draping our head, draping our body. Hence the practice is endless.

Sometimes it's us doing Zazen. Sometimes it's the whole Universe expressing itself through this body.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:22
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Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:25

Buddhism is not like a temple which, although we enter and leave, the temple remains.

Rather, it is like a real person.

When we come into the dojo to sit, he comes in with us. When we leave, he leaves.

Sometimes he is like an old man. Sometimes, he is like vast space. Sometimes a door. Sometimes a pillar.

Sometimes he is concealed in our heart. Sometimes, he is like dust falling through sunlight.



Last Updated on Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:26
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Thursday, 11 May 2017 09:14

In Uji, Dogen said that being is time.

'Time' isn’t quite right. Perhaps 'moment' is better. So beingmoment, momentbeing-

He has a wonderful image of a person going up into the mountains. And, from the top of the mountain, looking out and seeing an infinity of other peaks. Moments in this life, moments in all lives

The beauty and majesty of Dogen’s teaching is that the image is alive and infinitely faceted; from the perspective of the Mountains there is just this moment. The mountain is not hovering in mid air. Mountains are the waves of the great earth, they are part of this living ocean of earth. All these mountains. So in this moment Zazen Mountain, Birdsong Mountain, Buddha Mountain, Sky Mountain, Samsara Mountain. Mountain Mountain.

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Tuesday, 02 May 2017 11:09


We might think that the four vows are distinct.

The second vow is often rendered as:

'Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them'.

On hearing this, we might imagine our goal is to stop all this inconvenient feeling and thinking, and to live in a kind of spacious equanimity for ever.

This is completely mistaken. Our vow is to let everything flooding through and around this person from moment to moment fully live.

We do that by not appropriating this flood of experience to the self. We see this with the third vow, Dharma Gates are endless, I vow to enter them. In other words, Non duality.

The last vow is 'The Buddha Way unattainable, I vow to attain it'.

The first three vows are an expression of the Buddha Way. The Buddha Way expressed from moment to moment. Listen

Pay careful attention to the words. The Buddha way unattainable, I vow to attain it. But this way of non duality is ungraspable by the I, the source of duality.

The Buddha way is not a something in the distant future. It is Now.          Now.        


Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 11:14
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Friday, 28 April 2017 18:14

The first of the four bodhisattva vows that we chant after sitting is usually rendered as 'beings are numberless I vow to save them'. We sometimes abbreviate this to 'save all beings'.

What does this mean?

With Buddhism in India, the original emphasis was on personal salvation. When Buddhism fruitfully collided with Chinese culture, the emphasis changed to universal salvation. The pivotal person became the bodhisattva, the person who would save all beings. Hence the vow.

It fits in with a broader idea in Chinese culture of heroic, beneficent figures.

But I wonder if, in our age of rampant individualism, and consequent spiritual materialism, if the usual translation is helpful for us? Perhaps it would be better for us to say - although the grammar is problematic - Being numberless I vow to save (it).

Being rather than beings.

And Being 'being' numberless in two senses. Numberless because this full dynamic functioning (Zenki/ dependent origination) is infinitely faceted: me, you, the walls and the doors, the trees and the birds and the stars and so on. And numberless also because there's only this wholeness: there isn't one or two or three or four.

How do we save all Being? By not burying (it) underneath the self. 

So not an infinite number of beings to save over an infinite length of time, but an infinite number of moments, and always this moment, this moment of practice, in each of which everything can fully live.


Last Updated on Friday, 28 April 2017 18:18
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