Daily Archives: July 25, 2017


Sangha notes for 7-24-17

Greg read a passage from Cultivating the Empty Field, The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi:
“Contemplating your own authentic form is how to contemplate Buddha. If you can experience yourself without distractions, simply surpass partiality and go beyond conceptualizing. All buddhas and all minds reach the essential without duality. Patch-robed monks silently wander and tranquilly dwell in the empty spirit…. Dignified without relying on others and radiant beyond doubt, maintaining this as primary, the energy turns around and transforms all estrangement.”


Sangha notes for 7-17-17

Steve shared a reading from Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron:
“When the bottom is falling out we might suddenly recall the slogan, ‘If you practice even when distracted, you are well-trained.’ If we can practice when we’re jealous, resentful, scornful, when we hate ourselves, then we are well-trained. Again, practice means not continuing to strengthen the habitual patterns that keep us trapped; doing anything we can to shake up and ventilate our self-justification and blame. We do our best to stay with the strong energy without acting out or repressing. In so doing, our habits become more porous.
Our patterns are, of course, well-established, seductive, and comforting. Just wishing for them to be ventilated isn’t enough. Mindfulness and awareness are key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is part of our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but know that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.”


Sangha notes for 7-10-17

Greg shared a reading from No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong:
“Stepping back, or the backward step, is an interesting phrase…Dogen points the way when he says that we take the backward step when we turn our thinking mind, with the light of awareness, on our own mind source.
In our meditation practice it is very important not to get lost entertaining the thinking mind, because the activity and capacity of the thinking mind is endless. If you give it all of your attention, it will take your life. It’s the same for each and every one of us: the more attention you give it, the stronger it becomes. And the more you try not to entertain it, the more you confirm its presence. Either way, it’s got you. The antidote is really a very simple thing; instead of putting all the emphasis on your small mind, put the emphasis on the Big Mind. ‘Cultivate your Big Mind,’ as Suzuki-roshi said. And so in zazen the backward step is taken when you turn your light of awareness inward like a mirror on your mind source.”