Sangha notes for 12-19-16

Steve quoted from the doctrine of Huang-po in The Way of Zen by Alan Watts:
“If it is held that there is something to be realized or attained apart from mind, and thereupon,
mind is used to seek it, [that implies] failure to understand that mind and the object of its search are one.
Mind cannot be used to seek something from mind for, even after the passage of millions of kalpas,
the day of success would never come.”

Sangha notes for 12-12-16

A few words from Shen-hui as quoted in The Way of Zen by Alan Watts:
“If we speak of working with the mind, does this working consist of activity or inactivity of the mind? If it is inactivity, we should be no different from vulgar fools. But if you say that it is activity, it is then in the realm of grasping and we are bound up by the passions. What way should we have then of gaining deliverance? The sravakas cultivate emptiness, dwell in emptiness and are bound by it. They cultivate concentration, dwell in concentration and are bound buy it. They cultivate tranquility, dwell in tranquility and are bound by it. … If working with the mind is to discipline one’s mind, how could this be called deliverance?”

Sangha notes for 11-28-16

Steve read from The Way of Zen by Alan W. Watts:
(Quoted from Saraha,10th century leading figure of Tantric Buddhism in India)
“Mantras and tantras, meditation and concentrations,
They are all a cause of self-deception.
Do not defile in contemplation thought that is pure in its own nature,
But abide in the bliss of yourself and cease those torments.
Whatever you see, that is it,
In front, behind, in all the ten directions.
Even today let your master make an end to delusion!
The nature of the sky is originally clear,
But by gazing and gazing the sight becomes obscured.”

Sangha notes for 11-21-16

An excerpt from Some Moments by Dogen.
“Some moments standing at the heights of the mountain peak;
Some moments moving through the depths of the deepest ocean trench.
Some moments the good angel;
Some moments the bad angel.
Some moments a staff and a miter;
Some moments a door or a window.
Some moments me and the guy next door.
Some moments the great earth and vacant sky.
The reaction of normal people who haven’t studied Buddhism and hear the phrase some moments is to think, well there were some moments when I was talking to the bad angel and then there were some moments when I was talking to the good angel, as if these moments were hills and streams in some natural landscape they had passed through. They say to themselves: ‘the landscape is still back there but I have come through it and now dwell in the vermillion tower of the jade palace. I’m here, the scenery is back there, the heavens are up there, and the earth is down here.’
But this is just one way of looking at the situation. If there was an ‘I’ at the moment of climbing some hill or crossing some stream, that ‘I’ must surely have incorporated that moment. The moment could not have just taken off leaving the ‘I’ sitting there. With no past or future aspect, the moment of climbing the hill was the absolute eternal now in some moment.”

Sangha notes for 11-7-16

A quote attributed to Albert Einstein:
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Sangha notes for 10-24-16

An excerpt from The Eight Gates of Zen by John Daido Loori:
“What is the mind of the Way?
Chao-chou once asked Nan-ch’uan, ‘What is the Tao?’ Nan-ch’uan answered, ‘Ordinary mind is the Tao.’
‘Then should we direct ourselves toward it or not?’ asked Chao-chou. ‘If you try to direct yourself toward it, you will go away from it,’ Nan-ch’uan answered. Chao-chou continued, ‘If we do not try, how can we know that it is the Tao?’ Nan-ch’uan replied, ‘The Tao does not belong to knowing or to not knowing. Knowing is illusion, not knowing is blank consciousness. If you really attain the Tao of no doubt, it is like the great void, so vast and boundless. How, then, can there be a right and a wrong in the Tao? Ordinary mind, the mind that sleeps when it is tired and eats when it is hungry. This is the Buddha mind.’ ”

Sangha notes for 10-10-16

A reading from The Teachings of Huang Po, translated by John Blofeld:
“Q: Allowing that the enlightened man who achieves the cessation of conceptual thought is Buddha, would not an ignorant man, on ceasing to think conceptually, lose himself in oblivion?
A: There are no enlightened men or ignorant men and there is no oblivion. Yet, though basically everything is without objective existence, you must not come to think in terms of anything non-existent; though things are not nonexistent, you must not form a concept of anything existing. For ‘existence’ and ‘non-existence’ are both empirical concepts no better than illusions. Therefore it is written, ‘Whatever the senses apprehend, resembles an illusion.’”

Sangha notes for 10-3-16

Steve read a passage from a Dharma Talk by Zen Master Dae Gak, Furnace Mountain Newsletter, Summer 2010.
“So the inquiry that we take up is not only to be able to sit quietly in stillness for half an hour, an hour, two hours, five hours a day, but to actually take into every encounter the practice of asking, ‘What is this?’ It is to be enlightened by ‘the sky is blue’, ‘the tree is green.’ It is to be continually brought into realization; to be in effect, the activity of realization itself, seeing the pebbles, walking on the straw, hearing the jet, feeling the damp, cold air, feeling sorrow at someone’s suffering, feeling joy at having found a new friend, feeling grateful for each breath, feeling appreciative for each step, no matter how the body feels….”

Sangha notes for 9-26-16

Greg shared and discussed a translation of the chant Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo (Kanzeon or Kannon is the Chinese/Japanese name for the original Indian Bodhisattva of Compassion)
I venerate the Buddha
Buddha is my source
Buddha is my affinity
Affinity with Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
Constancy, ease, assurance, purity
Morning my thought is Kanzeon
Evening my thought is Kanzeon
Thought after thought arises in the mind
Thought after thought is not separate from mind.”