Tuesday, October 28, 2014

via Buddhism Now

With the ordinary self you are always using your mind to figure out: how to get through this world, how to make life easier, how to make it more pleasurable, [to know] what is delicious and what is tasteless.
Zazen puts all that aside.
In other words, it takes a break from the human world. What is the human world? The five desires and the six dusts. Wanting money, wanting to eat tasty food, and wanting things to be easy. [People] spend their whole lives [seeking] sex, food, position and the likes.
In zazen, however, you let go of all relationships, take a pause from everything, stop thinking in terms of good and bad, stop judging right from wrong. You stop the movement of consciousness, refrain from calculation of ideas. You don’t seek to be a Buddha because that too is a desire.

Put your body in order. It will follow naturally that the mind will improve. Mind—body—mind—body—mind . . . Mind and body will always be in harmony.

source: Our bodies are the great universal life

* * *
The monk’s life in the Zen tradition is not dependent upon idealism or any ideology. You can be a man of real independence. And when you live as a hermit after being in the community, then you can live in whatever way you like. Whatever you do, will not hurt others; it will always be helpful to other people. At the same time it will be conducive to your own lifestyle. In order to be fully independent, absolutely free from all kinds of blame and mistakes, you should go through this very difficult time.

Of the various Buddhist traditions, Zen is rather difficult compared to others, but it is not impossible. Human beings can do anything; it is all a matter of attitude. I strongly advise you, before you go to your own deathbed, to allocate some time—say one or two weeks—to just sitting in meditation without lying down on the floor. Then you will really get some kind of thundering inspiration or enlighten­ment. When you do not sleep but just sit on the cushion or chair, you may see a different dimension of time and space.

source: Life in a Korean Monastery, Jisu Sunim

* * *
We all have to learn the comfort of being ourselves — and not someone else. It is much harder than it looks and the problem never really goes away.

My next-door neighbour in Hampstead had good minor parts in James Bond films and he lived with a beautiful and intelligent girlfriend. He seemed to have everything, I thought, a man could desire, and he was a likeable individual as well. Then one day he committed suicide.
Too often despair comes not from our situation but from our unhappiness with ourselves and how we perceive ourselves to be. Rather than looking at (and being) what we are, we look negatively at what we are not, and see only lack and deficiency.

The great and unconquerable dinosaurs died out. Only tiny, frail mammals survived to become our ancestors. Natural selection does not favour the strongest and biggest, but the most adaptable, and some of those adaptations are a matter of luck.
In the most ancient times there was the tribe, and then came the tribal chiefs. After them came the gods (sometimes the same people!). But there came a time when even the gods failed, and the gods became men and women. Shamash the sun god become Samson, and Leilun, the goddess of night, became Delilah. So it is that we change and change about with circumstances. Only the awareness stays; the awareness that is our true home and what we really are.
Becoming ourselves is finally opening ourselves to that awareness of the unborn, unconditioned realm we never truly left.

source: The Gods Become Human, John Aske

* * *
At his talk at the end of a week-long intensive meditation retreat, the great Chan master Hsüan-hua (Pinyin: Xuanhua, 1918-1995) concluded:

“Now we have finished. Everyone stand and we will bow to the Buddha three times to thank him.
We thank him because, even if we did not have a great enlightenment, we had a small enlightenment.
And if we did not have a small enlightenment, at least we didn't get sick.
Well, if we got sick, at least we didn't die!
So let's thank the Buddha.”

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