torsdag 9 september 2010

Bookreview: Sex, sin and Zen


Brad Warner's book Sex, Sin, and Zen is funny, witty, useful and a fresh breath of air as it takes on one of the maybe least openly discussed subjects in Buddhism, that of SEX!

Now, this book is not for everybody.
It contains some strong language (both about buddhism, buddhists and sex), and some might not like that being brought forth.
The same goes that he still takes a standpoint in his own experiences some times, and some might not like that either.
And i think some chapters could be somewhat left out or edited, but where would that leave the book, kif there were no "not-so-good"-chapters.
Not to mention his, and he makes a pun of it in thebook, constant talking about his earlier books.
You either like his style or not.
He has been described as being all sorts of bad-boy archetypes.
As he himself admits, he takes a certain pleasure in being oppositional.
But it seems like somewhere down there is something you like about him.
The same goes for this book.

The new thing he brought forth is some chapters where he takes "sexual angles on Buddhism".
Which is exactly what they are, certain aspects of Buddhism from a sexual Angle.
This is something new, and as for me, not seen before.
I found these chapters more entertaining and "educational" than many of the regular ones...

Next to that he Discusses zen tachers and some of his dealings within the sexual sphere.
More exactly his writings for Suicide girls and his interview with Nina Hartley.
Now, i really liked some of the things he says here, and would like to hear more from Nina, who said some really good things in the interview by the way...

And a quote from him, which, i think, in its essence says so much towards his view on practice (my bold)...  

“…Teacher-student romantic relationships will always be a part of the landscape of Zen and other spiritual traditions. It’s important to understand that these relationships do happen and to understand that when they do, the reasons are always various and complex. Sometimes the relationship is clearly abusive and wrong, but not always. In fact, I’ll also be so bold as to say that most of the time there is nothing any more sleazy or abusive going on than goes on in any other romantic relationship. It’s also vital that members of the community examine the real reasons behind whatever feelings they have about the matter. This is after all, what the practice is for – self-examination rather than the examination of others.

Finally the gem is turning into an diamond.
Don't get me wrong, Brad Warner has done some good books before.
Sit down and shut up is a classic amongst Zen/Buddhism literature.
But this book shows he's getting on the path of good authorship. 
He's being both witty, thoughtful and really readable.
And at the same time, he's not really there..
But please read and enjoy yourselves.

May the force be with you

tisdag 7 september 2010

The teachings of the Daruma doll...


The thing isn't to do everything right.

In our practice, whoever we are, we can, and will, stray from the path.
No exception, this will happen to everybody.
The thing is that when it happens getting back to the path.
Sometimes we can make it by ourselves.
Sometimes we need help from others.
And it's all ok.
The main thing is getting back, not how you did it, as long as you keep in accord with the precepts..
Much like an Daruma doll, which keeps uprighting itself...

There has been a lot of talks about teachers and others doing this or that or straying from the path in one way or another, but that's just normal.
The thing is not that they strayed, or will stray or...
The thing is what you do about it.

Two zen monks were travelling.They came to a ford of a stream that was running high, and the current was strong and frightening looking. An attractive young lady was standing at the ford, looking nervous. She clearly was afraid to cross, but had an important reason to go. Without a word, the older of the two monks lifted her in his arms and waded across the stream, and placed her safely on the far bank. The younger monk looked shocked at this action, but kept his silence for quite some number of miles as they continued their journey. Finally, he blurted out "You know that it is against the rules of our order to have any contact with women. How could you do that?".
The older monk replied "I put her down when I reached the other side of the river. You, on the other hand, have been carrying her this whole way."

I am not a Zen teacher, just a simple priest, and as such is not to be viewed as an authority of any sort, but today i would like to write a little about one of the things people often hear me saying, "When this happens do this,  when that happens do that" and "It's all good practice."

The first sentence is that you should do one thing at the time, and it's the thing that is right in front of you right now.
Not anywhere else or at any other time.

The second is that it's all good, everything is as it is.
You know it, he knows it, she knows it, i know it.
But sometimes we miss it, and don't see it.
That's when we strayed.
That's when we need to get back on track.
Mind you, i might be saying to get back on track, but that doesn't mean we're off, just that we think we are...

The thing isn't to do everything right.
We all stray and miss the path sometimes, doing things we maybe shouldn't have.
All i ask of you is that when i stray, please lead me back.
It's all good practice.
Thank you for your practice.

May the force be with you.

måndag 30 augusti 2010

When life hits you in the face...


What do you do when life hits you in the face?
What do you when your old mum is dying, your child is resisting, your wife/husband leaves you,  life is acting crazy or your computer had enough?

There has been many things said about this, and a great many books written on the topic.
Some of them are good, some...
But i like to say some things in the subject to.

First of all, the thing we are talking about here is Dukkha and samsara.
I am not a Zen teacher and only in training as a priest, and as such is not to be viewed as an authority of any sort but Dukkha is sometimes interpreted as impermanence, change, suffering and it derives from a word often interpreted as uneasy.
I kinda like the word uneasy in this situation, it goes along the lines i'm talking about now.
Thats what it's all about.

Why do we feel it to be uneasy?
It's because we want something to be different than it is.
Even though we see it as it is, we interpret it as something else, and as something as we do not want or want it to be.
I often explain it as a "wheel that is out of focus", as a "wheel with the axis not in the middle but out towards one side", so that it wobbles forward.
That means it goes at a little different "speeds" when it rolls forward...
We are "suffering" because we want it to go smoothly at the same speed all the time, which it doesn't, and therefore creates an un-smoothness.

So, What do you do when life hits you in the face?
Some say "nothing!"
Some say "Sit with it!"
Some say "It's all good practice."
But it doesn't matter what people say, it matters what YOU DO.
And as long as you do as good as you can in the situation at hand with the righ intention, you are, according to me, not so far off.

In the Garland sutra, buddha supposedly says this
I should be like the sun, shining universally on all without seeking thanks or reward, able to take care of all sentient beings even if they are bad, never giving up on my vows on this account, not abandoning all sentient beings because one sentient being is evil.
This shows to the right intent, doing something for the sake at hand, not for getting some credit.
And in some sense it says "love your enemy".
No matter what it is, love your enemy.

I would like to end with a story about what to do with people that is not as everyone wants.
When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.
Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.
When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. "You are wise brothers," he told them. "You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave."
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.
It's never easy to deal with people.
Especially people who don't do as they should or as you think they should do.
But in the end, if you just "do as good as you can" and "love your enemy", your not to far off in your practice.

Thank you for your practice.

May the force be with you

torsdag 26 augusti 2010

What happened? Or my view of the treeleaf online shukke tokudo 2010...


What is the meaning of “Shukke tokudo”?
Shukke Tokudo is the ceremony of ordination marking the passage from layperson to what we call a monk, nun, or a priest (the japanese term of is Unsui- cloud and water). Tokudo means ‘ceremony,’ and Shukke is ‘leaving home.’ so in a sense it's a homeleaving ceremony, although there is no home to leave and more in the lines of coming home...

So how does it work? What do you do?

The ceremony is supposed to be composed of three parts, or so i've been told.
One known by all, one known by the teacher and one ”unknown”.
And it really was all of it.
My brother came by train from gothenburg early in the morning, and from there the circus was on.
Before long i had had the head shaved, been interviewed by both radio and the newspaper, gotten the outfit on and off a couple of times, standing barefoot before a computer all clad in white and hearing the words ”the ordination ceremony...”

As for the ceremony settings, it was just me, my brother and a computer as we were doing the ceremony online.
We did some ceremonies, some bowing, some chanting.
It was more or less like anything you do in life – ordinary, simple.
The ceremony itself wasn’t so impressive.
Or maybe it was.
Maybe that was what made it so special.
Because we deem it so special and important, made it special and important...

The ordination ceremony itself went well, some minor glitches is supposed to be in to perfect it even more.
I don't think what had been done really hit me until put on skype after the ceremony and there was maybe 20 people trying to call me all at the same time...

The reception in the evening was another thing all together.
We had an reservation on the local chinese restaurant, and it was just an short walk for me and my brother to get there.
When we got there, there were a lot of pictures taken, some hugs and some congratulations.
All in good order.
When we got in, it was another thing.
Suddenly i had almost the whole restaurant staff standing there, wanting a photo and everything.
All chatting excitedly in chinese...

The next day i went to gothenburg, to see my brothers lifepartners first dangraduation in aikido (she passed).
Luckily enough i went early in the morning.
As i found out later the frst radio transmission had taken place at 15.30, my time, and the first customer asking for me had come in to the bookshop were i work part time 5 minutes after that.
And it had continued to come in more customers on friday and on saturday i was in the papers...
Luckily i missed all that commotion, but thank you for the kind gestures.

The end?
The thing about Shukke Tokudo is not the ceremony itself, that’s just the “end of the beginning of the journey”.
And it isn't really about the ceremony, that's just a ceremony.
Even if i hadn't done the ceremony, if the lightning had struck out my connection or whatever, i would still be here doing this.

In my lineage we were supposed to sew our own Kesa and study texts, as well as have showed some deepened comitment.
It’s not just to step up and take a ticket.
It’s hard work, and it has only begun.
And don't get me wrong, i think it should be, in some sense.
This is all part of the practice.

I'd like to end this post with a quote from my article about Jukai, please replace jukai with ”Shukke Tokudo”.

I learned more from the journey towards Jukai than I have leaned during the rest of my “life as a Buddhist”. The question is if it will change anything.
Now, I may anger some people by saying that taking Jukai isn’t such a big thing. It was not for me. It doesn’t involve earthchanging moments, no strikes of lighting to the head or anything dramatic like that. It just confirms what you already know and do. For me it’s not a big thing, but for some it might. Ultimately, the real significance of Jukai will be that which every recipient finds for him/herself.

But in the end what does this make me?
I see myself as a humble Ordained Zen Priest, and not an authority of any sort.
Please respect that, and don't make me something i'm not.

May the force be with you

måndag 23 augusti 2010

Simple practice?...


I got the question on how you could practice, when "not sitting on the cushion".
So i'd like to offer three advices.

1. smile
2. Straighten your fingers
3. Say "thank you"

Now to go through them and why i chose those.
Often people say you should do this, this this and so on and it ends up being a book, or something like that.
I don't go there.
For me simplicity is the key.
So we end up with three things.

And here we go.

1. smile
Always have an smile on your lips.
This makes not only you having an positive mindset.
It also spreads like a disease to people around you, making more people having a smile/positive mindset making...

2. straighten your fingers
When we are practicing zazen, we should maintain a proper posture.
Our posture linked intimately with our mind; if our posture is sloppy and lazy, our mind is also sloppy and lazy.
Therefor when straighten out the body, you straighten out the mind.
In remembering to straighten out your fingers you unconsciously straighten your body/mind.
It is also an good practice in mindfulness, in that you are mindful of straightening your fingers.

3. Say "thank you"
Humbleness is a good teacher.
And there is no better humbleness training than to say "thank you".
In doing this you raise th other up, while not lowering yourslf.
You make him/her conscious about her/himself and about the act at hand.
That is to say, in saying thank you, you are not only teaching yourself, but also others.

But in the end it's all good practice.
Thank you for your practice.

May the force be with you

torsdag 19 augusti 2010

i made the news...


I made the news...

It's all good practice.
Thank you for your practice.


torsdag 12 augusti 2010

The buddhist teachings...


When I’m asked to describe the Buddhist teachings, I say this:
Everything is connected; nothing lasts; you are not alone.
Though it may seem like restatement of the traditional Three Marks of Existence: impermanence (anicca,無常), suffering or unsatisfactoriness (dukkhā,苦) and not-self (anattā,空), i think it encapsules the teaching quite well.
If you leave them out, you're missing the important core of buddhist teachings and in doing that you miss an important core of zen buddhist teachings.

As i'm going to be a priest soon i often get questions like the the one above.
I also get a lot of reactions from people.
These reactions differ from people who think i am crazy to people who run like crazy to people that want to know more.
These reactions tie together nicely with how i explain the core of buddhist teachings.

People who think i am crazy, is showing that everything is connected.
Because where do they get the notion of what crazy is?
How have they learned what it is?
How can they put a label on you if you're not connected in some way?
And just a reminder, at the same time that they put they label on you, they put a label on themselves.
It may be unconsciously, but it's placed.

People who run away is showing us that nothing lasts.
Even this meeting that you had with this person didn't last.
Often these meetings with these persons has gone pretty good right up to the point when religion/Buddhism has been raised.
After that, it's all lost, already showing that nothing lasts.

People who want to know more, is sensing that they're not alone and want to understand things that happens around them.
These people often, in my sense, has had some encounter with buddhism/religion before and is open at heart - open in mind.

Meeting these people, for me, is valuable.
I'm not saying some are better than others.
They're all good practice.

Thank you for you're practice.


onsdag 11 augusti 2010

This thing called Karma...


In spring this year i ordered an Koromo and kimono for my priestordination from Yuko Conniff at Great Patience Zen Stitchery.
It took until yesterday until i got it and it was near that i didn't...

Here's the story.
After It had gotten to the us postal service it went to malmoe here in sweden, where it stayed in customs for two days (but not being opened must mean it wasn't so interesting...).
Then it went by swedish mail all the way to the bookshop where i work.
The thing is, there was only my name on it, not saying i was working at the bookshop.
So they looked for my name on any door, which there wasn't any.
At this point, i would like to put in that the mailbox is at the back of the bookshop...
So it went back to the postal office with a note saying, "Could not deliver."

Luckily, one of the postalworkers saw the package and asked herself if it wasn't for one of the ones working at the bookshop.
And guess what, so it was!
Having established that, i got to pick up the package, and got my robes.
Some times i wonder about this thing called KARMA!...


måndag 9 augusti 2010

Samu the whale...


Get off your behind and do someting useful!
The work is part of the koan.

Today i'd like to adress the subject of work, or rather samu.
I rather like the definition on Wikipedia is quite good...
Samu refers to work that is done to promote mindfulness...
Mindfulness means accepting reality just as it is. Samu is a means of finding Buddha-nature in everyday life, that reality has ever been pure from the very beginning...

Samu is one way to go beyond the self and is one way to integrate practice into daily life.
Samu is sometimes translated as "daily work practice.
And i would say that Samu is vital to Practice.
In fact, Samu is "working Zazen"!

Being part of the Treeleaf sangha, Samu is something that is somewhat encouraged, but up to each person to do, as we are a "worldwidesangha", and not always near another person.

At treeleaf, we are encouraged to do some hands-on, actually helping people while doing Samu, not just pulling weeds and raking the gravel.
Some hands on work with the sick, the abused or suffering.
However, this should not take out the time to take care of family, children and such, since that is ALSO Samu, done properly.

How much should you be doing?
Well, that is a another question.
I would say, just enough.
When you do it, do enough.
Not to much, not to little, just enough.
If that is just giving a smile and a hand in something simple, and that is all you can, thats enough.
If you can put off some hours each week sitting with the needing, then that is enough.
I can't say what is enough for you, you have to feel that yourself.

The second thing i would like to say, do it so it feels, but not more than enough.
In fact, it is even good to choose (if you choose) an activity that you resist ...
If you do it so it doesn't feel, it somewhat diminishes it's value, and you don't get the right things out off it....

There is an old story which is an favourite of mine...
No Work, No Food

Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees.
The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools.
That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. "He may be angry because we have hidden his tools," the pupils surmised. "We had better put them back."
The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: "No work, no food."

I'd like to end this by a saying supposedly from the buddha.
“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”

These works in quite well with Hakuin's quote in the beginning, "work is part of the koan".
No way around it.
Get to it.


lördag 24 juli 2010

when something appears, something appears


When there is grasping, the grasper Comes into existence. If he did not grasp, Then being freed, he would not come into existence.

- Nagarjuna, "Mulamadhyamaka-Karika"

So, when something appears, something appears.
Is it the same something?
Yes and no.
Buddhism is sometimes a little bit hard to get, it's a little difficult philosophically.
Or so it may seem.
The buddhist philosophy pend between the absolute and the relative and neither.
THe absolute stand for how it really is, not how we perceive it or think it is, thats the realtive.

We may think that something has the colour blue, but does it really?
yes and no.

We may think we are driving a car, but do we?
yes and no.

Now, you might say that it is really a yellow truck we're driving and that is why it isn't as we said.
Yes, but thats not what i'm talking about.
I'm talking about how we perceive and interpret the world.
Something is blue because we say it's blue, it's driving a car if we say its driving a car.

Makes you wonder what would happen if "driving a car" meant something like a "fork" and blue meant happy in another language..
It could be something like this
-hi! what are you doing?
- hi. im happy fork (driving a blue car).
Could make some interesting discussions....

But, what i was talking about was perceiving and interpreting the world.
We do it constantly AND we do it according to our mind.
Thats a really important lesson to see.
What we see is not always what is true and not even what others might see.
We create the world around us and revolves around us.
In a sense it is us!

Which gets us back to Nagajunas Quote.
If we do not try to interpret things around us, if we stop thinking about them, just letting them be as they are, we are not caugth, we are free.
And this is we're the neither part comes in, because we can never be truly free until that one is.

But remember, it's all good practice.

May the force be with you

torsdag 8 juli 2010

Hardly Hard?

How do you explain the colour blue to a blind person?
This Koan struck me today as a friend of mine asked me how everything was and i said "as it should".
And he got all roused up since my life is kind of turbulent right now.
But, as i tried to explain to him, when something is hard because it is hard and you realize its hard because it is hard, then it's not so hard anymore.
It just is as it is.
When i have a hard time i have a hard time.
When i have a good time, i have a good time.
Nothing more.

Now, this may be hard to understand, and believe me, even harder to explain.
But thats how it is.
Follow the stream, don't force it.

Now, some might say you "can't do that" or "it would take me forever to learn that" or...
No, it's not hard.
It doesn't take more than a moment.
You just do, or do not.

May the force be with you.

torsdag 24 juni 2010

A modest input

I saw this interesting post over at monkey mind, and i had some things i'd like to emphasize..

It's called A Modest Call for A Reformation of Ordained Zen Leadership in the West, and right from the onset it got me.
First, as i am working with and am going to be one of those i thought it worthwhile.
But i don't like being called a leader or what i do a leadership.
If anything, call it companionship, as i am a companion on the way.
Even if i am only an companion to one.

Now he brings up some really good things in the article.
Some i agree on some i don't.
But let's begin.

Today in Japan Zen clerical leadership is roughly more analogous to Anglican parish ministry than to the monasticism of any tradition, where clerics are responsible for the rites of the community, particularly funerals and related memorials.

This is true in most cases, but not all.
There still is some who practices the monastic way or a variant of that in Japan.
What he's talking about here is organisations like, for instance, the soto shu, which are more or less "corporations", in lack of a better word.
Instances, which in some cases, are hereditary and serves a function in the community while at the same time is run lika any corporation.
I see no harm in maintaining that way, as long as you serve your function.
If you lose sight of that, it becomes another matter entirely.

He then goes on talking about how we in the west picked up on this ordination to ministry rather than monasticism and has expanded on it.
And although we have done so continue to use monastic terminology.
Here is another point i agree on.
If you have an banana, call it a banana.
If you have an orange call it orange.
Otherwise it gets confusing and misleading.

The belief that one's best training happens in close proximity to a teacher, is, in my understanding somewhat flawed.
Somewhat because it depends on what you call a teacher.
Please see earlier post for thoughts on teachers...
And if you only think that training happens when you do retreats, zazenkai's and such, you miss the point.

The difference between the ”lay” and ”monastic” way, is somewhat of a hot bun.
More in some traditions than in others.
Let me just quote another master on that one.
No different! Only different in your mind.

On practice in laycommunities he says this.
Still, when people do throw themselves into the practice, it turns out do just fine. It works. Living at home, alone or with a partner, practicing daily and participating in one, three, five and seven-day retreats as one can is enough.

Lives are transformed, people grow deep and wise.

And the many beings are saved.

Is that enough?

He also brings forth a point when he says
What I suggest for us in the West, is that unless one feels a call to an actual cloistered life and wishes to become a monastic in the traditional celibate sense, if one feels called to ordination, one’s ordination path should be seen as an adjunct to practice, rather than as some special or more intense form of practice.

There is no deeper practice than practice. Water does not get wetter.

And this is an important point.
I wrote earlier about practice, and where is that if not here.
Doing what you do.
And if you can help others at the same time, what is that?
Thats good practice.

Now what should we start with?
He gives an notion to that one to.
And let our priests become ministers, where ordination is about a calling to service. Heaven knows, we need such ministers, such priests.

Acknowledging this we can shift the focus of training beyond the primary disciplines of Zen meditation, which we all share, from the cycle of monastic liturgy to professional pastoral training. Let us look to the Western seminary tradition and see what we can learn. Let our priests in training learn a little about pastoral counseling. Let’s require clinical pastoral education units of our clerics in training. Let clerical aspirants learn how to organize a spiritual community and a religious education program for our children. Let them learn how to read a financial statement.

What he proposes is that we bring forth these ”leaders” to help out in every way they can.
Not just sitting there, but doing.
I think he says it best himself, when he says
Let our Zen clergy do some of the many things that might actually help as Zen takes root here in the West.

And out of all this let these priests go into the world establishing sitting groups while also working in the fields of need.

Could do a world of good.


torsdag 17 juni 2010

a virtual-real real-virtual world


As you all know by know, there's going to be an "all online priest ordination" over on the treeleaf sangha.
The general public hasn't really caught up and some may not even care enough of it.
One who has on the other hand is Nathan over at Dangerous harvest.

The interesting is not what he writes, but what there is discussed in the commentsection of the blogpost.
The heart of the discussion, i think, is about the real-virtual world being more real than the virtual-real world.
The real-virtual world being where we live our lives and the virtual-real world being the interbased world we also live our lives, so to speak.
The discussion being presented there is much as expected where people are more or less stuck in their own views of how things should be, not as they are.
But think about where it would lead us if we dropped all thoughts of here/there, real/virtual and now/then.
Where would that lead us?

The other thing they bring up is the teacher-student relationship, which i think is really interesting.
What makes an real-virtual teacher better than an virtual-real teacher?
Don't get me wrong, in some cases, so far as i've seen, one teacher is better in some instances, the other in other.
What they are remains to be seen.

Another question is why it so important to some people about having an real-virtual teacher rather than an virtual-real one?
With the technologies used today, there is not much difference in having an virtual-real or an real-virtual teacher in many aspects.
As one of those that has been intearcting with several virtual-real teachers, there is not much you can't do, short of being physically prodded by the teacher or being hit with the kyosaku.
Maybe that's one app you can get for your computer, a small tazerthing..


fredag 28 maj 2010

How to start a movement or "are you a lone nut?"


This is from a TED talk with Derek sivers.

How to start a movement or "are you a lone nut?"
Thats an important question, are you a lone nut?

In another post of mine, i mentioned the first ever shukke tokudo.
This means it has never been done before.
And it may not be done again.
But the important thing is that there are people who are willing to try it, and be a "lone nut" (or maybe lone nuts...) just so people can realize that it is possible.
Where would we have been if Sidharta himself hadn't gotten up, walked out of his house and sat down under a tree?

Buddha himself said, think for yourself.
Well, lets all sit back, think for ourselves and enjoy the ride.
Wherever it may take us.


måndag 24 maj 2010

First online priest ordination!!


Here's the first official announcement of the worlds first online shukke tokudo (priest ordination ceremony).

We're living in interesting times.


söndag 23 maj 2010

Work is part of the koan!


Get off your behind and do someting useful!
The work is part of the koan.

How true is not this?


fredag 14 maj 2010

Get it out!


A pupil approached his master and said "Master, i no longer have anything on my mind."
"Then throw it out!"
"If i have nothing on my mind how can i throw it out?"
"Then carry it out!"


Eshun's answer


Zen nun Eshun realized it was time for her to die, so she got the monks to build a funeral pyre, climbed up and set it alight.
As the fire grew, one of the monks called out "is it hot in there?"
Eshun replied, "Only an idiot like you would ask such a question!"




A young lady appeared in a zendo seeking some help.
She was worried that since having a baby her life had been full of sleepless nights, diaper changes, baby walking, feeding and thousands of other tasks that she no longer had time for zazen.
"Don't worry, " said an friend, "all those things are zazen."

What if zazen were only the sitting on the cushion, what a thought!


torsdag 13 maj 2010

Recite Heart sutra in Japanese...


Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo*
(The Heart of the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra)

Kan Ji Zai Bo Satsu Gyo Jin Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ji Sho Ken*
Go On Kai Ku Do I Sai Ku Yaku Sha Ri Shi Shiki Fu I Ku Ku Fu I Shiki Shiki Soku Ze Ku Ku Soku Ze Shiki Ju So Gyo Shiki Yaku Bu Nyo Ze Sha Ri Shi Ze Sho Ho Ku So Fu Sho Fu Metsu Fu Ku Fu Jo Fu Zo Fu Gen Ze Ko Ku Chu Mu Shiki Mu Ju So Gyo Shiki Mu Gen Ni Bi Ze Shin Ni Mu Shiki Sho Ko Mi Soku Ho Mu Gen Kai Nai Shi Mu I Shiki Kai Mu Mu Myo Yaku Mu Mu Myo Jin Nai Shi Mu Ro Shi Yaku Mu Ro Shi Jin Mu Ku Shu Metsu Do Mu Chi Yaku Mu Toku I Mu Sho Tok ko Bo Dai Sat Ta E Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta*
Ko Shin Mu Kei Ge Mu Kei Ge Ko Mu U Ku Fu On Ri Is Sai Ten Do Mu So Ku Gyo Ne Han San Ze Sho Butsu E Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta* Ko Toku A Noku Ta Ra San Myaku San Bo Dai Ko Chi Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ze Dai Jin Shu Ze Dai Myo Shu Ze Mu Jo Shu Ze Mu To To Shu No Jo Is Sai Ku Shin Jitsu Fu Ko Ko Setsu Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Shu Soku Setsu Shu Watsu Gya*
Tei Gya Tei Ha Ra Gya Tei Hara*
So Gya Tei Bo Ji Sowa Ka Han Nya Shin Gyo

Thats all folks!

söndag 9 maj 2010

John cage- 4'33''


An "Goldenoldie".

I give you, John cage- 4'33''



four noble truths and the eightfold path


Buddha taught us to comprehend dukkha, abandon tanha, directly experience the cessation of dukkha, and develop (cultivate and practice) the Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration..

This doesn't mean right as opposed as left, and i'm not even sure that's it the best interpretation available either?


onsdag 5 maj 2010

Keeping monkeys


A man who kept monkeys fed them on bananas.
He gave them three in the morning and four in the afternoon.
The monkeys were clearly dissatified.
So he gave them four in the morning and three in the afternoon.
Then the monkeys were happy.

The grass is always greener on the other side...




A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what they are built for.

What's the purpose?


söndag 2 maj 2010

Just do it!


My favourite just do it picture.
Just do it and let the doing just do you.
Thats all it's about.


söndag 25 april 2010

hot dog


Zen buddhist to hot dog vendor:
"Make me one with nothing."

He gets the hot dog pays for it and asks for the change.
The vendor answers:
"change must come from within."


suzuki roshi and the enlightened people.


"Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity."


"What we are talking about is moment-to-moment enlightenment, one enlightenment after another"

Our practice is living in the reality of the present, one moment at the time.
Do not consider yourselves with what comes next, or doing something for somebody else, or about what others think, live here now doing this.
Don't live there.
Live here now.


Rinzai and wise beings...


zenmaster Rinzai described a wise being as one who
"enters fire without being burnt, goes into water without being drowned, and plays about in the three deepest hells, as if in a fairground; he enters the world
of Pretas and dumb animals without being molested by them."

None of the realms of existence lie outside of our practice.


söndag 18 april 2010

Bookreview: True love


The famous Thich Nhat Hanh has written a lot of books, on a variety of topics,and there is something for all in his writings.

This book is about love.
Not just any love, but the love that springs from the buddhist tradition.
He talks about the four aspects of love as described in the buddhist tradition:
1) Maitri: Loving kindness
2) Karuna: Sympathy, or the ability to ease others pain
3) Mudita: Joyful loving
4) Upeksha: Freedom through love
From these four aspects he gives explanations and practices applicable in you daily life.

The essential message he gives is the practice of mindfulness and understanding.
Understanding is a big part of being able to love, and understanding comes from being mindful and seeing things as they are.
So in short, it all comes back to mindful presence, being there, not just in body, but in full absolute awareness and not just once in a while either...

This is truly a book to recommend to those who really want to know love.


söndag 4 april 2010

Mealchant for teaparty.


At treeleaf we're trying to have an short sitting together each sunday.
As it is a "teaparty", we start by reciting a mealchant.

This food comes from the efforts
of all sentient beings past and present,
and is medicine for nourishment of our Practice.
We offer this meal of many virtues and tastes
to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
and to all life in every realm of existence.
May all sentient beings in the universe
be sufficiently nourished.

It's at 21:00 (swedish time), and if you want to join, we are currently using skype so send an mail with your skype name.


söndag 14 mars 2010

Bookreview: zen parenting


There's a brand called zen.
Don't get me wrong, i know it's a part of buddhism.
But it's also a branded name, in so much as it is used in the sence of doing something "intently, singlemindedly".
Todays book is much like this.
Zen parenting is a very good book for the parents out there.
Not if they want to learn anything about the buddhist sciptures or the life of buddha, but if the want to be here, now.
The way to do this is not by a certain method but to be here, mindfully seeing what is happening and mindfully responding to it.
And the teacher in the most cases is the children.

I said that in the most cases the children were the teachers, but not always so.
In the book they have chapters like "work and zen" and "zen during divorce" in which the emphasis is put on the workplace and undergoing divorce.
Both wonderfully done and brings about some good advices.

Each chapter in the book is put forth in a most elegant way, made for easy reading.
It starts up with a short story, and the lesson of the story is discussed.
A short section called living the lesson follows, in which the authors puts forth some things to think about and work into the practice of being a parent.
Because that's what the book is about, being a parent.


Recite the heart in finnish...


I got a reply to my translating the heart sutra to swedish by Uku who gave it to me in finnish..
So i guess we're doing this, if you have it in your language, and it's not posted here, please send it to me.
I'll put it up. ;)

So, the heart sutra in finnish!


Kun/ A/va/lo/ki/tes/va/ra /Bod/hi/satt/va/, har/joit/ta/en/ sy/väs/ti praj/na/-pa/ra/mi/taa/, ha/vait/si/ sel/ke/äs/ti/ vii/den/ skand/han/ o/le/van/ tyh/ji/ä/, hän/ va/pau/tui/ kai/kes/ta/ kär/si/myk/ses/tä/ ja/ tus/kas/ta.

Sa/ri/put/ra/, muo/to/ ei/ e/ro/a/ tyh/jyy/des/tä, tyh/jyys/ ei/ muo/dos/ta/.

Se/ mi/kä/ on/ muo/to/a/ on/ tyh/jyyt/tä/, se/ mi/kä/ on/ tyh/jyyt/tä/, muo/to/a/.

Sa/moin/ o/vat/ myös/ tun/te/muk/set/, ha/vain/not/, kä/si/tyk/set/ ja/ tie/toi/suus/.

Sa/ri/put/ra/, kaik/ki/ a/si/at/ ja/ il/mi/öt/ o/vat/ tyh/jyy/den/ lei/maa/mi/a/; ne/ ei/vät/ syn/ny/ tai/ ka/to/a/, ei/vät/ o/le e/pä/puh/tai/ta/ tai/ puh/tai/ta/, ei/vät/ kas/va/ tai/ vä/he/ne/.

Näin/ ol/len/, tyh/jyy/des/sä/, ei/ muo/to/ja/, ei/ tun/te/muk/si/a/, ha/vain/to/ja/, kä/si/tyk/si/ä, tai/ tie/toi/suut/ta/; ei/ sil/mi/ä/, kor/vi/a/, ne/nää/, kiel/tä/, ke/ho/a/, miel/tä/;

ei/ hah/mo/ja, ää/ni/ä, tuok/su/ja/, ma/ku/ja/, kos/ke/tet/ta/vi/a koh/tei/ta/, mie/len/ koh/tei/ta/; ei/ mi/tään/ nä/ke/mi/sen/ a/lu/eel/ta/ tie/toi/suu/den/ a/lu/eel/le/ saak/ka/;

ei/ tie/tä/mät/tö/myyt/tä/ ei/kä/ tie/tä/mät/tö/myy/den/ lop/pu/a/, ai/na/ van/he/ne/mat/to/muu/teen/ ja/ kuo/le/mat/to/muu/teen/ saak/ka/, ja/ ei/ van/he/ne/mi/sen/ ja/ kuo/le/man/ lop/pu/a/;

ei/ kär/si/mys/tä/, syy/tä/, lak/kaa/mis/ta/ tai/ pol/ku/a/; ei/ vii/saut/ta/ ja/ ei/ saa/vut/ta/mis/ta/.

Il/man/ mi/tään/ saa/vu/tet/ta/vaa/, bod/hi/satt/vat/ tu/keu/tu/vat/ praj/na/-pa/ra/mi/taan/, ja/ hei/dän/ mie/len/sä/ ovat/ vail/la/ es/tet/tä/.

He/ o/vat/ vail/la/ es/tet/tä/, ja/ tä/ten/ il/man/ pel/ko/a/.

Kau/ka/na/ kai/kis/ta/ häm/men/nyk/sen/ u/nis/ta/, he/ o/vat/ nir/va/nas/sa/.

Kaik/ki/ men/nei/syy/den/, ny/kyi/syy/den/ ja/ tu/le/vai/suu/den/ budd/hat/ tu/keu/tu/vat/ praj/na/-pa/ra/mi/taan/ ja/ saa/vut/ta/vat/ a/nut/ta/ra/-sam/yak/-sam/bod/hin/.

Näin/ ol/len/ tie/dä/, et/tä/ praj/na/-pa/ra/mi/ta/ on/ suu/ri/ y/li/maal/li/nen/ mant/ra/, suu/ri/ lois/ta/va/ mant/ra/, y/li/ver/tai/nen/ mant/ra/, ver/taan/sa/ vail/la/ o/le/va/ täy/del/li/nen/ mant/ra/,
jo/ka/ ky/ke/nee/ pois/ta/maan/ kai/ken/ kär/si/myk/sen/, ja/ on/ to/del/li/nen/, vir/hee/tön/.

Siis/ lau/su/ praj/na/-pa/ra/mi/ta/ mant/raa/, lau/su/ mant/raa/, jo/ka/ me/nee/ näin/:

ga/te/, ga/te/, pa/ra/ga/te/, pa/ra/sam/ga/te/, bod/hi/, sva/ha/!

Praj/nan/ Y/din/suut/ra/.


torsdag 4 mars 2010

A threesome of brad warner

This is partly an translation of an article i made for a swedish buddhist magazine and partly an new review

The article
Two books for the price of one

If you Mention Brad Warner, you always get emotional (and sometimes strong) words ...

The man has been called "the pornobuddhist", he writes articles for the Suicide Girls, a page might not be loaded if you have "notforchildrensetup" on your computer. But it is also possible to read them on his own website .

He was born in 1964, has been a bassist in a punk band, released a number of their own records, has become a zenpriest in "Dogen Sangha" and written two books,

Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies & the Truth About Reality and Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen's Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye.

The first, hardcore zen, is about how he became involved in Buddhism, taking up some of its important parts. The second, sit down and shut up, take up Zen master Dogen's book Shobogenzo and with the help of it another deep step down into Buddhism.

He describes his approach as "no bullshit Buddhism", which largely mirrors his books and articles, they are straight, usually simple letters about things that may seem difficult.

In the first of the books Hardcore Zen, it shows that he has been with the punk scene, it is full of reference to punk songs and punkrelatreade occasions. Nevertheless, it is a very good book. Brad is quick in the turns, witty in its language and it's sometimes difficult to hold back a smile. In chapters such as "Gimme Some Truth" and "The Great Heart of Wisdom Sutra" he makes up with great Buddhist concepts such as truth and the heartsutra. One of the most referenced chapters in the book "Do not worry, it will come ... with enlightenment!" He talks about "Kensho" and raises an event that can only be described as a "kenshomoment".

The chapter "In my next life i want to come back as a pair of Lucy Liu's pants", he makes up with questions about reincarnation. He also points out the view that was emphasized by Kanja Odland sensei in Buddhism-now No. 2-2008 "we are all one", which also runs through parts of his second book, Sit Down and shut up.

In "Sit down and shut up", it was observed that he has gone further in his development, both as a writer and as a Buddhist. The language is much better and his present attitude of the various Buddhist concepts show a greater understanding of Buddhism. It may also be that he has another book to relate to that helps. The starting point of "Sit Down and Shut Up" is the Zen master Dogen's book "shobogenzo", a book of about 1200 pages on zenbuddhism.

In chapters such as "why Dogen matters" and "Genjo Koan" he explains the importance of the Dogen and his letters, both from a personal and other points of view.

In chapters such as "cleaning up your room" and "evil is stupid", he goes in to our own state and what we must do to improve our situation.

But he is not without controversy, in the chapter "The day they shot a hole in the jesus egg", he goes onto to speculate that the closest an Buddhist has to "God" is "Universe" itself, which has started a major uproar within the Buddhist circuits and also led to people leaving his sangha.

Even though he may be a controversial and sometimes provocative writer, he has a lot of points. I was going to close with a reference from the "sit down and shut up"'s chapter Zen and stress management: "If there's any single point i dont mind repeating until you're sick to death of it, it's that there are never any shortcuts. "

Thats the article and since then he's released a third book "zen wrapped in karma dipped in chocolate".
In this book we're allowed to follow brad warner during one of his, maybe, more turmoiled periods in his life.
He is unfaithful, breaks up with his wife, Mother and grandmother dies, receives laureates from all over for holding talks and retreats, becomes the head of Dogen sangha, gets into turmoil with some its members, all the while mixing it up with some zenbuddhism.
All of this get's worked into this, his third, book in a very elegant way.
Or at least some of it.
He's Brad Warner, after all...
The issues surrounding this book still echoe in the halls of amazon (if they have halls...). And temperatures run high even speaking of some of the things mentioned in the book.
One of these is the "gummoincident", in which "the nowadadys head of another sangha" was not so pleased that the "pornobuddhist" was appointed the head of Dogensangha.
Sidenote: he wasn't the only one of the former sangha who "disagreed", but the most "famous" and perhaps persistent of them.
This "feud" has since been on the tapestry a couple of times, with Gummo trying to make a mends and other people not so forthgoing...
Or make your own mind up, it's all out there...
The thing to remember though is that there is no "only one side to the story" and that we're all responsible for what happens around us.

In general the book is quite readable, and it has some really good bits in it.
And if you've read the other two you should pick it up, but in my opinion it's hard to beat the second of his books.
I mean, even the title says it all: sit down and shut up!


onsdag 3 mars 2010

Recite the heart sutra in swedish...


I noticed there were no swedish translations of how to recite the heartsutra (hjärtsutran) in swedish.
So i made a go at it.
Ino is the one leading the ceremony, and * means you "ring the bell".

(Ino only)
Hjärtat av den perfekta visdomen sutra*

Då/ A/vo/lo/ki/tes/va/ra/, me/di/te/ra/de/ dju/pt*
såg/ han/ tom/het/en/ i/ al/la/ fem/ skan/dhas/
och/ löste/ de/ band/ som/ or/sa/kat/ li/dan/det/.
O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/,
Form/ är/ ing/et/ an/nat/ än/ tom/het/,
tom/het/ ing/et/ an/nat/ än/ form.
Form/ är/ en/dast/ tom/het/,
tom/het/ en/dast/ form/.
Kän/slor/, in/tryck, for/mer/ing/ar/,med/vet/an/de/
är/ ock/så/ sam/ma.
O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, Allt/ing/ är/ ur/sprung/lig/ tom/het
som/ var/ken/ föds/ el/ler/ för/gås,
är/ var/ken/ fläck/ad/ el/ler/ ren,
var/ken/ kom/mer/ el/ler/ går.
Så/, i/ tom/het/ ing/en/ form,
ing/en/ kän/sla/, tan/ke/ el/ler/ for/mer/ing,
ing/et med/vet/an/de.
Ej/ öga/, öra/, nä/sa/, tun/ga/, kro/pp/, sin/ne
ej/ färg/, ljud/, lukt/, smak/, kän/sel,
ell/er/ det/ som/ sin/net/ hål/ler/ fast/ vid,
inte/ ens/ för/nim/mel/sen/ som/ såd/an.
Ing/en/ o/kun/nig/het/ eller/ dess/ upp/hör/an/de,
Ing/et/ ål/dran/de/ och/ ing/en/ död,
ing/et/ slut/ på/ ål/dran/de/ och/ ing/en/ död.
Ing/et/ li/dan/de, or/sak/ till/ li/dan/de/
eller/ upp/hör/an/de/ av/ li/dan/de
Ing/en/ väg/, ing/en/ vis/dom/ ing/et/ upp/nå/en/de.
Ing/et/ upp/nå/en/de, så Bod/dhi/satt/vas/ lever/
det/ta/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*
Be/fri/ad/ från/ il/lu/si/on/ens/ hin/der
Be/fri/ad/ och/ där/i/gen/om/ be/fri/ad/ från/ räd/sla/
Bort/om/ all/ il/lu/si/on, nir/va/na/ är/ här
Al/la/ ti/di/ga/re/, nu/va/ran/de/ och/
fram/tida/ Bud/dhor,lever/ det/ta/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*
och/ kom/mer/ till/ hel/ och/ full/änd/ad/ ins/ikt/.
Vet/ där/för/ att/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/
Är/ det/ hel/iga/ man/trat/, det/ lys/an/de/ man/trat/,
det/ ena/stå/en/de/ man/trat/,
det/ o/jäm/för/li/ga/ man/trat/
Ge/nom/ vil/ket/ allt/ li/dan/de/ blir/ klart/
Det/ta/ är/ ing/et/ an/nat/ än/ san/ning.
pro/kla/me/ra/ där/för/ praj/na/ pa/ra/mi/ta man/trat/
pro/kla/me/ra/ det/ta/ man/tra/ och/ pro/kla/me/ra
Gate! Gate! Paragate! Parasamgate! Bodhi! Svaha! *

And here's the original...


The Heart of the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra*
(Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo in English)


A/vo/lo/ki/tes/va/ra/, A/wa/kened/ One/ of/ Com/pas/sion/,

In/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/, the/Deep/ Prac/tice/ of/ Per/fect/ Wis/dom/*

Per/ceived/ the/ emp/ti/ness/ of /all /five /con/di/tions/,

And/ was/ free/ of/ suf/fer/ing/.

O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, form/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ emp/ti/ness/,

Emp/ti/ness/ no/ o/ther/ than/ form/;

Form/ is/ pre/cise/ly/ emp/ti/ness/, emp/ti/ness/ pre/cise/ly/ form/.

Sen/sa/tions/, per/cep/tions/, for/ma/tions/ and/ con/scious/ness/ are/ al/so/ like/ this/.

O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, all/ things/ are/ ex/pres/sions/ of/ emp/ti/ness/,

Not/ born/, not/ des/troyed/, not/ stained/, not/ pure/;

Nei/ther/ wax/ing/ nor/ wan/ing/.

Thus/ emp/ti/ness/ is/ not/ form/; not/ sen/sa/tion/ nor/ per/cep/tion/,

not/ for/ma/tion/ nor/ con/scious/ness/.

No/ eye/, ear/, nose/, tongue/, bo/dy/, mind/;

No/ sight/, sound/, smell/, taste/, touch/, nor/ ob/ject/ of/ mind/;

No/ realm/ of/ sight/, no/ realm/ of/ con/scious/ness/;

No/ ig/no/rance/, no/ end/ to/ ig/no/rance/;

No/ old/ age/ and/ death/,

No/ ces/sa/tion/ of/ old/ age/ and/ death/;

No/ suf/fer/ing/, nor/ cause/ or/ end/ to/ suf/fer/ing/;

No/ path/, no/ wis/dom/ and/ no/ gain/.

No/ gain/ – thus/ Bod/dhi/satt/vas/ live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*

With/ no/ hin/drance/ of/ mind/ –

No/ hin/drance/ there/fore/ no/ fear/.

Far/ be/yond/ all/ de/lu/sion/, Nir/va/na/ is/ al/rea/dy/ here/.

All/ past/, pre/sent/ and/ fu/ture/ Budd/has/

Live/ this/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/*

And/ re/al/ize/ su/preme/ and/ com/plete/ en/light/en/ment/.

There/fore/ know/ that/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/

Is/ the/ sac/red/ man/tra/, the/ lu/min/ous/ man/tra/,

the/ sup/reme/ man/tra/, the/ in/com/pa/ra/ble/ man/tra/

by/ which/ all/ suf/fe/ring/ is/ clear/.

This/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ Truth/.

There/fore/ set/ forth/ the/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ man/tra/.

Set/ forth/ this/ man/tra/ and/ pro/claim/:*

Gate! Gate! (Already Gone, Gone)
Paragate! (Already Gone Beyond)
Parasamgate! (Already Fully Beyond)
Bodhi! Svaha! * (Awakening, Rejoice)


måndag 1 mars 2010



I've come across this addon i'd like to share.

consciousness bell
At a given (or random) time interval, it plays a bell chime, inviting you to stop & sit for a while. From the website:

The Consciousness Bell is intended to introduce mindful awareness into everyday life.

A soft Tibetan bowl chime will play at random points throughout the day. When it does, take a few moments off. Stay still, and be mindful.

Notice your body. Your sensations. Your breath.
Where are you? What are you doing right now? What are you feeling?

After a few conscious moments, take a deep, relaxing breath. Smile. And return to normal life...

Allowing yourself these few daily seconds of mindfulness will grant you moments away from the rush. Being more aware and less automated in your actions, and introduce calmness and ease to your daily routine.



söndag 28 februari 2010

The zen mind videos


Found this on my way around.
Great videos, but be wary of some instructions given.
Notice Gudo Nishijima (part 1&2), my "grandfather" in dharma, he's my teacher's teacher.though old he still sits zazen.
Also be wary that it is an rinzai zen roshi speaking(part 3), maybe already knowing it is for a western viewer

Other than that, entertaining.


fredag 12 februari 2010

What happens now?


I use to say “when this happens, do this. When that happens, do that”.
But what does it mean?
It means to fully emerge yourself in the water, without having any thoughts of the waters colour, temperature, flavour asf.
To fully do what is right to do in that moment/doing, without any pretences or judices.
To be fully "here" without there being a "there", totally mindful of the moment and the task at hand.

There's a line in the Tenzo kyokun (instructions for the cook) that really has always mesmerised me, ever since i read it.

"When steaming rice, treat the pot as one's own head; when rinsing the rice, know that the water is one's own lifeblood."

And mind you it's not something you can "just let happen", you have to be "active"...
I once got asked if it matters if we do or not do.
I would say it matters, sometimes much, sometimes little.

When doing this, this happens.
When doing that, that happens.
other than that, I don't know.
And i don't really think it matters.
What matters is that you try ("beyond trying") to see and do what's right.

Now, people may think it’s “platitudes” and that Dead Zen Masters talk and live like that in story books, and teachings not used anymore.
Yes, they're platitudes.
Sometimes useful ones.
And there's masters/teachings being here doing the same now, just as in the books.
The problem is to find them.
I hope you do.


onsdag 3 februari 2010

a lecture in the wind...


The 25:e of february i'll be doing a lecture on the philosophy of Buddhism in Tibro.
We'll look at some of the words and methods deriving from and central to Buddhism, and do some meditationpractices.
If you're interested, please email me or contact the local bookshop or vuxenskolan tibro.

And remember to smile.


söndag 17 januari 2010

A short snap!


This is from an entry i made in Zen forum international about the importance on treating people's questions rightly.

First of all, thanks everybody for your answers, i'll pass them along (somehow...).

Secondly, the belief in rebirth is manyfold.
is there rebirth from this second to the next, or just between lives?
Is it just a figure of speech or something "real"?

Thirdly, realms and other stuff, are they for real and does it matter if they are?

Fourthly, can we believe in that the Buddha said what he did, and does it matter if he did or not?

Fifthly, religion? Do i need to say more or have i already thrown enough s--t in the fan?

Sixthly, what about nirvana?

All the above questions matter to people.
So they are important.
Treat them rightly.

As for me, i'll just sit here saying "when this happens do this, when that happens do that".

All questions are important.
Why would they otherwise be asked?
Treat them accordingly.


tisdag 12 januari 2010

Bookreview: Daily wisdom & more daily wisdom


I like these little quaint books full of quotes and reminders from a little of everywhere, and these are a great example of that.
Daily wisdom & More daily wisdom are both collections of quotes out of books published by wisdom publications and edited by Josh Bartok.

The book's blend of useful insights for daily reflection, from a variety of different of buddhist schols, make them an good read and gives some good moments of thought.


söndag 10 januari 2010

Hyakujo's fox, cause & effect, enlightenment and Dogen...


When Baizhang would give teachings to the assembly an old man would often appear and listen to his Dharma talks.
The old man usually left after the talks, but one day he remained behind.
Baizhang asked, “Who are you?”
The old man said, “I am not actually a human being. In ancient times, at the time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived and taught on this mountain. One day a student asked, ‘Does a person who has cultivated great practice still fall into cause and effect?’ I said to him, ‘No, such a person does not.’ Because of this I was reborn as a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Venerable Master, please say a turning word and free me from this body of a wild fox.”
Then he asked Baizhang, “Does a person who has cultivated great practice still fall into cause and effect?”
Baizhang said, “Do not ignore cause and effect.”
Immediately the old man had a great realization.

The famous koan Hyakujo's fox is perhaps the most cited koan in the works of Dogen. It appears in the Shinji Shobogenzo, Eihei koroku, Zuimonki and is discussed at length in the chapters Jinshin inga and Daishugyo of the shobogenzo.

I've read an interesting statement regarding the name Dai-shu-gyo that led me to this blogarticle.
It is not an bad attempt, and it shines some light into the story.
He, Dosho mike port, explains the name as great-conduct oneself well-action.
This goes somewhat in line with what Dogen says about the story

When we thoroughly investigate the "great cultivation" (Daishugyo), we find that it is already "Great Cause and Effect" (dai inga).(110) This "Great Cause and Effect" is the completeness of cause and completeness of effect. Therefore, it is not a question of falling or not falling, or of obscuring or not obscuring.
even though he errors, there is falling into rebirth as a fox, and there is release from rebirth as a fox.

All of those who have not yet seen and heard the Buddha Dharma say that after the end of his rebirths as a fox the "old master" attained supreme enlightenment (daigo) and that the fox body was completely absorbed into the ocean nature of original enlightenment (hongaku no shogai).
This meaning implies the erroneous notion of "returning to an original self" (honga ni kaeru).
This has never been a Buddhist teaching.
Moreover, if we say that the fox had no original nature (honsho), that the fox was not originally enlightened (hongaku nashi) : this [also] is not the Buddha Dharma.

- Daishugyo

On a side note, the last quotation is also the most used when trying to explain Dogen's view on enlightenment...
The Koan brings to light such things as Cause & effect and enlightenment.
And we have seen somewhat what Dogen had to say about them.
He also says that Cause & Effect arise at the same time and is an inevitable fact of the human existence.
You can't have one and not the other, or?


lördag 9 januari 2010

The posture of meditation


What significance does the posture of body have for the meditation and the experience of meditation?
The author of the book, Will johnson, shows that when it comes to meditation practices, the body is as important as the mind.
This is a fact that may come as a surprise to the many people who regard meditation as a strictly mental activity, and as Will Johnson shows, the physical aspect of the practice is far too often underemphasized.
He goes to some lenghts at showing the importance of the relationship between the body and the mind.

In this book johnson offers guidance and exercises for working with the posture of meditation and also gives advice on how to carry its benefits on into all the rest of life.
An almost "new agey-feeling" creeps in on the text, but if you can see past that this one of the best books i've read on meditation and how to get it right.


Who's your teacher?


Two friends sat down discussing buddhism and things in general.
Suddenly one tells the other "you should speak to your teacher about that one".
The other tells him "I'm doing that".
The first one turns around calling the name of the person the first one had done the Jukai with.

The question is, what did he miss?


fredag 8 januari 2010

Fugen's poke

In zen you have expression's like Joshu's bowl and Huineng's flag.
Apparantly we now also have "Fugen's poke", which is what you get when you get on a forum with me...

Now, Don't expecting something out of me, as all you'll get is nothing...


torsdag 7 januari 2010

Bookreview: Jake fades


Have you read ”tuesdays with morrie” by Mitch albom?
Then you’ll love this one.
It’s the sequel novel to that one.
Although written by another writer, it touches the topic started in Albom’s book, death, impermanence and the joy of life.
It all starts out with the standard relationships, father-son, teacher-student, life-death in a way you might not suspect. The teacher says to his student that he’ll leaving some of his teaching in the upcoming retreat to the reluctant student.
What then follows is an magical journey through the space and time.

This book opens a somewhat different look on zenpractice, commitment, relationships, and it shakes the foundation of some of the most fundamental concepts the “hamsterwheel-human of today” might have.
A book for everyone to read and ponder upon.

The author, David Guy, teaches at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of numerous books, including The Autobiography of My Body and The Red Thread of Passion. His book reviews appear regularly in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other papers, and he is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.


söndag 3 januari 2010

Your own thinking


On the importance of doing your own thinking Dogen says the following

“Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.”

- Inmo (it, that)

But who's thinking are you doing?

“When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original selves.”

-Genjo koan


lördag 2 januari 2010

Moving, but always here...


A couple of friends of mine have moved their videoblog to here.

But they're always here.


Nanquan's sickle capping verse


Due to a discussion with a great friend of mine, and his wanting to keep everything public, i am posting this here, for all to ponder.

Don't be deluded by the words
"the great way."
Realize that it is nothing other
than what you do from morning till night.

- dogen,the true dharma eye, case 154 "Nanquan's sickle"

If it is not other than what you do from morning till night, what is left?


fredag 1 januari 2010

A motherly heart...


So-called "motherly heart" is the spirit of fathers and mothers. ... Without regard for their own poverty or wealth, "parents" earnestly turn their thoughts toward raising their child. Without regard for whether they themselves are cold or hot, they shade the child or cover the child.


A "motherly heart” is a heart which maintains the Three Jewels as a parent cares for a child. A parent raises a child with deep love, regardless of povertyy or difficulties. Their hearts cannot be understood by another; only a parent can understand it. A parent protects their child from heat or cold before worrying about whether they themselves are hot or cold. This kind of care can only be understood by those who have given rise to it and realized only by those who practice it.

-Dogen, Tenzo kyokun

You are not a mother/father just by giving birth to a child, it goes deeper than that. It is not until you give yourself up in favour of the child that you become a mother/father.
When you think of your childs wellbeing before yours, when shading him in the sun, giving him your coat when cold, thats when you go from being parent to being a mother/father.


Happy new moment!?


Master Dogen wrote on Time (in Being-Time, Uji):

See each thing in this entire world as a moment of time.
Things do not hinder one another, just as moments do not hinder one another. …
Each moment is all being, is the entire world.
Reflect now whether any being or any world is left out of the present moment.

Master Dogen wished to convey that each moment of time and being is not anything apart from you. It is your existential time-and-being. So, he wrote in Uji:

Because real existence is only this exact moment, all moments of Being-Time are the whole of Time, and all existent things and all existent phenomena are moments of Time …
If Time does not take the form of leaving and coming, [a task done in the past] is the present as Being-Time.

If Time does take the form of leaving and coming, you yet have this present moment of Being-Time, which is just Being-Time itself.

So each moment is in itself the whole, but is it new?

Happy new moment?