2018-04-26

Apr 26 - May 2

Spring, week 6
"We have all sorts of illusions: that my life is separate from everything else; that it's more important than some other things. I have all sorts of ideas that interfere with a genuine life." --Joko Beck
Saturday Zen: Sat Apr 21, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Graham Hubbel

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants
For Thu Apr 26 - Wed May 2:
  • Genjokoan 1, 2, 3, p. 41
Opening and Closing for April:
  • Opening: Gatha of Atonement, p. 5
  • Closing: Spring Everywhere, p. 75 + Wake All the Beings, p. 11
Opening and Closing for May:
  • Opening: Do Your Best, p. 20
  • Closing: Liberation from All Obstruction, p. 75 + Four Bodhisattva Vows, p. 11
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: In lieu of a reading this week, please listen to this recording of a talk by Charlotte Joko Beck: HERE



At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: Dreams
"Look what we found in the park, in the dark. We will take him home. We will call him Clark. He will live at our house. He will grow and grow. Will our mother like this? We don't know." (Dr. Seuss, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish")

One breath, two breath, angry breath, sad breath.
Old Bodhidharma came from the west.
Why-ever he came, he came.
Whatever its meaning, he came.
Now here we are, we
Who face the wall in Bodhidharma's cave, we
Wall-sitters, wall-sitting.
It seems to make a difference; it
Seems to make no difference at all -- a
"Something, nothing," like Iago's purse.
We took it home.
It grew.
Still no word on Mother's approval.

Raven 51: Dreams

Dreams. What distinguishes you? Number one, just stretch out your wings. Number two, your wings are always stretched out.

Case
One afternoon, after the Tallspruce group hiked over to Lowridge for berries, Black Bear said to Raven, "This is my last get-together before I retire for the winter. There is something I want to ask. I dream a lot when I'm hibernating. Do Zen masters dream?"
Raven said, "Higgledy-piggledy."
Black Bear chuckled. "My dreams are like that, too -- all confused!"
Raven said, "Not only our dreams."
Black Bear asked, "Then how can Zen masters be distinguished?"
Raven stretched out her wings.
Meredith's Verse
"Look what we found in the park, in the dark. We will take him home. We will call him Clark. He will live at our house. He will grow and grow. Will our mother like this? We don't know." (Dr. Seuss, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish")

One breath, two breath, angry breath, sad breath.
Old Bodhidharma came from the west.
Why-ever he came, he came.
Whatever its meaning, he came.
Now here we are, we
Who face the wall in Bodhidharma's cave, we
Wall-sitters, wall-sitting.
It seems to make a difference; it
Seems to make no difference at all -- a
"Something, nothing," like Iago's purse.
We took it home.
It grew.
Still no word on Mother's approval.
Graham's Verse: "A Staggering Man"
a staggering man
in tuxedo and lace
is leaving the party
no hair out of place.

His party is leaving
in a flourish of bling.
They melt into darkness
the Raven doth sing.

Four and 20 blackbirds
baked in a pie
the Crow is in the know
about pie in the sky.

The tendrils of dreams
forgotten and gone
still influence empires
of king and of pawn.

The war they declare
So somber and dead.
Like life flowing out
of the top of my head.

Till death my last breath
and then gone and then gone.
For June after June
I am soon in the tomb
And then gone.

And then gone.
A staggering man
in tuxedo and lace.
All rested and tan
no hair out of place.
And then gone.

Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon; additional verse by Graham Hubbel
Raven 49

2018-04-15

Apr 19 - 25

Spring, week 5
"We need to notice the judgment we have formed. We need to remember that most of practice can be summed up in kindness. In any situation, what is kindness?" --Joko Beck
Saturday Zen: Sat Apr 21, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants
For Thu Apr 19 - Wed Apr 25:
  • Genjokoan 4, p. 43
  • Bodhisattva's Vow, p. 22
  • Compassionate Heart of Wisdom, p. 15
Opening and Closing for April:
  • Opening: Gatha of Atonement, p. 5
  • Closing: Spring Everywhere, p. 75 + Wake All the Beings, p. 11
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 16, "Do Not Judge," pp. 97-102.

Question. How do you understand Joko's judgment of judgment?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.

2018-04-12

Apr 12 - 18

Spring, week 4
"The test of a good conflict as opposed to one that is harmful is that there is no residue afterward. Everyone feels good afterward. It's clear. It's over. The air is pleasant. It's great, though rare." --Joko Beck

Saturday Zen: Sat Apr 14, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants
For Thu Apr 12 - Wed Apr 18:
  • Great Doubt, p. 18
  • Song of Realizing the Dao, p. 31
  • Unending Truth, p. 36
Opening and Closing for April:
  • Opening: Gatha of Atonement, p. 5
  • Closing: Spring Everywhere, p. 75 + Wake All the Beings, p. 11
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 15, "The Tomato Fighters," pp. 97-102.

Question. "Arguments are fine, but only if they are fun" (p. 97). Describe one argument you've been in that wasn't fun -- and one that was. Would you rather have no arguments -- or more of the fun kind? What can you do about that?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: Ordinary Morality
No nature photographer will capture my image
Trotting with a limp former rabbit hanging from my jaws.
I haven't the predator's skill,
And I do my killing indirectly.
No journalist's expose will limn the contrast between
The misery in my sweatshops
And the opulence surrounding my person,
Though weekly I make payment to some merchant
To sustain oppression and disparity.
It's not that evil and sublime interweave,
Or co-depend, or mutually define,
Though they do all that too.
It's that every act is both.
It's that this is no excuse.

2018-04-11

Raven 50: Ordinary Morality

Ordinary Morality. How do you make use of your urge without doing the thing that you have the urge to do? It's not hard; it just requires a certain attention.

Case
Porcupine came by one day looking troubled. Raven called down to her from the tall spruce.
"What's up, Porcupine?"
Porcupine said, "I'm hearing rumors from my old friends that Coyote Roshi is violating even ordinary morality."
Raven flew down to her side and said, "She has this urge to prey on newborn lambs."
Porcupine said, "You said that you have that same urge. Is it that you don't follow through?"
Raven said, "I am following through at this moment."
Porcupine asked, "How is talking to me following through with your urge to eat baby lambs?"
Raven said, "Use the urge."
Verse
No nature photographer will capture my image
Trotting with a limp former rabbit hanging from my jaws.
I haven't the predator's skill,
And I do my killing indirectly.
No journalist's expose will limn the contrast between
The misery in my sweatshops
And the opulence surrounding my person,
Though weekly I make payment to some merchant
To sustain oppression and disparity.
It's not that evil and sublime
Interweave, co-depend, mutually define,
Though they do.
It's that every act is both.
It's that this is no excuse.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 49

2018-04-06

Apr 5 - 11

Spring, week 3
"Our job is to be integrated with the whole world." --Joko Beck

Saturday Zen: Sat Mar 31, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants
For Thu Apr 5 - Wed Apr 11:
  • Observing the One Who Is Dim and Dull, p. 19
  • Heart Sutra, p. 14
Opening and Closing for April:
  • Opening: Gatha of Atonement, p. 5
  • Closing: Spring Everywhere, p. 75 + Wake All the Beings, p. 11
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 14, "Integration," pp. 93-96.

Question. What does "be integrated with the whole world" mean to you? What does it look like? What does not being integrated with the whole world look like?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat Apr 14, and Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: Zazen in the Forest
Meetings get canceled.
Even when they don't,
Doings and sufferings --
For shelter, food, predator-dodging, etc. --
Fill the hours like sand,
Make me wonder when's enough time to become.
Silly, silly me.

2018-04-05

Raven 49: Zazen in the Forest

Zazen in the Forest. What do you hear? (And who is it that is hearing?) What do you see, feel, taste, touch, smell? That's reality. That's all you get -- and all you need. It's all zazen in the forest. What and where else could it be?

Case
It had been stormy for several days, and the community did not meet. Finally, the winds calmed, the rains stopped, and the meetings resumed.
Owl obviously wanted to speak, so the others deferred.
"I've been told," she said, "that long ago, folks could devote themselves full-time to the practice, and enlightened masters emerged. Nowadays here in the forest, folks are so busy hunting and gleaning and protecting themselves that they have very little time for zazen. How can we hope to attain the level of realization the old masters attained?"
Raven said, "They saw plum blossoms; we hear the robin."
Owl said, "But it seems their very atmosphere was charged with realization. That's certainly not true for us today."
Raven said, "The robin just flew away."
Verse
Meetings get canceled.
Even when they don't,
Doings and sufferings --
For shelter, food, predator-dodging, etc. --
Fill the hours like sand,
Make me wonder when's enough time to become.
Silly, silly me.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 48

2018-03-30

Mar 29 - Apr 4

Spring, week 2
"Practice is not about having experiences, not about having giant realizations, not about getting somewhere or becoming something. We are perfect as we are. By 'perfect' I mean simply that this is it....Practice is to be aware of our thoughts without getting lost in them. And if we get lost, to notice that, too." --Joko Beck
Saturday Zen: Sat Mar 31, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants
For Thu Mar 29 - Wed Apr 4:
  • Heart of True Entrusting, p. 28
Opening and Closing for March:
  • Opening: Nothing to Do, p. 20.
  • Closing: The Ship of Compassion, p. 75 + The Four Bodhisattva Vows, p. 11
Opening and Closing for April:
  • Opening: Gatha of Atonement, p. 5
  • Closing: Spring Everywhere, p. 75 + Wake All the Beings, p. 11
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 13, "The Subject-Object Problem," pp. 84-92.

Question. How does "the subject-object problem" arise in your life?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat Apr 14, and Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: Pain During Zazen
A little rub dispels a small itch:
A single push of fingers across the spot, and half-way back.
Substantial itches, though: rub leads to scratch,
And scratch to scratch, increasing the injury.
Here, then, is your life:
Knowing when to rub, to scratch, and when, though difficult, to leave alone --
And, so often, not knowing.

Raven 48: Pain During Zazen

Pain During Zazen. Don't take reality lying down! Of course, there isn't any other way to take it. Some of the hurt we hold; some of it we fix. As for posture, Shunryu Suzuki said, "You should be siting straight up as if you were supporting the sky with your head. This is not just form or breathing. It expresses the key point of Buddhism. It is a perfect expression of your Buddha nature. These forms are not the means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture itself is the purpose of our practice. When you have this posture, you have the right state of mind, so there is no need to try to attain some special state. Enlightenment is not some good feeling or some particular state of mind. The state of mind that exists when you sit in the right posture is, itself, enlightenment." But "the right posture" is not limited to lotus position zazen. Suzuki also urged, "Try always to keep the right posture, not only when you practice zazen, but in all your activities. Take the right posture when you are driving your car, and when you are reading. If you read in slumped position, you cannot stay awake long." So sit straight -- even if you are lying down. After all, as Raven indicates, we are always lying right where we are, in the bosom of the world. There is an aspect of the supine -- even as as there is also uprightness, or its possibility -- in every position and posture, every movement and activity.

Case
Black Bear came to see Raven one morning and said, "I have this persistent pain under my right shoulder blade. Shall I try sitting through it?"
Raven asked, "Have you tried sitting through it?"
Black Bear said, "It just gets worse."
Raven said, "Maybe you should elevate your seat a little. Try sitting on a stone."
Black Bear said, "It doesn't seem to help."
Raven said, "Try lying down."
Black Bear said, "Can I really do zazen lying down?"
Raven asked, "How else can you do it?"
Verse
A little rub dispels a small itch:
A single push of fingers across the spot, and half-way back.
Substantial itches, though: rub leads to scratch,
And scratch to scratch, increasing the injury.
Here, then, is your life:
Knowing when to rub, to scratch, and when, though difficult, to leave alone --
And, usually, not knowing.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 47

2018-03-25

Book of Serenity 66

139
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #66
Jiufeng's "Head and Tail"

Wansong's Preface
Even a person who can apply supernatural powers cannot let a foot down;
Even a person who forgot all karma ties and extinguished all thoughts cannot raise a foot.
You should say: Sometimes you kill by running, sometimes you kill by sitting.
How can you attain the proper balance?
Case
A monk asked Jiufeng Daoqian, “What is the head?”
Jiufeng said, “Opening the eyes and not perceiving the dawn.”
The monk said, “What is the tail?”
Jiufeng said, “Not sitting on a ten-thousand-year-old sitting place [or "an eternal seat"].”
The monk said, “What if there is a head, but no tail?”
Jiufeng said, “After all, it is not valuable [or "not precious"].”
The monk said, “What if there is a tail, but no head?”
Jiufeng said, “Being self-complacent, yet having no power.”
The monk said, “What if the head matches the tail?”
Jiufeng said, “The descendants [practitioners of the Way] gain power without knowing it [or "it is not known in the room"].”
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick trans, with Cleary trans in italics)
A compass for the circle, a ruler for the square.
   Round in a compass, square in a ruler;
With use it functions well, with neglect it hides.
   Used, it acts; left, it's concealed.
Stupid and bumbling: a bird dwelling in reeds.
   Stationary, the birds resting on the reeds:
Backing and filling: sheep caught in a fence.
   Going back and forth, the ram caught in the fence.
Eating others' food, sleeping in one's own bed.
   Eating others' food,
   Sleeping in one's own bed.
Clouds rise and rain falls, dew collects and turns to frost.
   Clouds spring up and make rain,
   Dew forms and turns into frost.
The well-aligned jeweled string passes through the needle's eye.
   The jade thread is pushed through the eye of the golden needle.
The embroidered thread unceasingly vomits from the shuttle's guts.
   Silk floss unceasingly spits from the shuttle's guts.
The stone woman stops weaving, and night's colors turn toward noon.
   The stone woman's loom stops -- the color of night turns toward noon:
A wooden man travels the road, and the moon's silhouette moves to half full.
   The wooden man's road turns -- the shadows of the moonlight have reached the center.

2018-03-22

Mar 22 - 28

Spring, week 1
"I sympathize with anyone who feels that practice is really hard work. It is. But I also feel sad for those who are not yet willing to do this kind of serious work, because they will suffer most....Serious practice is needed if we are to see into the fallacy that is at the bottom of almost all human action, thinking, and emotion." --Joko Beck
Saturday Zen: Sat Mar 24, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am -- Basement Zendo. See HERE.

Chants for Thu Mar 22 - Wed Mar 28:
  • Longer Precepts Recitation, p. 63
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 11, "The Eye of the Hurricane," pp. 67-71.

Question. "From the very beginning, there's nothing wrong. There is no separation: it's all one radiant whole" (Joko Beck 77). What does this mean to you?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat Apr 14, and Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: The Way Things Are
Whence a butterfly?
   a crowd?
   a funk?
   a river?

Whence this illusion of single sources?
   of causal chains?

Whence a breeze?
   a committee meeting?
   a joke?
   this question?
Koan Post: Book of Serenity #87: Shushan: Words of Being and Non-being
"To say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not." (Aristotle, defining True)

Words of being and non
Need a structure
To wrap themselves around,
To bloom purple, and seed.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, say,
Or, what might not be different,
The tree of the delusion of permanent separate essence,
Hosts the pretty parasite,
Supports and feeds its ontological categories.

And if that tree collapses?
Bwahahaha!

2018-03-19

Book of Serenity 96

138
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #96
Jiufeng Does Not Acknowledge

Wansong's Preface
Yunju does not rely upon spiritual relics, the pearls of Precepts;*
Jiufeng does not appreciate expiring while sitting or standing,
Niutou does not need hundreds of birds to bring him flowers,**
Huangbo does not envy gliding, as if upon a cup, across the water.***
Tell me, what are their special merits?
Background for Wansong's Preface
*Once Yunju asked his attendant to take a garment to a hermit. The hermit did not receive it, saying that he already had a garment from his mother. Thereupon Yunju asked him, “Before your mother was born, what kind of garment did you have?” The hermit could not answer a single word. Later, the hermit died and left some “spiritual relics” after being cremated. Someone brought the relics to Yunju. To this Yunju answered, “What good would it bring even if he had produced tons of spiritual relics? It would have been far better if he had been able to answer the very question I posed him at that time.”

**Niutou Farong (Gozu Hoyu, 594-657, 5th gen, founder of Oxhead School), sat daily in his iron chamber, while the birds of heaven brought him flowers to admire and worship him. The Fourth Patriarch (Dayi Daoxin, 580-651) smelled the fragrance of the spiritual flavor of the flowers and came to visit Niutou. When Daoxin arrived at the place, two tigers came out to welcome him. Daoxin was astonished.
Niutou then greeted him, “There is still this!” The two met and conversed intimately with each other. During Niutou's short absence, Daoxin drew the character “Buddha” upon Niutou’s sitting cushion. Niutou came back and wanted to do zazen. He saw the character “Buddha” on the cushion and was somehow perplexed.
Thereupon Daoxin said, “There is still this!” After this, Niutou became a disciple of Daoxin and began his most serious practice.

***Huangbo met a monk on his way to Mt. Tendai. The two went along friendly together, until they came to a big river, where there were no boats or bridges. The monk used his hat like a boat and crossed the river. Huangbo was angry and cried to him, “It was a waste of time to come along with such an important guy like you. If I had known that you were such a tiny fellow so proud of your stupid ‘supernatural powers’, I would have hit you hard in the face for that!”
Thereupon, the monk admired Huangbo, “Here is a great man of the Mahayana Dharma!”
Case
Jiufeng Daoqian served Shishuang Qingzhu as his attendant. After Shishuang's passing, the assembly wanted to make their head monk the abbot of the temple. Jiufeng would not acknowledge him. He said, “Wait till I examine him. If he understands our late master's spirit and intention, I will serve him as I served our late master.”
So he asked the head monk, “Our late master said,
'Have been totally ceased;*
Have been completely extinguished;
Have become one awareness for ten thousand years;
Have become cold ashes and a withered tree;
Have become a vertical stripe of white silk.'**
Tell me, what sort of matter did he clarify with this?”
The head monk said, “He clarified the matter of the One Color.”
Jiefeng said, “If so, you have not yet understood our late master's spirit.”
The head monk said, “Don't you acknowledge me? Pass me incense.”
He lit the incense and said, “If I had not understood our late master's spirit, I would not be able to pass away while the smoke of this incense rises.” No sooner had he said this than he expired while sitting in zazen.
Jiufeng caressed his back and said, “Dying while sitting or standing is not impossible. But you could not even dream of our late master's spirit.”
*The original text contains five out of the famous “seven Perfecta” of Shishuang Qingzhu. The other two are: Have become a cool land of desolation; have become a fragrant censer in an ancient shrine.
**The image is of a waterfall.

Hongzhi's Verse (Wick trans, with Cleary trans in italics)
Shishuang's primary point intimately transmitted to Jiufeng.
   The school of Shishuang
   Was personally transmitted to Jiufeng.
Expire with the incense smoke and it's still hard to succeed the true lineage.
   Passing away in incense smoke,
   The true bloodline cannot go through.
The crane nesting on the moon has a thousand-year dream.
   The crane nesting on the moon has a thousand-year dream;
the man dwelling in the snow is lost in one-colored merit.
   The man in the snowy room is deluded by the achievement of uniformity.
When sitting cuts off the ten directions, you still bump your head.
   Cutting off the ten directions still gets a failing mark:
Move one step closer, and you'll see a flying dragon.
   Quietly move a step and behold a flying dragon.

2018-03-17

Raven 47: The Way Things Are

The Way Things Are. A saying going back to 1909: "Life is just one damn thing after another." And so it is. This. This. This. But where does each damn thing come from? Everything comes from everything: interdependent co-arising. Sometimes we think one thing leads to another -- but it takes all things to lead to anything. So what exactly is the problem? And what is Raven's croak?

Case
Raven took her perch on the Assembly Oak and said, "The problem is that one thing seems to lead to another."
Owl asked, "Isn't that the way things are?"
Raven said, "Not really."
Owl cocked her head. "You just said . . . ," she began.
Raven croaked.
Verse
Whence a butterfly?
   a crowd?
   a funk?
   a river?

Whence this illusion of single sources?
   of causal chains?

Whence a breeze?
   a committee meeting?
   a joke?
   this question?
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Raven 46

2018-03-15

Mar 15 - 21

Winter, last week
"Our practice must be careful, meticulous, patient. We have to face everything." --Joko Beck
Saturday Zen. Our next Zen service is Sat Mar 17, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Morning Zen. Mon-Fri, 6:00 - 7:15am. BASEMENT ZENDO (in the Parsonage, 466 Rosedale Ave, the house down the hill from CUUC -- door into Basement Zendo is in back of house). Morning practice is subject to cancellation on short notice. Check our Facebook page HERE for notices of cancellation.

Chants for Thu Mar 15 - Wed Mar 21:
  • Hakuin's Song of Zazen, p. 17
  • Self and Other the Same, p. 37
  • Field of Boundless Emptiness, p. 37
  • Yuibutsu Yobutsu 4, p. 48
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: Chap. 11, "The Eye of the Hurricane," pp. 67-71.

Question. How do the needs of protection and control manifest for you?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Sat Apr 14, and Sat May 12, 9:00-17:00. "Buddhism 101." INFO HERE.
Raven Tale: Raven Roshi
In my dreams of trees
Maples, pines, et al
Deny themselves nothing.
The world imposes limitations,
Constrains indulgence,
So they don't have to --
   in my dreams of trees.

I, however, self-deny:
Cruel desires, like bacon,
Or the merely self-destructive ones, like doughnuts, sometimes.
It falls to me to weigh competing desires,
To determine which conflicting urge prevails.
Thus I am fraught as oaks are not,
   in my dreams of trees.

I forget that sycamore, birch, and all have stratagems.
The pushing root, the turn of leaf,
the velocity of sap,
are imperfect perfect
responses to circumstance --
exactly as my choosings are,
   in my dreams of trees.
Koan Post: Blue Cliff Record #24, Book of Serenity #60: Liu Tiemo, the Old Cow
The sun, low in the western sky, asks, "Have you come?"
I ask back, "Will you go?"
The sun, low in the eastern sky, asks, "Will you go?"
I ask back, "Have you come?"

What strange beauty there is in this:
That the blunt true answer to all four questions,
Is both "Yes, obviously,"
and "Quite impossible."
I dodge so as not to spoil it.

2018-03-14

Blue Cliff Record 56

137
Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #56
Qingshan and One Arrow Piercing the Three Barriers

Yuanwu's Preface
The myriad Buddhas have never come into the world;
There is no Dharma to be given to the people.
The patriarch has never come from the West;
There has never been a transmission of Mind.
As a matter of course, the people of this time do not understand;
They continue to run toward the outside looking for it.
They do not know that the single great matter lying beneath their feet
Has never been found by the thousand sages.
Now, at this moment, how does it happen that
while seeing, you do not see?
hearing, you do not hear?
speaking, you do not speak?
and knowing, you do not know?
Where do they come from?
If you have not yet understood this, study it in an old koan.
See the following.
Case
Zen traveler Liang asked Qinshan, "What about when one arrow pierces the three barriers?"
Qinshan said, "Bring out the master of the barriers and let me see him."
Liang said, "If that is the case, recognizing my fault, I will withdraw."
Qinshan said, "How long will you keep me waiting?"
Liang said, "A good arrow! But it has achieved nothing." And he was about to leave.
Qinshan said, "Wait a bit. Just come here."
Liang turned his head.
Qinshan took hold of him and said, "Leaving aside for a moment the arrow that breaks through the three barriers -- just shoot an arrow at me!"
Liang hesitated.
Qinshan gave him seven blows and said, "I should let you go on puzzling over this for thirty years."
Xuedou's Verse (Sekida trans, with Clear trans in italics)
I'd take out the master of the barriers for you!
   I bring out the master of the barriers for you;
Be mindful, you who loose the arrow.
   Those who would shoot should not be careless.
If you stick to the eyes, the ears are deafened;
   Take an eye and the ears will go deaf;
If you discard the ears, the eyes are blinded.
   Reject an ear and the eyes go blind.
How I like the arrow piercing the barriers;
   Admirable, one arrow breaking through three barriers --
The arrow's path is clearly seen!
   Right on target, distinctly clear, the trail of the arrow.
Don't you recall, Xuansha once said,
   Don't you see?
   Xuansha had a saying:
The person of might is master of the mind, prior to heaven.
   "The great adept is the primal ancestor of mind."