Zen Talks

A Reality Even Prior . . . A Talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Jan 13, 2022 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on A Reality Even Prior . . . A Talk by Madelon Bolling

Blue Cliff Record, case 43 A monk asked Dongshan, “When cold and heat visit us, how should we avoid them?” Dongshan said, “Why not go where there is neither cold nor heat?” The monk asked, “Where is there neither cold nor heat?” Dongshan said, “When it is cold, the cold kills you. When it is hot, the heat kills you.” This is the start of a new year, our first zenkai in 2022. It’s so strange that even here, in this gathering dedicated to seeing through delusion, our most casual language casts a magical network of delicately nuanced...

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Using the Mind to Seek the Mind — Isn’t That a Great Mistake? A Talk by Leland Shields – November 14, 2021

Posted by on Nov 28, 2021 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Using the Mind to Seek the Mind — Isn’t That a Great Mistake? A Talk by Leland Shields – November 14, 2021

(This is taken from a passage in…) Verse of the Faith-Mind …Using the mind to seek the mind — isn’t that a great mistake? (Attributed to Chien-Chih Seng-ts’an], d. 606) Case 37 of the Gateless Barrier:      The Oak Tree in Front of the Garden A monk asked Chao-Chou in all earnestness, “What is the meaning of the patriarch’s coming from the West?” Chao-Chou said, “The oak tree in the front of the garden.” (Robert Aitken, The Gateless Barrier, page 226) Case 43 of the Gateless Barrier:      Shou-shan’s Short Bamboo Staff The priest Shou-shan held up his short bamboo staff before...

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Taking Refuge in the Dharma a talk by Leland Shields – October 10, 2021

Posted by on Oct 15, 2021 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Taking Refuge in the Dharma a talk by Leland Shields – October 10, 2021

In our sutra service, we chant: I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha. In June I spoke of taking refuge in the Buddha – taken from the chant in our sutra book titled, “Ti-Sarana,” Pali for “three refuges.” As I said in June, the refuges or jewels are used in the initiation ceremonies of the various Buddhist traditions. Thus, they are an expression of participation in, and application of the way that we have come to call Buddhism. Today I’d like to talk about taking refuge in the Dharma. The chanting of taking refuge in the Dharma is ancient. We...

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Refuge In the Buddha – a Talk by Leland Shields, June 13, 2021

Posted by on Jun 14, 2021 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Refuge In the Buddha – a Talk by Leland Shields, June 13, 2021

In our sutra service, we chant: I take refuge in the Buddha; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha. And in Pali as: Buddham saranam gacchami; dhammam saranam gacchami; sangham saranam gacchami. In our sutra book this chant is titled, “Ti-Sarana,” Pali for “three refuges.” The same chant can be found with the title, “Ratanattaya,” Pali for the three jewels, or three treasures.[1] The refuges or jewels are used in the initiation ceremonies of the various Buddhist traditions. In that context, I take them to be an expression of participation in, and application of the way that...

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Nothing to Attain – a talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on May 7, 2021 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Nothing to Attain – a talk by Madelon Bolling

Case 19, The Gateless Barrier Zhaozhou asked Nanquan, “What is the Dao?” Nanquan said, “Ordinary mind is the Dao.” Zhaozhou asked, “Should I direct myself toward it or not?” Nanquan said, “If you try to direct yourself you turn against it.” Zhaozhou asked, “How can I know the Dao if I do not direct myself?” Nanquan said, “The Dao is not subject to knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is blankness. When you really reach the Dao beyond doubt, it is as vast and boundless as space. How could affirmation and negation persist?” At these words, Zhaozhou suddenly awoke. The...

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Tung-shan’s Crossed Swords – a talk by Leland Shields, March 7, 2021

Posted by on Mar 17, 2021 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Tung-shan’s Crossed Swords – a talk by Leland Shields, March 7, 2021

Within Tung-shan’s Five Ranks is this verse titled, “Proceeding Within Phenomena”: Like two crossed swords, neither permitting retreat;dexterously wielded, like the lotus in the midst of fire -a natural imperative to assail heaven itself. Robert Aitken, The Morning Star, p. 139. Tung-shan Liang-chieh (also translated as Dongshan Liangjie) was a Tang dynasty teacher recognized as the founder of the Ts’ao-tung, Soto, line of Zen. He left us two series of 5 verses each. The first set of verses expresses modes of the fundamental world we share. Robert Aitken translated the title of this first...

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