Zen Talks

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

Posted by on Oct 18, 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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hands and eyes – a talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Nov 4, 2020 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on hands and eyes – a talk by Madelon Bolling

The Blue Cliff Record, case 89: Yunyan asked Daowu, “How does the Bodhisattva Guanyin use those many hands and eyes?” Daowu answered, “It is like someone in the middle of the night reaching behind her head for the pillow.” Yunyan said, “I understand.” Daowu asked, “How do you understand it?” Yunyan said, “All over the body are hands and eyes.” Daowu said, “That is very well expressed, but it is only eight-tenths of the answer.” Yunyan said, “How would you say it, Elder Brother?” Daowu said, “Throughout the body are hands and eyes.” “How does the Bodhisattva Guanyin use those many hands and...

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Why Does it Come to This? / I Vow to Free – A Talk Given by Lee Shields, October 11, 2020

Posted by on Oct 26, 2020 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Why Does it Come to This? / I Vow to Free – A Talk Given by Lee Shields, October 11, 2020

After the sittings on Friday mornings, the koan that has been shared recently is case 98 from The Record of Tung-shan (Dongshan) that goes like this: One time when the Master was washing his bowls, he saw two birds contending over a frog. A monk who also saw this asked, “Why does it come to that?” The Master replied, “It’s only for your benefit, Acarya.” Before sitting on Wednesday evenings, we have taken up the translations of the first of the Four Infinite vows, also known as the Bodhisattva Vows. The Mountain Lamp version is: All beings beyond number, I vow to free. Aitken Roshi’s...

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