Talks

Photo of Madelon, Lee

Left to right, Madelon, Lee

What Are We Really, A Talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on May 21, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on What Are We Really, A Talk by Madelon Bolling

What are we, really? The Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng said, Good friends! You already possess the prajna wisdom of enlightenment! . . . Buddha nature isn’t different for the ignorant and the wise . . .  (Platform Sutra, section 12) Now, how can that be? You mean, we ignorant folk have the prajna wisdom of enlightenment? Already? Kodo Sawaki said, Zazen is becoming a Buddha while you are a deluded person. So what does that look like? In an online message, Henry Shukman once referred to “A sense of being held by all experience.” By becoming...

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Zen Talks from the 2024 Spring Sesshin

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Zen Talks from the 2024 Spring Sesshin

  Relinquish Yourself, a talk be Lee Shields Not Wind, Not Flag, a talk be Lee Shields Wanderring Among the Poor, a talk be Lee Shields Voice of the Bird, a talk by Madelon Bolling The Zazen of the Mahayana, a talk be Lee Shields Blinded by Gold Dust, a talk be Lee Shields

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Blinded by Gold Dust – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 5, 2024)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Blinded by Gold Dust – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 5, 2024)

One day the Counselor Wang visited…Master [Lin-chi]. When he met the Master in front of the Monk’s Hall, he asked: “do the monks of this monastery read the sutras?” “No, they don’t read sutras,” said the Master. “Then do they learn meditation?” asked the Counselor. “No, they don’t learn meditation,” answered the Master. “If they neither read sutras nor learn meditation, what in the world are they doing?” asked the Counselor. “All I do is make them become buddhas and patriarchs,” said the Master. The Counselor said: “Though gold dust is...

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The Zazen of the Mahayana – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 6, 2024) – Sesshin Day 5

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on The Zazen of the Mahayana – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 6, 2024) – Sesshin Day 5

For all of us children of wealthy homes wandering among the poor, let’s return to Hakuin’s, “Song of Zazen,” Tuesday we left off on this verse: Lost on dark paths of ignorance, we wander through the Six Worlds; from dark path to dark path we wander — when shall we be freed from birth and death? Hakuin then changes course without answering when or if we will be freed– he turns instead to zazen. Oh, the zazen of the Mahayana! To this the highest praise! Devotion, repentance, training, The many Paramitas — all have their source in...

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Voice of the Bird, A Talk by Madelon Bolling (April 4, 2024)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Voice of the Bird, A Talk by Madelon Bolling (April 4, 2024)

Voice of the Bird for sesshin, April 2024. Asan of Shinano lived in Japan in the eighteenth century. She was a sincere student who meditated assiduously. One morning, drifting in and out of sleep and struggling to stay present to her koan, she heard a rooster crow. Her mind suddenly opened, and she exclaimed:   The fields, the  mountains, the flowers, and my body, too, are the voice of the bird. What is left that could be said to hear? [From Dongshan’s Five Ranks (Bolleter), p.101.] PSC   Chinese Zen master Seng-Tsan noted in the...

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A Rich Man Wandering Among the Poor, A Talk by Leland Shields (April 3, 2024)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on A Rich Man Wandering Among the Poor, A Talk by Leland Shields (April 3, 2024)

All beings by nature are Buddha, as ice by nature is water.   Apart from water there is no ice; apart from beings, no Buddha.   How sad that people ignore the near and search for truth afar: like someone in the midst of water crying out in thirst; like a child of a wealthy home wandering among the poor. (Hakuin, “Song of Zazen”) Hakuin begins “The Song of Zazen” with a clear statement: all beings are Buddha. As clear as it is, when in doubt we can still equivocate – who or what is Buddha after all? Aren’t we supposed to slay any...

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Not the Wind, Not the Flag, A Talk by Leland Shields (April 2, 2024)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Not the Wind, Not the Flag, A Talk by Leland Shields (April 2, 2024)

Case 29 of the Gateless Barrier: Hui-neng: “Not the Wind; Not the Flag” Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth but could not agree. The Sixth Ancestor said, “Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe. Aitken, Robert. The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan) (p. 228). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition. Step back. Watch...

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Relinquish Yourself – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 1, 2024)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Relinquish Yourself – A Talk by Leland Shields (April 1, 2024)

Daito Kokushi’s Admonition Oh you [monastics] who are in this mountain monastery, remember you are gathered here for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of clothes and food. As long as you have shoulders you will have clothes to wear. As long as you have a mouth you will have food to eat. Be ever mindful throughout the [twenty-four] hours of the day, to apply yourself to the Unthinkable. Time passes like an arrow, never let your mind be disturbed by worldly cares. Ever, ever be on the look out…Oh [monastics], be diligent, be diligent....

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Nothing extra, nothing left out – a talk by Leland Shields

Posted by on Mar 10, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Nothing extra, nothing left out – a talk by Leland Shields

Blue Cliff Record, Case 12: Tung Shan’s Three Pounds of Hemp A monk asked Tung-Shan, “What is Buddha?” Tung Shan said, “Three pounds of hemp.” Thomas Cleary, BCR 12 Blue Cliff Record, case 19: Chu Ti’s One Finger Ch’an Whenever anything was asked, Master Chu Ti would just raise one finger. Thomas Cleary, BCR 19 Blue Cliff Record case 27: Yun Men’s The Body Exposed, The Golden Wind A monk asked Yun Men, “How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?” Yun Men said, “Body exposed in the golden wind.” Thomas Cleary, BCR 27 On most retreat...

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The Teachings of a Whole Lifetime – A Talk by Madelon Bolling (February 11, 2024)

Posted by on Feb 28, 2024 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on The Teachings of a Whole Lifetime – A Talk by Madelon Bolling (February 11, 2024)

  A monk asked Yun Men, “What are the teachings of a whole lifetime?” Yun Men said, “An appropriate statement.” (Blue Cliff Record, Case 14)                                                *  *  * There is a reality even prior to Heaven and Earth. Indeed it has no form, much less a name . Eyes fail to see it: it has no voice for ears to detect. . . . It is Dharma, truly beyond form and sound. It is Tao, having nothing to do with words. (Dai-O Kokushi: On Zen)                                                *  *  * None of us can fix this world....

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