Talks

Photo of Madelon, Lee, and Jack

Left to right, Madelon, Lee, and Jack

Like There Is No Tomorrow, A Talk By Madelon Bolling (February 9, 2020)

Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Like There Is No Tomorrow, A Talk By Madelon Bolling (February 9, 2020)

Case 32, Shaseki-shu [Collection of Stone and Sand]: A lord asked Takuan Soho, a Zen teacher, to suggest how he might pass the time. He felt his days very long attending his office and sitting stiffly to receive the homage of others. Takuan wrote eight Chinese characters and gave them to the man: Not twice this day Inch time foot gem. The translator explains: This day will not come again. Each minute is worth a priceless gem. PSC Not twice this day. It’s a new year—a good year to experience seeing clearly, you might say, 20/20. Last year...

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“No Body” Breaks a Toe A Talk by Leland Shields, January 12, 2020

Posted by on Jan 23, 2020 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on “No Body” Breaks a Toe A Talk by Leland Shields, January 12, 2020

A nun was walking along a path, chanting the Heart Sutra. She accidentally kicked a stone, broke her toe and shouted out in pain. As she did so, the line in the Heart Sutra came to mind, “no body.” With this, body and mind dropped away. The related passage from the Heart Sutra is this one: Therefore in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, perception, mental reaction, consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, no color, sound, scent, taste, touch, thought; no seeing and so on to no thinking; no ignorance and also no ending of...

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The Indestructible Dharma-body, a Talk by Madelon Bolling (October 13, 2019)

Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on The Indestructible Dharma-body, a Talk by Madelon Bolling (October 13, 2019)

Blue Cliff Record, Case 82: A monk asked Ta-lung, “The body of form and color perishes. What is the indestructible Dharma-body?” Ta-lung said, “The mountain flowers bloom like brocade; the river between the hills runs blue as indigo.” The body of form and color perishes. Asking why is a complete waste of energy. There is nothing to be done about it. Going to my sitting spot in the morning for a half-hour or so makes total sense, though I cannot say why. Seems to be the only thing to do at the moment. Like the first touch of morning light on...

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Reaching with Effort – Being with No Effort – A Talk by Leland Shields

Posted by on Aug 11, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Reaching with Effort – Being with No Effort – A Talk by Leland Shields

Lin-Chi was sleeping in the [Monks] Hall. Huang-po came in, and seeing him struck the front plank [of the sitting platform] with his staff. Lin-chi lifted his head, and seeing it was Huang-po, went back to sleep. Huang-po again struck the front plank, and went to the upper part of the Hall. Seeing the head monk sitting in meditation, he said: “That youngster down in the lower part of the Hall is sitting in meditation; what’re you doing here, cooking up wild fancies!” “What’s this old man up to?” said the head monk. Huang-po struck the front...

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Hazy Moon – A Talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Jul 17, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Hazy Moon – A Talk by Madelon Bolling

July 14, 2019 Case #6 of the Denkoroku is the story of the sixth patriarch in India, named Micchaka. Keizan’s closing verse to this story goes like this: Though we find clear waters raging to the vast blue sky in autumn; How can it compare with the hazy moon on a spring night? Most people want to have it pure white, But sweep as you will, you cannot empty the mind. (Aitken & Yamada translation)   “Clear waters” here refers to purity. And in this translation, the third line is Most people want to have it pure white. Pure white is a...

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Cart without Wheels – A Talk by Leland Shields

Posted by on Jul 17, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Cart without Wheels – A Talk by Leland Shields

July 13, 2019 Hsi-chung Builds Carts The priest Yueh-an said to a monk, Hsi-chung made a hundred carts. If you take off both wheels and the axle, what would be vividly apparent? Wu-men’s comment: If you realize this directly, your eye is like a shooting star and your act is like snatching a bolt of lightning. Where the wheel revolves Even a master cannot follow it; The four cardinal half points, above, below, North, south, east west. (Case 8, The Gateless Barrier, Robert Aitken, p 60) I thank Larry for bringing this koan came to my attention...

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Every day is a good day – a talk by Leland Shields

Posted by on May 17, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Every day is a good day – a talk by Leland Shields

Blue Cliff Record, Case 6 Yun Men said, “I don’t ask you about before the fifteenth day; try to say something about after the fifteenth day.” Yun Men himself answered for everyone, “Every day is a good day.” Verse: He throws away one, picks up seven. Above, below, and in the four directions, there is no comparison. Placidly walking along, he treads down the sound of the flowing stream; His relaxed gaze decries the tracks of flying birds. The grasses grow thick, The mists overhang. ‘Round Suhuti’s cliff, the flowers make a mess; I snap my...

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On Emptiness and Daily Life – a talk by Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Jan 15, 2019 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on On Emptiness and Daily Life – a talk by Madelon Bolling

January 13, 2019 It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?” The Buddha replied, “Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ānanda, that the world is empty. –Sunna Sutra of the Pali canon Thank you for making the time, effort and sacrifice it took to join us here today to face the Great Matter together at the beginning of this new year, 2019. A new year reminds us to consider beginning again, getting a fresh take on...

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Free Me from My Fetters – a talk by Leland Shields (October 14, 2018)

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Free Me from My Fetters – a talk by Leland Shields (October 14, 2018)

There are some koans that grabbed me and never loosened their grip. Today I’d like to share one that I long remembered without recalling its source, so I recently sought it out once again. The closest I could find was this, from Transmission of the Light: The thirty first patriarch (China’s Fourth Patriarch), Zen Master Dayi (Daoxin), bowed to the Great Master Jianzhi and said, “I beg the priest in his great compassion to give me teaching of liberation.” The Patriarch replied, “Who is binding you?” The master said, “No one is binding me.” The...

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Zenkai (January 13, 2019) with Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Beginner Zen Meditation, Zen Talks | Comments Off on Zenkai (January 13, 2019) with Madelon Bolling

Beginners who are interested in Zen and experienced Zen students are welcome. Schedule 8:15am Work period 9:00am Opening, Five Remembrances, Zazen 9:35am Zazen 10:00am Dharma talk 11:00am Zazen 12:00pm Informal lunch (Soup will be provided. Please bring food to share.) 1:00pm Sutras 1:30pm Zazen, Interviews 2:50pm Closing, Great Vows

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