Talks

Photo of Madelon, Lee

Left to right, Madelon, Lee

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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Dongshan’s Cold and Heat – a talk by Madelon Bolling (August 12, 2018)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Dongshan’s Cold and Heat – a talk by Madelon Bolling (August 12, 2018)

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.”          Discomfort pervades our experience. Sometimes we can do something about it, sometimes not. If not, as the monk asked, how can we avoid the unavoidable? Dongshan suggests...

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On Being Left To Our Own Devices – by Madelon Bolling (July 8, 2018)

Posted by on Jul 8, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on On Being Left To Our Own Devices – by Madelon Bolling (July 8, 2018)

A monk asked Hui-hai, “By what means can the gateway of our school be entered?” Hui-hai said, “By means of the Dana Paramita.” . . . [some conversation ensued and then] The monk asked, “Why is it called the Dana Paramita?” Hui-hai said, “‘Dana’ means ‘relinquishment.'” The monk asked, “Relinquishment of what?” Hui-hai said, “Relinquishment of the dualism of opposites, which means relinquishment of ideas as to the dual nature of good and bad, being and...

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Blinded by Gold Dust – Leland Shields (July 7, 2018)

Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Blinded by Gold Dust – Leland Shields (July 7, 2018)

One day the Counselor Wang visited the Master. 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 sutra,” 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 [sic],” said the Master. The Counselor said: “Though gold dust is...

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Nothing Extra, Nothing Left Out – a talk by Leland Shields on June 10, 2018

Posted by on Jun 13, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Nothing Extra, Nothing Left Out – a talk by Leland Shields on June 10, 2018

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...

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Today is Mothers Day

Posted by on Mar 10, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Today is Mothers Day

                         Today is Mothers Day . . . for me as for many of us here, this day’s observance is a bittersweet reminder that “all things pass quickly away…” Remembering my mom wakens an urgency to inquire into the Great Matter, into mortality, life and death. Remembering her is a first step into this terrible mystery. Just what is going on here anyway? In Case 47 of the Mumonkan, the priest Doushuai set up three barriers to test his students. One of these barriers begins like this: When you have realized your...

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On Feeling Lost – Madelon Bolling

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on On Feeling Lost – Madelon Bolling

The koan here is case 1 in Zen Echoes; also found as Case 1 in the Book of Equanimity and Case 92 in the Blue Cliff Record. One day, the World-Honored One ascended the seat. When the great assembly had gathered and settled down, Mañjuśri struck his gavel and said, “Observe deeply the Dharma of the Dharma King; the Dharma of the Dharma King is like this.” The World-Honored One then came down from the seat. In response to this koan, Zen master Miaozong declared: The true teaching has been transmitted in its entirety. The...

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Engaging The Bodhisattva Precepts: a talk by Leland Shields on October 8, 2017

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Zen Talks | Comments Off on Engaging The Bodhisattva Precepts: a talk by Leland Shields on October 8, 2017

It seems civility is violated daily in our public discourse. White supremacists seem newly emboldened as we saw in Charlottesville. Early this year in our own state, respected professor Bret Weinstein objected to a proposed demonstration on the Evergreen State College campus, and received death threats. Also this year, the Dallas News reported that Representative Tony Tinderholt received death threats over his bill to abolish abortion. More recently and while I was writing this talk, yet another senseless mass shooting occurred, this time in...

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