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More Zen Sayings
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9/18/09 5:17 AM
" Today's enlightenment is tomorrow's mistake "

RE: More Zen Sayings
Answer
9/23/09 4:36 AM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
Roshi was visiting from Japan to the location in China where his sect originated. He is an abbot with hundreds of temples in his jurisdiction. He is also a Zen calligrapher. When the locals in China discovered his gift for calligraphy they proclaimed "we have a calligrapher in our village too!" and brought him out. Here the burden is set down, here the burden is again picked up. This reminded Roshi of the famous Zen story "Old Calligrapher" It picks up where the other story, above, leaves off. They bring out Old Calligapher who proceeds to demonstrate his skill. He draws forth from his robe an old bamboo brush with only a few remaining hairs, all glued together with dried ink. He opens his mouth - just one tooth! - and proceeds to chew on the brush to soften it. Roshi, amazed, asks, "But how can you write with a brush like that?" Old calligrapher replies "one tooth full at a time!!"

RE: More Zen Sayings
Answer
9/25/09 5:00 PM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
The history of Japanese Zen makes an interesting study. While in China, Ch'an is very syncretic, absorbing Taoist, Tibetan, Shamanistic and Hua Yen, other Chinese philosophical schools, and Pure Land, once exported to Japan it tends to solidify and is less prone to mutation over the centuries. However, that does not mean that it does not act in a relationship with Shinto, Pure Land, and Vajrayana influences particular to Japan.

The way in which meditation practices is incorporated into the sect is also highly idiosyncratic. One may or may not be taught anything about meditation beyond sitting times, schedules, and correct, unmoving postures.

The general belief in Zen is that individuals have to work their own Zen out for themselves, including how to meditate. In Soto Zen, the branch initiated by Dogen after his journey to China, one sits just to sit. This is based on a polemic that everyone already possesses the essential interdependent ultimate of life but just doesn't know it. It is kind of like allowing the mind to be still and then the mud settles out kind of theory. Meditation retreats are usually for novices; intensive meditation practice is reserved mostly novices. Zen normally is not a path of life-long practice. But then there are always those who know better, and act accordingly. The history of Zen is a bit like the old testament prophets in that there is this herd mind-set moving in the wrong direction and periodically there is a great leader to emerge from the pack and get them moving again.

Zen in Japan has no hermit tradition, but in Korea and China it does.

In the west, Zen and Insight are often erroneously linked. Zen is Pure Land Mahayana with a strong emphasis on Prajnaparamita sutras, is opposed to gradualism, and accepts some kind of notion that Nirvana is already de facto attained. One takes Bodhisattva vows to promise to keep returning to incarnations until all sentient beings are saved.

p e a c e

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RE: More Zen Sayings
Answer
9/30/09 6:46 PM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
"There are two kinds of students of Zen, those that seeks solitude and meditation, and those who, without shaking the dust from their feet, enter the marketplace and help others. The latter is much appreciated in Zen circles."

RE: More Zen Sayings
Answer
10/15/09 1:42 AM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
Q: How does zazen benefit creativity?

A: Roshi: Zazen is very good for creativity!

Fukushima Keido Roshi, Head Abbott, Tofukuji Sect, Kyoto; in Lawrence, Kansas, at Spencer Art Gallery, University of Kansas 2002(?)

RE: More Zen Sayings
Answer
3/14/11 5:22 AM as a reply to Eric Alan Hansen.
This is a poem my Zen teacher recited for us during a Dharma talk on the subject of Impermanence, one day after Zazen:

...

"A flower does not talk" by Shibayama Zenkei (柴山 全慶, 1894 - 1974):

Silently a flower blooms,
In silence it falls away.
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place, the whole of the flower, the
whole of the world is blooming.
This is the talk of the flower, the truth of the blossom.
The glory of eternal life is fully shining here.

...

Zenkei was a Japanese Rinzai master.