Indian Texts, Sutras

"What is the Middle Way that Leads to Self-Awakening?" Buddha's First Talk Setting the Wheel of Dharma in Motion

The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta recounts the very first talk the Buddha gave to a small group of his friends after he became enlightened. The story goes that he initially wanted to refrain from trying to articulate his experience that started under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, but that upon meeting his former spiritual companions at the… Continue reading "What is the Middle Way that Leads to Self-Awakening?" Buddha's First Talk Setting the Wheel of Dharma in Motion

Dogen, Japanese Texts, Texts

“When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa

Last week we published the Jijuyu Zanmai, which is the second part of the first half of Master Dogen's Bendowa, the first text to be written in casual Japanese to explain the Zen Dogen had learned in China under Master Rujing. This text is the very first part of the Bendowa that precedes the Jijuyu… Continue reading “When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa

Dogen, Japanese Texts, Texts

Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

The Jijuyu Zanmai is the second section of the first part of Dogen's Bendowa - 'The Endeavor of the Way' and concerns the experience of zazen itself. The whole text of the Bendowa is held in high esteem as being Dogen's best and most comprehensible explanation of his understanding of Zen and the Dharma. There are… Continue reading Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

Chinese Poetry, Chinese Texts, Poetry

Chuang Tzu’s Action and Non-Action

The true stillness that is at the root of human wisdom and the Taoist endeavor is a positive state, in as much as it is not the absence of anything nor a resistance to anything. Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu, author of foundational Taoist texts, writes in this poem: "The sage is quiet because he is not… Continue reading Chuang Tzu’s Action and Non-Action

Book Excerpts, Japanese Texts, Texts

Master Daito’s Original Face

Daito Kokushi (also known as Myocho Shuho) was a monk born in Japan just a generation or so after Dogen's death and is widely celebrated in the Rinzai tradition. The founder of Daitoku-ji monastery - which still stands today - Daito is best known for the (probably apocryphal) tale of his decision to shun institutional… Continue reading Master Daito’s Original Face

Book Excerpts, Chinese Texts

Those Who Seek the Way Must Enter it With the Suddenness of a Knife-Thrust

"If you would only rid yourselves of the concepts of ordinary and Enlightened, you would find that there is no other Buddha than the Buddha in your own Mind," wrote master Huang Po in 9th century China. As the master of Linji Yixuan, founder of the Rinzai school, Huang Po is in many ways considered… Continue reading Those Who Seek the Way Must Enter it With the Suddenness of a Knife-Thrust

Book Excerpts, Christian Texts

Blinded by the Sun – St Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila was a 16th century Spanish mystic who experienced visions and raptures throughout her life and who emphasized the importance of continuing contemplative, intimate prayer. In this excerpt from her autobiography, she contrasts  material wealth with spiritual riches and uses the metaphor of the shining sun as the source that illuminates that… Continue reading Blinded by the Sun – St Teresa of Avila

Indian Texts

In the beginning there was darkness concealed in darkness

A collection of ancient Sanskrit Vedic hymns dating back more than three thousand years, the Rig Veda represents a very early stage in the development of the Vedic tradition. This passage narrates the origin of life from a state of 'not-being nor being' when desire, 'the mind's first seed' rose up and the bond of… Continue reading In the beginning there was darkness concealed in darkness

Book Excerpts, Korean Texts

What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Seung Sahn was the first Korean Zen master to come to live and teach in the West. His style borrowed from a number of different Buddhist traditions, particularly Rinzai. The book, 'Dropping Ashes on the Buddha' is a collection of his teachings that happened both in person as well as through correspondence - a way… Continue reading What is Death? You Are Already Dead

Chinese Texts, Japanese Texts, Texts

When One Can Know What is the Truth of the Heart

The most effective religious or philosophical texts are the ones that transcend time and culture and get to the core of the human situation which is timeless, no matter where and when in the world we live. Daikaku Zenji (Chinese name - Lanxi Daolong) was a monk and master who traveled from his birthplace in Western China… Continue reading When One Can Know What is the Truth of the Heart