Book Excerpts, Texts, Japanese 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

Japanese Texts

Hakuin on Enlightenment – Never Ask Your Teachers to Explain

The experience of kensho or enlightenment is a subject that a lot of teachers prefer to distance themselves from talking about, as words put limits on the experience. Master Hakuin, however, was not one to shy away from such a challenge, and often tried to describe his own spiritual exploits to his students. He uses… Continue reading Hakuin on Enlightenment – Never Ask Your Teachers to Explain

Book Excerpts, Tibetan Texts

Spiritual Care Is The Essential Right of Every Human Being

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is one of the most widely read books about Buddhism, having sold more than three million copies since its publication in 1992. Since then, the reputation of the book's author Sogyal Rinpoche, has fallen into ill repute through various allegations of sexual and physical abuse. However, the wisdom… Continue reading Spiritual Care Is The Essential Right of Every Human Being

Chinese Texts, Texts, Zen Stories

Bodhidharma, Hui-k’o and Hui-k’o’s Arm

One of the most popular chapters in Zen lore, this scene between Bodhidharma, the first Zen ancestor in China, and the student who eventually became his successor, Hui-k'o, is a demonstration of the potential intensity and determination of a bonafide teacher-student relationship. Hui-k'o famously tracked Bodhidharma down to the Shao-lin Temple where he was residing… Continue reading Bodhidharma, Hui-k’o and Hui-k’o’s Arm

Indian Texts

Centreing – The 112 Ways to Open the Invisible Door of Consciousness (Part 8: 99-112)

This conversation between Shiva and his partner Devi is a teaching about self-knowledge that could be up to 5,000 years old. It features in a number of ancient Indian texts and has been rewritten countless times up until today. This version, taken from the collection, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, is a more recent English translation… Continue reading Centreing – The 112 Ways to Open the Invisible Door of Consciousness (Part 8: 99-112)