Buddha Bodhisattva Aspiration Action


Good morning!


After a long spell of dry hot days we at last had compassionate rain last evening. So, this morning we have a clear and calm Sunday sit in sesshin with fresh greenery and birds’ singing. Sesshin is touching the heart and embracing it, the Buddha heart – Shobozenzo Nehanmyoshin, the right Dharma-eye stored in the exquisite heart of nirvana, awakening in nirvana (no wind of karma).


Only in it we can have genuine compassion and comradery, friendship, knowing that we are karma machines, but can still karma and see the Dharma. We recited the four universal vows to save all beings, sever all defilements, learn all Dharmas, and achieve unsurpassed awakening. Bodhisattvas can live the fourfold divine life of friendship, compassion, joy, and equanimity.


All universal religions aim at reunion with the holy, wholly wholesome way world, but fall back into karmic sin, separation in small selfishness, because people do not know that they are karma machines and how to still karma to serve and save all. The Buddha saw the world deeply sunken in karma layers and doomed to destruction, and served it as a Bodhisattva all his life.


The future savior, would-be savior or everyone in potential, is expressed as Mitra, Mithra, Maitreya, Mazda, Massiah, Messiah, etc., meaning friend. Friends in need are friends indeed. Bodhisattvas are friends of all, with the practice of the four universal vows, the fourfold divine life, the Buddha-heart seal, the here and now with all for all in every action.

































































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Micro-micro Management Maintenance


Good morning!


We have a nice Sunday morning with a crisp, clear, and calm atmosphere, with birds singing in the bright sunlight, especially after our sitting and service. I have been thinking of changing the grass area to a veggie garden and ground cover. I used to use plastic to cover grass so it would die, but I found a plum tree’s branches are dead above the plastic; probably their root system had died.


I transplanted golden creeping Jenny on some grass-removed spots recently, and found it dried and dead, not well watered beyond the fence. We must take care of plants – seeded, sprouted, transplanted, etc. – with water, taking all factors into consideration. The above cases show us how to live and practice successfully – great perspective/knowledge and minute care-taking/action.


Our fallacy and failure are due fundamentally to the macro-micro fallacy and failure. Guns and nukes, for instance, are good only in individual micro-management, but not good in total macro-maintenance and perennial perspective. Isms, ideologies, beliefs, and convictions must be micromanaged and mindfully maintained in every concrete daily aspect and action, if real.


Our practice must be wholly wholesome, all-inclusive, healthy and happy for each as well. It is like two wings or wheels, inseparably functioning fully and freely, flying far and running remotely. The triple heart/mind of great, mature, and joyful heart/mind makes the triple body/world great, mature, and joyful with limitless life, light, liberation, and love.

























































The last two pictures were contributed by Ms. Erin K. Davis,

who kindly edit our blog manuscripts.

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Good morning!


We have a nice peaceful Sunday morning with our sittings and service. Yesterday I watched a program on Cinderella on the Discovery channel. It contained the portion of her stepmother cutting her daughter’s toes to fit into the shoe left at the palace. A commentator said that even today women do this, forcing to fit into society. Men also do this; humans are social animals.


Humans do this the most of all species, forcing to fit into the karma world, now making a pyramidal system with the five calamities of delusion, bondage, discrimination, exploitation, and destruction – me-ism, money-ism, militarism doomed to destruction with wars, nukes, warming, extinction, etc. We fit into the shoe of selfishness (nationalism, etc.), triple poisons, and the karma root.


The Buddha foresaw this and provided us with the Awakened Way by awakening in nirvana (no wind of karma). He told us to orient our minds from the source (yoni-so manasi-kāra). He truly oriented his mind and life from the source beyond karma, which is the only solution to all karmic problems and their suffering. Otherwise we are destined to disasters, destruction, and demise.


The Awakened Way is to cultivate and verify the culture of the five blisses of awakening, freedom, equality, love, and peace. Its concrete cultivation is sitting, stilling karma, and seeing the dharma of all dharmas – interdependent origination, intertwined bliss or calamities. Cultivation and verification is one. Let’s continue the practice of wholly wholesome free full function in fruition.

































The pictures below were sent by Mr. Noriyuki Otsuka from Japan





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Solid Sitting Samadhi Sesshin


Good morning!


After a long period with a lot of rain, we have a beautiful Sunday with calm surroundings and clear sky and comfortable sesshin. Sesshin means embracing the heart and mind and touching them. Have you noticed the four monkey picture in our kitchen? Tsugen Roshi drew the picture and put a poem on it, saying, “To no seeing, no hearing, and no speaking, no thinking is superior.” When we sit, we are like the three monkeys, but monkey minds go on.


Dogen’s Universal Recommendation for the Right Zazen says, “If there is even the slightest discrepancy, you become separated as far apart as heaven and earth. If the slightest liking and disliking arises, your mind is lost in confusion.” The monkey mind makes me-ism, making discrepancy and liking and disliking. These are the fundamental Triple Poisons, poisoning the earth losing the heaven. The fourth monkey sits in Zazen without monkey mind.


“Settle into the solid, steadfast, seated Samadhi. Fathom the unfathomed state? How do you fathom the unfathomed state? Fathomless. This is the essential art of Zazen.” In Zen Samadhi, there is no yardstick to fathom, small or large, self or other, etc. This is the direct way to the right target, pure peace or pure land. “The treasure house will open by itself, and you will appreciate and use it at will.” Pure-land or waste-land, treasure house or haunted house, depends on us.


If suddenly an earthquake or fire took place now, what would you do? Before thinking, we get out. When the world is on fire, what do you do? The Zen koan of “A step forward at the top of a hundred feet staff” advises us to step forward. The Brahma besought the Buddha to step forward into the world to avoid the destruction of the world. Forty-five years after his awakening, he never spent a day without the world. This is the Great Way, Bodhisattva Way.
























































































































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Practice and Perfection of Pure-land and Paradise


Good morning!


Have you been enjoying the spring season? Spring is the season for all to spring up – animals and plants. Yesterday I trimmed the hibiscus trees, which had self-seeded and spread from the hedge, or rather a forest 20 feet high, and were shading the evergreens next to the fence. They originally came from here, the only trees lining beyond the garage – the rest was only grassland. Their descendent are now making hedges here and there and spreading all around.


I saw that Fortune’s spindles or winter creepers, transplanted from here as ground cover, and also poison ivy, were climbing up trees, so I cut them down or dug them out. Good things may become bad things and bad things can become worse things. So, we must see far enough and serve early enough – seeding, planting, weeding, trimming, and eradicating for better gardening, farming, and living. Cultivation is verification. Practice makes perfect.


The Buddha taught us the Four Applications of decreasing and stopping bad karmas, starting and increasing good karmas. The fundamental bad karmas are the Triple Poisons of desire, divisiveness, and delusion. The essential good karmas are the Triple Learnings of morality, concentration, and prognosis (sīla, samādhi, prajňā), countering and ceasing them. Zen (jhāna) embrace them all in the realization of nirvana, unconditioned peace, or pure-land prior to plants.


Nirvana is the pure-land to awaken to the nature of plants and animals – karma-heirs, -owners, -machines, and -refuged – to wakefully manage and merit them. We can create the Garden of Eden or Paradise by cultivating the pure-land, planting and pruning with prognosis and perspiration. Our inner and outer worlds or hearts and home or Paradise and Purgatory correspond. So, let us continue our cultivation and verification or practice and perfection.





































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Nature Nurture


Good morning!


We have a beautiful spring Sunday morning with flowers, though the temperature goes up to over the 80s and 40s, with a fist-size hail storm – strange and scary. The last chapter title of Uchiyama Roshi’s The Heart of Nurturing Together is the same as the book title, giving the ground for his assertion based on the Buddhist teaching of life truth, before and beyond discrimination of self and other, subject and object, heart and world, etc.


He talked about the surprising stories of a visiting monk A talking courteously to him, but hautily to his disciple joined, a doctor B strong toward his patients and activities, but becoming weak after his wife died of cancer and dying soon after, a businessman C successful in his business, but failing in his son’s financial failures, complaining of his karma – perhaps epitomizing a feudal human relation, modern objectivism, and individual religious conviction.


We live our life truth of breathing, etc. before views and knowledge, with two facts: whatever way I fall is my life and the truth now met is a part of my life. Thus we must drive our life’s car freed from excessive thoughts, but full functioning with wakefulness. A child’s life is truth, an adult’s life is truth, but practice makes perfect for all to become true great persons, making true great societies, nurturing together as our own life unseparated and un-overwhelmed.


He quotes “Mayoku’s using a fan” from Dogen’s Genjo-koan, Realizing Universal Truth, and the Buddha’s advice at his last. Mayoku used his fan to realize everywhere-pervadedness of the universal truth of ever-pervading wind nature. The Buddha said, “Take refuge in the self and in the Dharma, not others.” We nurture together in the universal (universe-full life) truth (Dharma), beyond karma conventions and kinetics.




Note: When Mayoku Hotetsu was using his fan, his disciple came and said, “The wind nature is ever-pervading and everywhere-pervading, why do you further need to use a fan?” Mayoku said, “You know the ever-pervadedness of the wind nature, but do not realize the reason of everywhere-pervadedness of it,” The monk said, “How is the reason of the everywhere-pervadedness?” The teacher then only used the fan. The monk bowed.






















































































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Blooming Flowers, Bearing Fruits



Good morning!


Now irises are in full bloom here and outdoors. The flower heart seems the Heart of Nurturing Together by Uchiyama Roshi. The last part of its third chapter was the last part of a series that appeared in the monthly Comprehensive Educational Technique (Sogo Kyoiku Gijutsu) issued by Shogakukan. The book’s title was taken from the fourth chapter, added later, Tomoni Sodatsu Kokoro. Sodatsu may be literally “grow,” but it sounds like self-growth. “Nurture” sounds like other-nurturing, but the point is in Tomoni (Together), nurturing together (self and other, teachers and students).


The title this last part or series is A Little More Abundant Heart (Mou-sukoshi Yutakana Kokoro-wo). Education is not just educating students to make small persons into hungry ghosts, matter or money mongers, but to make great persons that blossom their life reality – before and beyond small self-identity, ever-changing and dynamic. It makes human societies truly great persons’ societies. So, A Little More never stops. Education is thus not just labor for money, but a Calling or Heavenly Occupation. It must educate children to “Break Own Desire,” not simply accelerating it endlessly, ending in disasters.


He says “Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls into the Earth and Dies” must be the motto of the educator’s calling. Bodhidharma traveled to China, crossing seas and passing over mountains for three years, and spent nine years sitting in Zazen facing the wall at Shaolin Temple, rejecting the power patronage of Emperor Wu. He educated “one or half a genuine person,” and his successors followed suit for six generations, then spread wide, making the basis of Oriental Culture. This is the true example of a grain falling and dying, without which there is no education – he believes.


The last section, “Let Each Child Bloom His Life Flower,” summarizes the twelve-month series A Little More Abundant Heart, showing this age of abundant living but, in inverse proportion, too poor in heart, ending in poor life. With bloody eyes we pursue gain and success, and the successful pursue more gain and those who fail complain of more loss. Presidents, premiers, or even People’s Republic leader, and candidates for them, seem so short-sighted, shallow, and selfish, how can we bloom and bear fruit?  Let everyone return to his or her life, and live the life of a violet or a rose or…

































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Wholly Wholesome Way World


Good morning!


Yesterday I read the section “Opening One’s Eyes on One’s Own Life,” in the book Nurturing Together by Uchiyama Roshi. He happened to turn on a TV in an inn. Five college students and two teachers seemed to disagree. A teacher said, “You should think of the grace of our society.” A student said, “I feel nothing of it.” The other students agreed, but the teachers just wondered. Uchiyama Roshi, himself like the students while young, would have told them to live without the clothes, food, and dwelling given by their society.


The subsection “The Great Person’s Eyes and Actions” says that we should not be cooked on the ground of societal promises (agreement/contract), like kids wanting the same toys as others, but “View from the Ground of Life Reality” in the great nature, striving fully in the original life living. He says that education must make the essence of religion, the “Opening the Eye on Life” already provided and functioning in all as its root, though sectarian religions are prohibited to be taught, to let the given life fully flower and fruit.


For half a day I cleared invasive choking vines that were spreading and getting rooted, covering bushes, climbing trees and shading them, following the ground cover plants and now taking them over. They are like the triple poisons of desire, divisiveness, and delusion, unique and typical of human karma conventions. We can pull out vines like honeysuckle with two fingers when they’re tiny, but it’s more difficult as they grow, even with one’s full strength or with deep digging. Chopping them only requires repeated removing.


Delusion of the separated substantial self is so strong in societies, we miss its fictitiousness, together with the fictitious bodies of the modern agents of states, corporations, media, education, and religions, now destroying the wholly wholesome way world with wars, nukes, global warming, mass extinction, etc. The paradigm shift from a uni-directional pyramidal civilization to a cyclical Indra-net culture is essential. It is now inevitable and imperative that we see, still karma and serve and save the Dharma (Norm) of all dharmas (forms).

























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Free Full Functioning


Good morning!


We have a sunny spring Sunday morning with our sesshin (embracing and touching the heart, 摂心・接心). Earlier this morning I saw the bright full moon, which represents the Buddha’s heart, calm and clear, illuminating the world. It is free from karma clouds and full in the dharma world in unconditioned peace (nirvana) and unsurpassed awakening (bodhi).


I worked weeding, cultivating, and sowing seeds yesterday until it got dark. I saw vines climbing over bushes and trees, shading, choking, and killing them, if not removed. Cognates of “freedom” in Sanskrit and Pali are priya-dhāman and piya-dhāman (familiar relation, lit. beloved domain), knowing karma and properly dealing with it for holiness (wholly wholesome way world).


This is from karma to dharma, or from preoccupation to prognosis. Recently there is road construction on Brentwood Boulevard. My karma leads to it unless I am wakeful and take precautions (prognosticate) for another route to Hanley Road, which is even faster but with fewer natural views. Especially in an advanced civilization with nukes, etc., we need awakening and prognosis.


We must sit still, still our karma, see, serve for the holy dharma, and save all in holiness, goodness, truth, and beauty.  Our full function freed through this cultivation and culture, we work for the wholly wholesome way world. As our karma is strong for survival since life started, we must strive for the salvation of all, saving the world from destruction, as the Buddha did.



















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Great Person’s Heart



Good morning!


We have a peaceful bright Sunday morning with abundant beautiful flowers, especially after our sitting and service. Magnitude 7.3 and 7.8 earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, however, took 42 and 246 lives. More are missing and many injured and evacuated. The Japanese quake caused an unusual chain of earthquakes in addition to hundreds aftershocks, with operating nuclear power reactors on the connected fault line. Why can’t they be stopped for life, not for money?


Uchiyama Roshi’s Fostering Together has a chapter on a great person’s (大人) heart, not a small person’s (小人), rather than an adult’s and child’s heart. He quoted an incident of a child at a temple he used to visit to give his talks. The child, accompanied by another child, happened to come to a brush fire on the way back home. He caught a puppy coming by and put it into the fire. His father, learning that his child killed the puppy, pondered seriously overnight.


He made a bonfire and, taking his child there, asked if it were true. He admitted it. His father picked up him and asked if it would be okay to put him into the fire. Listening to the child’s denial and clinging, he told him never to do it again. Uchiyama Roshi advises us to drive our life’s car interconnected well with brake and accelerator, moment by moment. He quotes the Buddha’s words coming out of the great person’s heart:


All tremble with violence; all are in dread of death.

       Comparing to oneself, don’t kill; don’t let others kill. 

The Dhammapada, 129


All tremble with violence; life is dear for all living beings.

       Comparing to oneself, don’t kill, don’t let others kill.  

The Dhammapada, 130


  As a mother protects her only child, even sacrificing her life,

        So generate the limitless heart for all living beings.

The Suttanipata, 149


The Buddha left the Great Person’s Eightfold Awakening as his last lesson to us. The first one is the “least desire with satisfaction.” The Four Holy Truths tell us that craving (taṇhā, lit. thirst) is the cause of suffering (du-kha, wrong-going, lit. dissatisfaction). Happiness consists in contentment. Civilization (craving for matter and power, lit. urbanization for comfort and utility) is itself the source of suffering. Cultivation (culture for life and heart) is itself joy.





















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