Source of Limitless Life, Light, Liberation, and Love

 

Good morning!

 

Today is Mother’s Day, when we appreciate mothers’ grace. It’s said that a mother’s grace is deeper than the ocean; a father’s grace is higher than the mountain. Mothers bear, foster, and even sacrifice their lives for their babies. Haeckel’s biogenetical law is a symbolic expression of the billions of year evolutionary history of life in us through genetics.

 

Development is division, thus evolution is devolution with separation and specialization. Self sense for self-survival is the outcome of karmic sin (=separation), causing stress, sickness, and suffering, not only for oneself, but for all – global warming, mass extinction, and even nuclear holocaust at any moment by mishaps, miscalculation, and even one man’s madness.

 

Sitting still, stilling karma, seeing dharma, serving and saving all is the way to save us from the destruction of the world as the Buddha, Awakened One, advised us all. This frees us from small self, seeing holy (wholly wholesome) truth, peace, goodness, and beauty. Dogen said that if not with all, it is not the Awakened Way, where great, mature, and joyful hearts live.

 

Tathagata Garbha, (Womb/Source of Thus-being, Buddha) is in nirvana (no wind of karma), where anyone can become awakened to the Dharma (Norm of form, Law of phenomena) of Dependent Co-origination, i.e, all are interdependently originated (thus no separate, same, sovereign self) – limitless life, light, liberation, and love of mother of life, earth, and cosmos.

 

5/14/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Nirvana (windless: asankhata | Leave a comment

Triple Treasures

 

Good morning!

 

After successive rainy days with flooding, we have now a clear sunny Sunday sky. After successive sitting, we have now a clear calm world. We have the Triple Treasure, true treasure, anyone can enjoy any place at any time: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, true trinity, anyone should accomplish.

 

The Awakened One sees the Dharma, serve and settle in Sangha. Sangha is where one attains awakening and activate it. Pratyeka (Individualistic) Buddha misses this and misunderstands the Triple Treasure. Samyak-sambuddha (Right Complete Buddha) Sangha, Society at large.

 

The Buddha Gotama was always with the world to save it from disease and destruction. We live in the world of imminent nuclear holocaust at one man’s pushing a button or any mishaps. If it happens, neither Buddha nor Dharma would avail and available. Mass extinction, etc. will do the same.

 

Let’s work together, come together, communicate, contemplate, and construct our Sangha here, clean, cultivate, confer flowers, cook, contribute, cater food among members, friends, and neighbors, opening house and heart for ideas; “Three persons gathered make the wisdom of Manjushri.”

 

5/7/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Triple Treasures (Buddha/Dharma/Sangha) | Leave a comment

Practice Makes Perfect

 

Good morning!

 

Dogen said, “Even though this Dharma is abundantly endowed, it never develops without cultivation, it can never be attained without verification.” His Recommendation for the Right Zazen recommends that all cultivate and attain this Dharma, Buddha Dharma, Buddha nature. It is perfectly penetrating, free, pure, and here and now.

 

“If, however, there is even the slightest discrepancy, you become separated as far apart as heaven and earth.” Karma creates a discrepancy from the Dharma of nirvana and awakening. Zazen is stilling karma, seeing the Dharma, serving and saving all in freedom, purity, here and now. It is attained here and now, not anywhere else, any time else.

 

Freedom from karma frees all problems and sufferings produced by karma and allows anyone attain nirvana and awakening. The right form of Zazen allows anyone to become the true dragon, awakened one. Awakening in nirvana is the wish-fulfilling gem, enabling the treasure house, opened in its nature, to be appreciated and used at will.

 

In Zazen cultivation is verification, free function is full function, stilling karma is seeing the Dharma, the triple world is the treasure house in peace, purity, and prognosis. Only this practice here and now makes this possible. May all acknowledge the universal recommendation and attain unconditioned peace and unsurpassed awakening!

 

3/12/17

 

 

The following photos were taken and kindly sent by Mr. Noriyuki Otsuka,

Shimoda, Japan

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The following three photos of Mt. Fuji were taken on Feb. 12, 2017 C.E.

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The following three pictures of Mt. Fuji at dusk were taken 

from Fujinomiya, Japan in January, 2017 C.E.

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Posted in cultivation: verification (修:証), Nirvana (windless: asankhata | Leave a comment

Films Created by Our Members

Here are films our members created:
Produced by Cole Hieronymus:
1. Colorado | True Nature – Hier Films 
 
2. “Life is a Pattern.” – Alan Watts | Who are we?

https://youtu.be/qyJCIdniL7w

   (scenes from St. Louis region)
Produced by Dan Sadicario:
3. Meet Your Farmer: Blue Heron Orchard
Posted in Beauty: | Leave a comment

From Karma to Nirvana

 

 

Good morning!

 

We have now beautiful magnolias, daffodils, forsythia, plums, and pears blooming according to the universal natural law. However, humans are now blasting the holy harmony of the natural world due to their individual karma idiosyncrasies. Only humans create wars, weapons, nukes, global warming, mass extinction, etc., causing suffering not only among themselves, but for all others, leading to the destruction of the world.

 

The Four Sufferings are birth, sickness, aging, and death, and the Eight Sufferings are these four plus not acquiring the desired, parting with the beloved, meeting the hated, and, in short, the rampant raging of the Five Aggregates. The Two Roots or Sources of sufferings are craving and nescience (delusion of a separated self, identification, lit. no witness, of the selfless nature of all), which are the prime movers (karma) of suffering and samsara.

 

The Triple Poisons of delusion, divisiveness, and desire poison all to perish. Karma (cognate of ceremony, formations) creates psycho-physical systems (Five Aggregates and their worlds), their actions, habits, and heredities, recreating these cycles. Karma (forms and formations as the Five Aggregates and the Triple Poisons in the Twelvefold Dependent Co-origination) is the fundamental problem to be recognized and resolved. Karma solutions is in stilling karma.

 

Zazen stills karmas (old and new physical, verbal, and mental actions, habits, etc.), leading to nirvana (no wind, of karma) and awakening (witness, prognosis) in it, which he attained and actualized. In Dogen’s Universal Recommendation of Right Zazen we read, “Learn the right form and never doubt the true dragon…The treasure house will open by itself, and you will appreciate and use it at will (nyoi).” Those who have the nyoi-shu, wish-fulfilling gem are dragons.

 

3/5/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Paradigm shift | Leave a comment

Shikoku Pilgrimage 2016 by Garyo, 35

 

 


Closing the Circle (temples 1,2,3 and Koyasan)

 

 

It took me two days to return to the first three temples (45km).  On the second day

it was raining so hard, that I was totally wet when I arrived in Gokurakuji (temple 2).

In Gokurakuji, the temple of Pure Land, I stayed overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorful schoolchildren walking in the rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

A temple I passed on the way

 

 

Coming back to the first three temples was a great experience.  I remembered the

stress I felt in the beginning of the pilgrimage and could enjoy the atmosphere now

much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pagoda of Ryōzenji

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main hall of Ryōzenji (temple 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two story pagoda of Konsenji (temple 3) surrounded by lush, green trees

 

It was sucha contrast to the wintry scenes weeks before!

 

Gokurakuji has a nice garden with a Cedar tree over a thousand years old.  It is said

that Kōbō Daishi planted it himself. The tree is known as “Chomeisugi, Long Life

Ceder,” and pilgrims pray for long life. In Gokurakuji, I stayed overnight in the

shukubō. To my surprise, I met Ella again.  It was great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The temple had also a rock with the footprints of Buddha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of Buddha’s footprints expressing Buddha’s life, practice and teachings as a

wanderer. The marks were most probably added gradually starting with the Dharma

wheel. The seven auspicious marks as shown here seems to start from the heel – the

dawning (awakening) over the mountains, forming the Triple Treasures, spreading

the Dharma, sharing and enjoying limitless light, life, liberation and love.

 

I related to the feet of Buddha very much.  I thanked my own feet for their support,

for each step bringing me forward and closing the circle. I thought about Daikai-

san’s words in the Zen monastery saying, that in the Zen way, it is the body that

teaches the mind. My feet, on this 800 miles long pilgrimage, were my teachers.

After leaving Shikoku, I stayed for three nights in Koyasan. I was lucky that

Hongakuin, the temple I stayed in at the beginning of my pilgrimage, had a place

for me. In Hongakuin, I also left my staff.  This was hard.

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The entrance gate to Hongakuin

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the corridors of Hongakuin

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from my tatami room out into the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soji, a student helper, serving food

 

 

In this temple, the food is brought to your own room. It was delicious!

I spent my three days in Koyasan visiting the many temples. In the Okunoin

(cemetery), I met a nice group of Japanese women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okunoin with moss covered grave markers

 

 

 

 

 

 

The huge, ancient Cedar trees were most impressive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Konpon Daitō (Original Great Pagoda)

 

 

Kōbō Daishi originally designed this pagoda, built in 816. The area where the pagoda

stands is called Danjo Garan (Temple on Platform, lit. Platformed Monastery).

Shingon priests perform many rituals and ceremonies in front of the buildings being

erected on this sacred ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danjo Garan bell tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shingon priests reciting Sutras in front of one of the buildings of the Danjo Garan

 

 

At the end of my pilgrimage, I visited again the Okunoin (Mausoleum, lit. the Hall of

Depth) of Kūkai. I thanked him for my safe travel, for the beauty I could experience,

for the wonderful people I met and for everything that happened on the Ohenro-no-

michi (Pilgrim’s Path).

 

I want to also thank you for walking with me as a reader and I hope that you enjoyed

it as much as I did.  In deep gassho, Garyo

 

 


We with all readers wish to express our great appreciation for Garyo’s travelogue

with intimate and intriguing pictures of her long wonderful walk and work.


Posted in Shikoku (Four States or Provinces) | Leave a comment

Shikoku Pilgrimage 2016 by Garyo, 34

 

 

 

Ōkuboji, temple 88

 

 

Just opposite of Nagaoji (temple 87), I stayed overnight in the Ryokan Azumaya

The lady of the house was extremely nice and served for breakfast an egg with two

yolks.  “Dōgyō-ninin” she said, meaning “ same practice, two people”.  The second

yolk was for our protector, Kōbō Daishi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The egg yolk with the lightly beaten egg white mixed with rice tastes really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady owning the Ryokan Azuyama

 

 

Temple 88 is located on Mt. Nyotai (800m). On the way up, I passed the Maeyama

Dam and some beautiful rice fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last part of the hike to the top of the mountain was very steep and wild. I thought

that I had lost my way.  The only signs were in Japanese so I could not read them.

To my surprise, in the middle of the forest, a monk was sweeping the forest path and

ensured me that I walked in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some parts near the summit required climbing up metal rungs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temple 88 is located passed the summit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ōkuboji, the temple of the big cave, is the last temple of the Shikoku pilgrimage.

At the entrance gate, I met a pilgrim with a red name slip, indicating that he did the

whole pilgrimage between 8 – 24 times. During my pilgrimage, I got from different

pilgrims two brocade name slips (indicating they had done the pilgrimage over 100

times), several golden name slips (between 50 – 99 times) and one silver one (25-

49).  These name slips are supposed to have special powers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohenro with a red name slip

 

 

Beside the calligraphy written in the pilgrim’s book (nōkyōchō) and the leaf I got in

each temple, the monk in the last temple was writing a certificate that I finished the

Shikoku pilgrimage by visiting all 88 temples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many pilgrims leave their staff (kongōzue) in this place.  It is said that Kūkai left his

own Shakujo (monk’s sounding staff, lit. tin stick) staff in this place after returning

from China.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place where the Ohenros leave their staff after finishing the pilgrimage

 

 

The fee is 1000 yen (about $ 10).  I continued my pilgrimage back to temple 1 –

3, closing the circle.  Therefore, I did not leave it in Ōkuboji.

 

It was a very nice surprise to meet Ella again.  We celebrated the finishing of the

pilgrimage together.  Overall, I was grateful that I was able to walk it but sad at the

same time that this wonderful time was nearly over.  I expressed my gratefulness

by lightening candles and incense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Shikoku (Four States or Provinces) | Leave a comment

Public Talk & Discussion On Paradigm Shift:

Public Talk-Discussion

On

Paradigm Shift: 

From Karma to Nirvana

 

7411861-lotus-flower-isolated-on-white-background

 

SCHEDULE:

1:3– 1:35                      Introduction: Leonora Kham

 

1:3– 3:30  From Karma-delusion to Nirvana-awakenin

                   Dr. Rosan Yoshida: Director, Missouri Zen Center                              

From Ego-global warming to Eco-life healing

DrBenjamin de FoyProfessor , St. Louis University

 From Nuke Winter to Nukeless Spring

  MT, MPH. Steven Starr: Professor, University of Missouri, Columbia

  

From National System Ethic to Global System Ethic

 Dr. David Oughton: Professor, St. Louis University

 

3:30-4:00              Panediscussion, Q&Aconclusion

 

4:00-4:30                                      Refreshment

                             

 SATURDAY,  MARCH 11, 2017

 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 pm

 Fo Guang Shan St. Louis Buddhist Center

 3109 Smiley Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044

    For more information, call (314) 517-0468

    http://www.buddhistcouncilstl.net

    OPEN TO PUBLIC

    FREE OF CHARGE

Posted in Paradigm shift | Leave a comment

Shikoku Pilgrimage 2016 by Garyo, 33

 

 

 

A Sense of Time (temples 85 and 86)

 

 

When walking out of Takamatsu City, one of the reliefs on a bridge showed an

ancient warrior fighting on a horse, telling the story of the defeat of the Taira clan

in a naval battle in 1185. I was surprised that in Japan, the memory of battles is still

alive after nearly 1000 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The scene above depicts the famous samurai Nasuno Yoichi  (1169 – 1232) in the

battle of Yashima (1185, when Heishi, Taira clan, was defeated and Genji, Minamoto

clan, established Kamakura Shogunate).  He became particularly famous for one

action: Sitting on a horse in the wavy waters, he aimed at fan atop a pole on a ship.

(It was placed there by the Taira clan to challenge the Minamoto clan, the enemy).

With a single shot, he hit the target. Later on, Nasu became a Buddhist monk and

founded a temple.  For hundreds of years, this temple was handed down to the

next generation, until the temple was destroyed during World War II.

 

Legend says that the pond at Yashimaji turned red after the warriors, who fought at

this battle, washed their swords in this pond. Relics of the battle can be seen in the

Treasure house of Yashimaji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rurihō-no ike, Pond of Emerald Jem or Pond of Blood in Yashimaji

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shishi-odoshi (scaredeer), an art object by the artist Jin Hasegawa, was exhibited

after the entrance gate of Yashimaji.  It looked a bit lost and scared itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The temple grounds also show two large, stone images of Minoyama Daimyojin, a

tanuki (raccoon dog) that is able to change shape and assume other forms. Legend

says that a tanuki changed into the form of an old man meeting Kōbō Daishi.

Tanuki are also said to have taken part in the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895).

The main hall nearby is a 15th century construction and a cultural Treasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Yashimaji, I also met Marylin, a Canadian woman who did the whole pilgrimage

by camping and sleeping in the rest huts provided for the Ohenros.  We immediately

bonded.  It would have been great having met her earlier on the trek.

 

On the way to Yakuriji (temple 85), I visited the Isamu Noguchi museum. Noguchi

was an American/Japanese artist.  In a book called “The voice of Isamu Noguchi”,

he stated that Japan needs to teach the world a sense of time, a time which goes in

all directions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes in a garden’s trees and rocks take place with the flow of time, he says. They

change as humans change. The purpose of a sculpture is to teach human beings

nature.  I love his philosophy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yakuriji nestled against powerful cliffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two story pagoda in Yakuriji

 

It was already late in the afternoon when I arrived at Shidoji (temple 86).

Untrimmed trees and shrubs and many flowers were surrounding the temple halls

where the little son of the priest was chasing butterflies. I immediately felt connected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five story Pagoda at Shidoji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alert and with big eyes, the son of the priest was looking at me.

Posted in Shikoku (Four States or Provinces) | Leave a comment

Shikoku Pilgrimage 2016 by Garyo, 32

 

 

 

Setouchi Triennale 2016

 

 

On my 88-temple pilgrimage, I kept walking nearly every day. There were two

exceptions, however -one was the 8 days long stay in the Zen temple Zuioji and the

other one was in Takamatsu City, where I wanted to visit the Setouchi Triennale.

This International art festival is held every three years on 12 islands around

Takamatsu.  It was created to bring vitality and life back to an area, which lost

importance in the time of globalization.

 

Unfortunately, I arrived on the last day of the festival. I did not see most of the art

objects.  However, what I saw was stunning, inspiring and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Borders – the Ocean by Lin Shuen Long from Taiwan

 

 

The art object depicts a floating seed and is placed near the harbor of Takamatsu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of the root of the floating seed with a golden statue in the center

 

 

I spent a whole day with Ella, my French pilgrimage friend, exploring the islands of

Naoshima and Teshima.  In Naoshima, we saw the Red Pumkin and the Naoshima

Pavilion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Pumkin by Yayoi Kusama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light play inside the Red Pumkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naoshima Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto at the Marine Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teshima Art Museum by the architect Ryue Nishizawa and the artist Rei Naito

 

 

This building is a fusion of architecture, art and nature.  It offers an amazing space

inside with totally white walls and floors and the sky and tree tops coming into the

building through the huge, round opening at the ceiling. The building could only be

entered barefoot. Silence was required. The Teshima Art Museum symbolizes the

flow of seasons and the passage of time. I was not allowed to make a photo, but the

visitor center nearby could be photographed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitor center of Teshima Art Museum overlooking the Seto Inland Sea

 

 

The artist Mariko Mori created a fascinating art project.  The path to the object was

leading through a jungle like forest area. The monument, called Tom Na H-iu

symbolized life and death and was placed in the middle of a pond.  It was connected

to an observatory recording supernovas.  Every time a star exploded (death of a star),

the monument glowed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Na H-iu by Mariko Mori, the artistic recorder of supernovas

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Archive du Coeur by Christian Boltanski was a similar project recording the

heart beats of humans and connecting them to a light bulb in a huge, dark room.

With every heartbeat, the light went on.  I recorded my own heartbeat and it was

fun to see the rhythm and the power of the heartbeat in a visual form.

 

 

 

 

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