Triple Treasure Treading Tasting



Good morning!


We have a clear, cool, and calm Sunday morning, especially after our sittings and service. Sitting gives us holy (wholly wholesome) harmony, health, and happiness. Buddhists have the Triple Treasures to enjoy intimately with all here now, where we take refuge – not outside, only to look or never use as are worldly treasures. They are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha all integrated.


The Buddha was awakened to the Dharma (of all dharmas) of Dependent Co-origination, i.e., all (dharmas) are dependently originated and ceased on limitless causes and conditions. He wakefully lived embodying the Dharma and led all to awakening in truth and peace for and with all as the Sangha, thus we see the Sangha was not made only after the five mendicants joined.


The Dharma of Dependent Co-origination is the source of all Buddhist principles and practices. The Four Holy Truths are the fundamental application of it in origination (of suffering), cause (craving), cessation (of it in nirvana), and paths (for nirvana). The Holy Eightfold Path for laymen (and the Sevenfold Awakening Limbs for renouncers) is the Triple Learning.


The Sangha in concrete forms is composed of renouncers and laymen, taking different forms and functions according to time and space, temporary places for rainy season practice gathering, donated monasteries, refuge monasteries (from persecution, for survival, service with production, etc.), huts, temples, etc. Sangha is essential to let the Dharma live on, especially in the doomsday.












































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Living Awakened Life


Good morning!


We have a calm and cool Sunday morning after sittings and service. The Buddha called sitting meditation the “come and see way, good in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end.” He was said to hold up a flower and Mahakashyapa smiled, thus transmitting the Buddha’s Way. This reflects the Brahma’s Beseeching of him to go out into the world to transmit it, to save the world from destruction. The Buddha, seeing the world sunken deeply in karma, was first reluctant to go into the world, but, seeing some lotus flowers blooming above muddy water, was determined to teach the Awakened Way.


We are heading to the destruction of the world with wars, nukes, mass extinction, global warming, etc. The Doomsday Clock is only 3 minutes before doom; nuclear warheads target us and nuclear power plants can melt down anywhere. Terrorism can strike anytime. Here we watch shooting sprees, policemen killings, and the killing of policemen. Pyramidal systems are everywhere, with delusion, bondage, discrimination, exploitation, and extermination. Militarism, materialism, money-ism, and the root me-ism are more and more marching toward devastation, destruction, and demise.


Our problems and sufferings are all in the muddy water of the Triple Poisons of desire, divisiveness, and delusion. They are in the darkness but mistaken as our nature and rights. Only when lotus flowers come out of the muddy water, can they see their true nature blooming – beautiful and good, holy (wholly wholesome) and harmonious – undefiled by muddy water. The way to do so is to clearly know that the muddy water is our karma world and to calmly deal with karma. The Fourfold Applications or Dedications are to decrease and stop bad karmas, and to start and increase good karmas.


The Fourfold Holy Truths and the Eightfold Holy Ways are well-known application of them. The Fourfold Holy Truths or Realities are of suffering, the source of suffering, cessation of the source of suffering, and the way to cease the source of suffering. The source of suffering is identified as craving or thirst, and cessation as nirvana. Nirvana (or nivāta, as in nivāte padīpa: lamp in no-wind) is no-wind, i.e., no karma-wind. In stilling karma, we can walk the path of right view, thinking, speech, action, livelihood, striving, mindfulness, and concentration. Thus, we can live Buddha’s Way as buddhas.







































































































Posted in Awakened Way (Buddhism), Karma World, Nirvana (windless: asankhata | Leave a comment

From Separated Sick Suffering to Holy Healthy Harmony


Good morning!


We have a peaceful Sunday morning after sitting and service. On the front path a huge branch, about 50 feet long, has fallen. It is hollow and fell perhaps overreaching or by some sort of storm. An oak tree fell at our back porch, and now at our front porch. Trees can grow huge and fall when their times come.


Recently Dr. Robert Morrell, a longtime Washington University professor of Buddhism and a benefactor and member of our center, passed away. The last time we met he seemed well and gave no sign of something of this sort. We often experience the unexpected decease of others, and maybe our own.


In answer to the often asked question “what is the significance of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West,” Joshū replied, “A cypress tree in the garden.” Trees sit solid, stand soaring, stay strong, serve all in harmony with all – the earth, water, air, light, heat, chill, living and lifeless beings.


Many people have back pain. I came to know that work rather than rest cures, aligning the displaced disc from stooping to straightening (sitting, hanging, etc.). When we change separated sick suffering to holy healthy harmony, we live and die without doubt, dread, disease, destruction, etc.










































































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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.

Posted in cultivation: verification (修:証), Wholly Wholesome Way/World | Leave a comment

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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