Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing -Believing

You should know that so far as buddha-nature is concerned, there is no difference between an enlightened man and an ignorant one. What makes the difference is that one realizes it, while the other is ignorant of it.
The Platform Sutra of Hui-neng, Wong Mou-Lam & A. F. Price
Thanks to Ted Biringer, The Flatbed Sutra blog fame, for the above quote 

I looked for a picture to express this "knowing-believing title but could not find one that was suitable, so being a first time grandparent, well, you get the picture.
Anyway, there is so much to say about knowing and believing. The discussion could go on for a long time. But in my  spiritual journey, just "believing" does not work for me anymore. I need to know, I need to experience something for myself. I need to own it. It needs to be mine. 

Here's the bump in the road I trip over though. 

There has to be some kind of "believing" in order to be motivated to do what you can do, so you can "know". It seems to me (and this has been my Christian experience) that too many people just stop at "believing". They just receive what has been given without serious work on their part to "own" it for themselves. Yes, that is a generalized statement. Yes, there are Christian mentors in my life that have done the hard work of "working out their own salvation" and they have made an impact in my life. In fact, they are the ones who gave me the freedom to begin this practice of Zazen. 

Nine bows to them! 

I'm rambling now. I was afraid to start this reflection for this very reason. One could go on and on about it.

This is not an Us vs Them. This is about discovering the truth for all of us, which in the end resides in all of us, from the beginning until the end. If there is a beginning and an end.

The difference is the "ignorance".

Sentient beings are numberless
I vow to save them all


Saturday, October 30, 2010


This is my granddaughter Caroline, seven days old. I think it takes a while for babies to be able to focus with their eyes. I wonder though, if she could see with focused eyes, would she see what we see now or would she see what we saw before all the conditioning?

What a wonderful new teacher in my life!

Nine bows to you Caroline,

Monday, October 25, 2010

What Is This "Kingdom"?


13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

What is this "kingdom" Jesus speaks about? 
Is it a place to BE?
Is it a way to SEE?

John Lennon - Imagine

Saturday, October 23, 2010

There You Are Sweet Caroline - 10-22-2010

Is this the little one who reached out to me from the womb? Is this the little one who I have called to so many times over these past nine months? Well, it is! There you are Sweet Caroline. And good times never seemed so good!

May your life go well, Sweet Caroline
May you discover your gifts, Sweet Caroline
May you understand love before you give it, Sweet Caroline
May you receive love, genuine love, with open arms, Sweet Caroline
May you be blessed by all that is holy and sacred, Sweet Caroline
May your mind be full of wonder, amazement, not just as a child, but in all your days here on this earth, Sweet Caroline
May you forgive us as we fumble in our own imperfect ways to teach you about love, life and relationships, Sweet Caroline
May we be strong enough to let you be you and not something we have created in our own images, Sweet Caroline
May we not cling so tightly that we cripple your precious wings to fly into your own sky and be free, Sweet Caroline

Love and Happy Birthday (10-22-2010)


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spiritual Muscles

I recently started changing some of my exercise routine. "They" say this shocks the body and can get it jump started to the next plateau. At sixty, I'm just happy to be on a plateau, truth be known. Anyway, I switched up a little - walking, riding a stationary bike, elliptical all in one week. I usually just put in about five or six miles on the elliptical about five days a week. I actually felt some soreness in some muscles from this adventure, proving that I was challenging my body in some new ways.

I also changed my sitting schedule, thinking I need to jump start that in some new way. I went the whole week without sitting and just did some reading of some historical fiction. I had a friend who told me this week that my reading was too skewed. I had to agree with him on that. Since I had my new kindle, I decided to take his challenge and read outside the Zen box.

I want to thank my friend for the challenge. I have been lost in that book this week and learned some very interesting history about our country. You might say that I am a little more enlightened than I was last week.

I truly believe that Zazen is the most important practice I can do in this path that I am on. But if I become dogmatic about that, I forget about the myriad things.

To study the Buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
                                                Dogen - Genjokoan

I say all this to say that this week was a good week of practice.

9 Bows to the myriad things,



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Objectifying and Mu

tr.v. ob·jec·ti·fiedob·jec·ti·fy·ingob·jec·ti·fies
1. To present or regard as an object:
2. To make objective, external, or concrete:

American Heritage dictionary

How is it possible to answer the question, "What is mu?"

How about - "mu!"


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Caroline and the experience of intimacy

I cannot add any conceptualization to this "having a grandchild". Truly, when I think of Caroline it is all feelings, as was demonstrated in the dream I had about her. I could not see her or hear her but she was all around my neck. A profound intimate experience which I cannot put into words. I felt the love going out to her and the love coming in to me. Pure and clean. When I woke up, I knew it was her.

Kensho reaching out from the womb.