Monday, December 29, 2008

the midst

we are in the midst of a world in union and the separation of thought. do we see an image, or do we exist in the moment? there is no outside nor is there a tangible inside, yet we make this and it has somehow come to exist as our world of thoughts. there is a dance in which we circle round and round till we come back to the place where we began. humanity is the essence running through all of our veins, so why call others by a name? if we must use a name, just call you me; and know that I am you. love is like the transcendent blue sky, ideas are merely clouds forming and dissipating in the clear blue sky. the clear blue sky is always present and never denies the clouds from forming, yet when the clouds must leave the sky is never holds on. be the sky and let the misty places pass of their own volition. be as the unborn essence of your original existence within the timeless grace of the dance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

christmas 2007

two thousand five hundred and sixty three years ago- a sage appeared who vowed to save us from this state of dis-ease and life’s seeming un-satisfactoriness. now, for eighty generations teacher after teacher, student after student, has passed on the obvious truths of this instruction. the simple and the profane, the obvious and the hidden, what must we do to awaken, from our sleeping malaise? we merely are conduits of the eternal truth, if we have awoken to the eternal truth, the realization that my life is not my own leads to the understanding that I must help to ferry across all sentient beings for there is no separation of my self. there is nothing special in awakening to this moment, yet the awakening is beyond thinking and beyond our thoughts. jesus said to his disciples; “through me life can be gained, only through my life can union with God be assured!” what is this teaching of mysterious wonder and uncertainty? we have come to this life with no possessions and no ideas to be achieved. why do we now wish to pervert the procession and corrupt it with our thoughts?

winter solstice

jesus was born in spring not during the winter solstice which is celebrated by us. legend becomes story and the story becomes fact, but we must realize that within the realm of the truth, this season is about love. love between us and ours, love between life and us, love between the present moment and the realization that we can always become a better person. so try, try, try, for ten thousand years to be the best that you can ever be.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

what is a belief?

what is a belief? for we hold them so tightly that we are willing to cause the most inhumane suffering for them. we attach and we hold and then we separate ourselves from the brilliant love that shines and yet we are blind to its brilliance.. why is this so? we don’t want to connect to our own self made suffering, we would rather blame it on the most convenient thing that appears. we are love, please touch it now. we are compassion, please look in the mirror and acknowledge your own pain. we are teachers, please learn the lessons being presented. and most of all, just know that love is ultimately all there is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beyond Ideas

beyond ideas of right and wrong, beyond the essence or the very edge of our thinking, lies the nature of our very existence. should we come with an idea, we should gently let it go, should we come with an expectation, we should kindly yield to this moment. I came to Zen full of suffering and pain, and through the gentle guidance of our master I have found peace. it is now time for each of us to learn how to be the gentle giant of a man he is, and how to guide in his shadow and support his great legacy for the generations to come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

silver and gold

silver and gold shimmering silver moon, sparkling white clouds. hiding—then illuminating then highlighting the glowing silver orb. what life lives in eclipse of yellow sun and silver moon. one reflects the other, but which one gives life? does the sun give life to the moon, or does the moon reflect life into the sun? in this life only one choice do we have. let go— silver light reflects from the golden source. silver and gold are one and the same.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Suzuki Roshi

green mountains and blue sky, ancient sequoias stand like sentinels along a meandering creek. deep in the forest moss and lichen cover the trees, a carpet of leaves offered below my feet. wild turkeys roam in a small intimate group. a family of deer graze just up ahead. down the trail, to the right— stands Suzuki Roshi’s stupa. offer incense, then wait just maybe an hour or so. a long time ago Roshi said: “we die and we do not die, I think this the correct understanding.” then I realize, like a drop of water he has returned to the river. Roshi asks me quite softly, “are you a drop of water, or have you entered the stream?” my answer is quite simple, “how may I help you?” because, of course; this river runs through each one of us— in an unending flow.
written during a solo retreat at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center thanks to my friend Jakusho Kwong roshi

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trungpa Rinpoche

being no–one, going no–where, a light rain falls on my head. mist envelops the mountain tops. the staff in my hand steadies the trail down. sitting with Trungpa I chant the Great Dharani; circumambulating the Stupa rain splashes from it’s roof. upon parting transcending the three worlds, vowing to become Buddha and save all beings; the mantra of shattering Hell: om gar ra ji ja sa ba ha om gar ra ji ja sa ba ha om gar ra ji ja sa ba ha.
written during a solo retreat at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center thanks to my friend Jakusho Kwong roshi

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thousand Eyes and Hands

This video is a real treat!

why do we seek

why do we seek, when seeking leads to more seeking? it is just the mystery of what will unfold into the presence of now. and, are we happy with what we have or do we compare what it is with what we think? this is the paradox of living in this moment and not knowing what is now. poem: dochong, jdpsn
photo: Nanhuasi Mountains, Shaoguan, PRC by dochong, jpdsn

Friday, October 31, 2008


leaving and carrying the marks of unfulfilled longing an extinguished candle that finds no place of familiarity unity of senses the mirrored door has opened perfect and imperfect are lost within seeking unraveled the strings of beauty’s veil leaving nothing but threads for those who can see my heart longs to love just one has fallen knowing no reward but the craving for one not a coward of love yet knowing a heart once full of pride has resigned version by dochong jdpsn

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

not knowing

I don’t profess to know anything, I just only realize that love is fleeting and connecting to that is rare and precious. I will always carry it and will try to honor that love even though it seems painful at times I do know that in the end there is nothing but this love in life dochong, jdpsn

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jagjit Singh

Through a close friend who is a Jain, I discovered the poetry of India. I simultaneously found Ghalib from Robert Bly and my friend Manisha. Through all of this I also discovered Jagjit Singh who revived the Ghazal in India in the late 1950's. I thought I'd share my faviorite Ghazal he has performed with you all. I had the pleasure of attending one of his public concerts in Long Beach, CA back in 2006.

Living incarnation of Rumi

today there is a negative image of Pakistan put forth by John McCain as well as even Barak Obama, yet the greatest saint and performer of the twentieth century lived and prospered there. Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, was the greatest sufi vocalist of all time. Here is a sample of what you have been missing by listening exclusively to all that top ten radio. Just know that his music infused mainstream america in the soundtracks of "Dead Man Walking" and "Natural Born Killers" as well as being an inspiration to western artists like Peter Gabriel and Eddie Vedder.

Coleman and Robert

If you have never had the blessing to see Coleman Barks and Robert Bly read poetry together, you should try really hard to find them together. The blessings are infinite.

What Was Said to the Rose

I have had to honor to be in the presence of Coleman Barks and Robett Bly numerous times over the last ten years. They both have allowed us to view the divine. For you who have never ventured into this islamic torrent of love and bliss, have much to learn about the love religion.


I have to admit that the first time I heard this Ghazal sung was in the opening credits for the Spike Lee movie, "Inside Man" in March of 2006. The tune was really loud and catchy and everyone in the thearter was enjoying the song, eventhough it was being sung in Urdu. Inside Man was a 2006 crime-drama film directed by Spike Lee. It stared Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Willem Dafoe and Jodie Foster. I later discovered from my Indian friends that the song was from the Movie "Dil Se" and had an amazing video to go with it. Dil Se (Hindi: दिल से, Urdu: دل سے, translation: From the Heart) is a 1998 Hindi film directed by Mani Ratnam. I was so taken by the photography and the lyrics that I wanted to understand them. I studied numerous translations of the original "Urdu" and came up with a version that makes the most sense to me in english. It isn't a literary translation, but an attempt to convey the meaining of the poem in english. As-Salāmu `Alaykum (السلام عليكم) by Gulzar music by A. R. Rahman wandering inside love’s shadow with heaven beneath my feet. my head inside the shadow of love... walking within these shadows. floating inside heaven, walking within love's light. there is a friend who hangs on the air like the sweetest perfume, whose utterances are Urdu, a divine language of poetry, she is my evening, my night, my existence. this friend is my beloved! my beloved flirts like a flower, so fragrantly that you may catch her delicate scent. having now transformed into a charm, I hold her near to heart and skin. a simple miracle that sometimes becomes manifest. she is my song, my sacred declaration of faith she resembles a sacred treasure. her song... an ultimate affirmation of devotion... she appears like the dew on morning grass and walks with the garden of heaven beneath her feet, sometimes in the midst of branches, sometimes among the scattered leaves I catch drift of her trail upon the wind! I exist within her gorgeousness. for she is so unpredictable, moving shamelessly from sunlight into shadows. changing her brightly colored garments; I learn to follow this as well. If you aren't a regular fan of Hindi Movies I suggest you broaden your viewing to include of few now and then, and 'Dil Se' would be one I would put on your list. English version by Dochong, JDPSN

there is a song

there is a song that echoes within the halls of eternity and lifts us up beyond life’s mundane and trudging problems, the voice that we hear is of course our own and the melody has been played for millennia. the love that we glimpse upon this journey called life, the friends we hold dear make it all more enjoyable. yet the burden is our own expectation that we conceive of what we want or where a certain path should take us, and when we settle into the bliss of this very moment there is no this or that, only a moment so vivid and clear as to wipe all the worlds ideas clean of the confusion that we are.
photo: by Paul Lynch, JDPSN "Beach Stupa at San Onofre State Beach"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

life knows

bad days find themselves eventually in the midst of good days. yesterday’s woes are tomorrows opportunities and discoveries. a good situation doesn’t show us the way, a bad situation holds the problem in front of us. we can’t ignore the pain, it won’t let go— enter the pain to find a door, the door isn’t an escape, it’s path leads to directly to the source. follow this path into the pain, and there in the center you will find your true self. don’t judge, just relax— life knows what to do.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

we fool ourselves

we fool ourselves
with an idea, and we think that there is some future time that exists outside of the present that is so clear and transparent that we can dis-regard all that it has become for our ideas create an alternate reality that although imagined will never exist.
dochong, jdpsn
photo: Angkor Wat and Dochong, JDPSN

Chapter Two Dao De Qing

二 章 天 下 皆 知 美 之 为 美 , 斯 恶 已 。 皆 知 善 之 为 善 , 斯 不 善 已 。 有 无 相 生 , 难 易 相 成 , 长 短 相 形 , 高 下 相 盈 , 音 声 相 和 , 前 后 相 随 。 恒 也 。 是 以 圣 人 处 无 为 之 事 , 行 不 言 之 教 ﹔ 万 物 作 而 弗 始 , 生 而 弗 有 , 为 而 弗 恃 , 功 成 而 不 居 。 夫 唯 弗 居 , 是 以 不 去 。 Two When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other. Therefore the Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has but doesn't possess, acts but doesn't expect. When her work is done, she forgets it. That is why it lasts forever. Sorce: Laozu Original Chinese with English translation by Stephen Mitchell

Thursday, October 16, 2008

a moment of realization

there is only one moment of realization where all of our hopes and dreams seem to be overshadowed by the simple and yet profound reality of truth. we search, we seek, we desire, we long for, yet is not this search and quest to know ourselves? and is not the seeking a step into the present trying to find our essence? and is not our desire to be comfortable in our own skin? and is not the longing in our souls not just the manifestation of what we lost in our childhood. there is no ultimate savoir for any of us, we cannot find someone to help us transcend our own problems. this is a personal quest into the realm of eternity, where we begin to understand that we are only what we are. to try to be anything else is an exercise in futility.

photo: View from Haleakela, Maui, HI by Paul Lynch, JDPSN

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

lunch at yunmen’s diner

entering the dining room the abbot looks me in the eye and points to the seat next to him. how auspicious, how humbling seated with Dakchun, Maha Ghosananda, Wukwang Sonsa, Daekwang Sonsa. the abbot Dakchun is the perfect host attentive to all our needs Filling my bowl with food over and over and over I begin to wonder how to tell him I am full without offending him. Maha Ghosananda hold his hands with palms together “enough!” yes, of course it’s that simple the tea is refreshing as we wash our bowls. October 6, 1996 Yunmensi, P.R.C. 道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN photo: Mahaghosananda, Dakchun Fashi, Dochong, JDPSN, Peoples Republic of China, Yunmensi

furnace mountain

easter sunday––first day off in thirty friends said it would take five hours to drive from olney to clay city across the heartland through illinois, indiana and kentucky farms and fields in Indiana expansive and well maintained. it’s true about the blue grass in kentucky with ranches and horse corrals as far as the eye can see. seven hours have passed arriving at the gate nestled into the mountains of kentucky a beautiful korean monastery to every detail workers have paid meticulous attention the beauty of this building and the landscape is overwhelming sitting in the Buddha Hall bowing and chanting the reverberations of my voice and the echo of the moktak this room is chanting too the turkey vultures soar overhead a three legged dog roams the temple grounds. 道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN

one day retreat

saturday was an experience of silence and meditation shared and supported by eleven friends with diverse histories. stumbling into this practice for various reasons, some arrived to relieve the constant pain, while others came out of fear the craziness would return, and perhaps a few were there due to a deep question dwelling within. one was there to point the way. we all came because of a realization that we couldn’t change the world to fit our view and that we have no choice but to accept this moment and awaken to our inherent and true nature. by the end of the retreat we all attained this point. 4:30 pm saturday cookies and ice cream in the dharma room.
道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN


Lalla was born in 1326 A.D. (approx.) the daughter of a Kashmiri Brahman named Cheta Bhat near Pampore, Kashmir, based on common evidence. She studied Sufism, and Hinduism but would not be categorized.
for an eternity we appear, for an eternity we disappear; both day and night, we are always in motion. where do we come from, where do we go, forever in the round of birth and death, from nothingness to nothingness. but sure, the mystery of life unfolds, something is there for us to experience. life is not meaningless, it just defies the labels
version by Dochong, JDPSN


driving home from work on the pomona freeway, traffic backs up. commuters slow down to see a motorist being given a ticket. while the traffic moves slowly, a large shiny semi creeps past my car. between the small holes which speckle the side of the trailer I get glimpses of the black and white cows, their noses dripping from the cold. where are these cows going? pretending I don’t know—denying to acknowledge. finally admit they are destined to become dinner for the passing motorists. why must these lovely creatures give their lives to fill the millions of brown bags with quarter pounders and whoppers? other motorists don’t seem to notice. how sad I feel that no one else seems to care. the screech of air brakes from the passing Semi, and the grinding of the transmission gives way to the dull rumble of the diesel engine. wisps of white clouds veil the red sun as it sets behind the blue mountain. glad to be having tofu and rice for dinner tonight.
道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN

Monday, October 13, 2008


we still dream of events long since gone– or of desires that remain unfulfilled within a life of unchecked emotion. acting out the play that we wrote only to have it run and twist in ways we have little understanding of. where these images and dialogs come from remains a mystery, yet our lives unfold in similar ways following paths that we never intended on taking. the control of the play write is also the omnipotence of God, only these two can write a future of predictable events. we have but one life to live out we try so hard to make it into something yet if we just let go of the anxiety it is, after all, full of wonder and uncertainty.
道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN

carry water, chop wood

miraculous power and marvelous activity
drawing water and chopping wood
Pángyùn (庞蕴, 740-808), a lay practitioner of the eighth century

ocean of pure reality

清淨眞如海 ocean of pure reality, 湛然體常住 substance, and fathomless quiescence, exists eternally. Chán Master Fóguāng Rúmǎn (佛光如满) Photo: Miramar Beach at Sunrise, Paul Lynch, JDPSN

fourth of july retreat

out of utter silence the longing cry of the peacock shatters all thinking and pierces the darkness at midnight. seemingly alone on the mountain top, contemplating the stillness of night. our thoughts of discrimination about being alone or with someone fall away with this lonely song. pine trees grow tall when they are not limited by city planning, just as our minds can be free when we get beyond our ideas and thoughts. the majesty of a peacock with feathers unfurled the shade of an old pine tree on a hot july day. these are the miracles that are lost to our notice only because we like thinking more than our life.
道清, 禅师 Dochong, JDPSN