Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years 2010

we inherently seek for some better thing, and through not understanding our dissatisfaction with our current situation, condition and relationship is at the root of our seeking; we fall into this endless loop of wanting and getting and then wanting and then getting and then dissatisfaction again. there is lament and there is joy and Buddha did not tell us to not connect with these; yet if we dwell in one place for too long then we get stuck with our thoughts about life and lose our connection with the life that is unfolding before us. our lives live outside of thought, yet our thoughts make us human; so how can we reconcile the balance of presence and thought? we cannot do this, we have to just accept that living in the realms of reality carries with it pain, joy, suffering, nirvana, disappointment, satisfaction, and on and on and on……… don’t make a new years resolution, just vow to stop thinking and experience the ride.

Monday, December 28, 2009

stolen words

stolen words within an expression of this moment; pointing to the unfolding of perception outside of thought. an effort to point to the ineffable truth; outside of constructs yields a mountain of opinions. I want this, I want that, I am like this, my creativity is like this. relinquishing opinion, and relinquishing thought; allows a connection with our true self; which is beyond words and thoughts. I don’t try to be clever, nor is it my job to be right; my teacher taught me to be present, and with this there is nothing to add.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

ah….Christmas Eve day

ah….Christmas Eve day and the sun shines brightly over Huntington Beach. in direct sunlight the warmth radiates on my face and takes me back, and in the shady places there is a chill that rises up and this too takes me to my heart. during these holidays there is a longing to connect with all my loving family and friends who are no longer walking this earthly realm. and it is also the presence of family though somewhat smaller there is that love that streams through us and them as well, and the peace that parents and grand-parents and uncles and aunts with whom we once shared and share again each time they enter our consciousness. there is really only this moment in time, it can’t be held on to but it can be lived fully and with love and joy our moments can fill our hearts and fill our lives and we can walk with all of the past, the present and the future; for there is nothing else manifest but our love if we surrender to ‘just this’ as it unfolds and weaves a path from here to here and where we are is where we have always been. peace……… peace……… and peace……… be everywhere………

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the bird's home

the deep dense valley is filled with a thick fog: a bird returns to the valley but cannot find her nest. when you open your eyes, you have lost your way; when you close your eyes, you have lost your home. March 1974

Thursday, December 10, 2009

cloud Buddha

clapping hands together, gazing over the southern mountain, dense white clouds spreading outward— various shapes appear; dog—tiger—man eventually transforming into Buddha. then alas—the clouds begin to dissipate and disappear over the mountain.
August 1973

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Enlightenment Day Poem

cats, dogs and oxen–all understand. sky, mountains and rivers–all understand. trees, glowers and rocks–all understand. they have no speech–only do it! already is manifest–correct way, truth and correct life. someone loses an ox for a long, long time, searches for the ox, but alas has no direction. only don’t know……. one day discovering the truth, this person hits the ground. Yaaaaah……. there is the ox! but the ox is very strong and charges around, so holding the rope tightly–try, try, try. eventually the ox surrenders, as the ox eats grass they only rest together. then–riding the ox and returning home while playing a flute–la, la, la. the willow is green and the flower is red. yet, already riding on the back of this ox, and going out in search of this ox– that is very funny and also very stupid! therefore Buddha is also stupid. why did he sit for six years under the bodhi tree? already–one by one, each thing has it. it and dust interpenetrate. it has already appeared in all things. so Buddha, what was your enlightenment? what did you transmit? you are very funny and this is a funny world. the stone ox is laughing– mu, mu, mu….. Golden Buddha shines through this enlightenment day. Zen Master Seung Sahn December 5, 1981

Saturday, November 28, 2009


slipping between ideas and projected images we struggle to create a reality outside of truth. our job is to create some alternative and interesting story which transcends the mundane existence of our lives. we think if we can seek the controversy or seek the exotic that we will achieve success and fame. so we manufacture a reality outside of the truth and outside of presence. and the we try to live this story this play that we have written that seems more interesting than the life that we lead. the problem is that the playwright and the play have been extracted from the unfolding of a life which is flowing from its source. when we try to become the playwright and set a course that isn’t in touch with our situation then we realize there is no other moment.

a birthday poem

we walk this path and we are immersed within a life of direction and a life seemingly directed by idea and belief. yet what is it that we seek from our birth and what do we choose to transcend from our death? it is this coming and going, it is our life and our death that we see and yet we don’t see any of its significance. moments arise and moments pass, we engage and we disengage yet is this what we are? this life is simple if we just can see this very moment as it unfolds and comes into our consciousness. we are not our thoughts, we are not our ideas, we are not our opinions, we are merely this moment as it becomes and as it slips away. a very happy birthday I wish you all the best and hope to be with you soon.

there is a life

there is a life within a life that is within another life where we try to find meaning. it is this struggle between the present and the relative and the absolute where all of our ideas fall into the abyss. there is no way out nor is there a way in, we are simply here and most of the time we are searching and we don’t know it. the simple truth is always present, there is no this or that, and there is no here or there. we are already the truth embodied in our experience of each and every moment which is unfolding out of the not knowing, and within the absolute and within the relative and yet all of this is just thinking. just breathe and know the breath. just see and don’t make anything. just hear and become the sound. just taste and know that all experience is this. just touch and feel the firmness of now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


thousand foot fishing line, drops deep in the water– as a single wave radiates outward. following the ten thousand waves, a quiet night, cold water, the bait–as yet never touched. empty boat– on a still pond is full of silver moonlight.
August 1973

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Dream

guest tells host about last night's dream, host shares with guest about his own. who is it that can say that these two are also in a dream? originally nothing except absolute calm, so why does the western wind blow down the flowers? the dog is chasing after a bone, a frightened goose flys away..... gaw, gaw, gaw... July, 1973

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Mind

One mind perceives
infinite time.
One is all.
Everything is one.
To let go one's hands
when hanging over a cliff
is to be a great man.
Winter goes North,
Spring comes from the South.
by Zen Master Seung Sahn

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Zen Master Seung Sahn

Many years ago I collected the Poems that were written by Zen Master Seung Sahn following his encouragement of me trying to write Zen Poetry. I have often thought of publishing this work but have chosen not to deal with the intellectual capital issues with the Kwan Um School of Zen. My issues are not about ownership, they are about sharing the teachings of a great teacher.
Most of these are public domain, and as I don't make any profit off this blog, I will shift from mainly my own poetry, to sharing some of the brilliant insights of a great and honest Zen Master. So, until I post differently, I will be posting poems written by Seung Sahn and will try to post only those that haven't been cataloged in his book Bone of Space.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

mere thoughts of the moment

life and death are the same. good and bad are manifest sometimes simultaneously. opposites are merely made in the mind, we exist outside of thought yet few understand. stop all this thinking which creates the dukkha, just breathe and see the expression of the senses. be as the moments unfold, be as the sounds rise and fall, be when you feel, and be when you smell, all will be simple within this simple direction beyond thoughts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

for my mother, Maud

based up recent posts on my Zen Mirror Blog I thought I'd post this poem for my mom. for my mother, Maud 吊唁母親茂德 there comes a time in everyone’s life 人生在世 when the finality of death 終于一死 becomes an intimate yet unwanted friend, 誰人無死 and we find ourselves with no other choice 無可耐何 but to grieve 悲痛萬分 and to let go 離別淒涼 and to remember 無限懷念 the brightness that we all once shared. 美好回憶 in those times of her life- 她的一生 which she lived just right, 無可非議 I can find myself here and now 此刻吾身 being sanctified by this very moment. 深受淨化 the presence of her blessings 籠罩福音 both cherished and sacred deep within my soul. 悲歡交加 for all the myriad reasons 萬千原由 that we find our own breath flowing in and out, 你我呼吸 it is in just this way 不外如此 that we open to cycles of human existence, 生命循環 we can pay homage to the legacy 孝忠為道 of each moment, each single moment 每時每刻 this can not be explained. 無需解釋 love is the universal force 愛為天責 between us all, 深入人心 and those who are left behind 後來之士 with our treasured relationships 以愛為懷 that will never – ever – pass from this bounded existence 永恒天下 realize the importance of sharing that love – just now. 博愛無價

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a thousand paths

what would you have me say about the thousands of paths that lead to the same ultimate summit? is it this practice or this body or even this lifetime that allows us to see the connection of all humanity in a drop of rain. I cannot say what I am, yet I do exist for the moment, but what is that existence if I squander it on thinking and miss the ultimate reality of the unfolding? I must say this you are and this is the truth, but what is the truth or your existence now!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

miramar beach two

for six hundred billion years this satellite in space spins three hundred sixty five and a quarter times to complete its endless trip. the passage of one revolution about its axis. the passage of one rotation about its star. six hundred billion times— and still this wonder, water in the ocean— older than imagination. the stars in the heavens— hotter than comprehension. we come into this world with nothing in our hands— we leave this world and where do we go? the ocean, the sun and sky are constant reminders salty smell— warm breeze— blue sky— how can I help you today?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

we see

we see, yet with a blind eye we justify our idea of what the present reality must be. we hear, yet with our cognition, we transmute the meaning into one of own. we feel, yet will dull senses we grasp at all we can feel in the shortest amount of time. we smell, yet we discern the natural from unnatural and say that one is better than the other. we taste, yet we disdain all that we do not understand. we say that I do not like this yet we have yet to move into the light of understanding. just see that I am pure, just hear my words of love, just feel, the moment of bliss, just smell, the scent of millennia, just taste, your own essence on my lips. who has come, has also gone, and in the midst of this coming and going is a place that neither knows now, past or future. be and all there is becomes all that ever has become.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Love Dogs

Coleman Barks performs a poem by Rumi, "Love Dogs" at one of the Mythic Journeys conferences. Musical accompaniment by Eugene Friesen and Arto Tuncboyaciyan.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

kongan blues[i]

you make it a habit, this practice you call Zen. “you think it is a secret, but it never has been one.” this fortune, from a fortune cookie received seven years ago. it jumps out and grips me, he’s got me by the throat. Nánquán’s[ii] cat is out of the bag, he’s hissing and slashed at your eyes. you can’t see clearly, and that’s the way he likes it. three men are walking in a Kirasawa movie.[iii] suddenly, Man'gŏng throws a net on their watermelon patch.[iv] ten thousand dharma’s, one dharma,[v] I don’t give a mouse bowl’s ass.[vi] delusions are endless so quit feeding me all this shit. the Old Man came from Korea,[vii] Wŏnhyo never made to China.[viii] Bodhidharma lost a shoe on his way back to India.[ix] Śākyamuni gave away his flower while attending on Dragon Peak.[x] the secret is out, don’t tell me of dharma don’t try and give me the truth. my heart has been laid open, my mind is no longer static. don’t rationalize with me, there it is, don’t you see? I have a seeing eye dog who can help you find you way. now, just leave it alone. too much shit has already gone down. [i] Kong'an blues: the teachers and quotes are from famous kong'ans. [ii] Nánquán Pŭyuàn: (南泉普願, Nanquan Puyuan, Nan-ch'üan P'u-yüan, Nansen Fugan), 748-835. Nanquan recieved transmission of the Dharma from Mazu Daoyi. Nanquan gave transmission to seventeen of his students, and amongst them Zhaozhou Congshen and Changsha Jingcen have the most recorded history. Nanquan appears in The Blue Cliff Record, cases 28, 31, 40, 63, 64, & 69; as well as The Book of Equanimity, cases 9, 10, 16, 23, 79, 90, 93; and also The Barrier that has no Gate, cases 14, 19, 27, 34. The lines in this poem refer to the following indexed books which contain the particular kongan that I am commenting on, the are, The Barrier That Has No Gate (Wúmén Guān, 無門關) Case # 14, Blue Cliff Record (Bìyán Lù, 碧巌録) Case # 63, The Book of Equanimity (Dǒngqún Shìyì 董群 释) Case # 9, Ten Gates Case # 9, and The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 293. ㄤ.Nánquán Kills a Cat Once the monks of the Eastern and Western halls were disputing about a cat. Master Nánquán, holding up the cat said, “You! Give me one word and I will save this cat. If you cannot, I will kill it.” No one could answer. Finally, Nánquán killed the cat. In the evening when Zhàozhōu returned from outside, Nánquán told him of the incident. Zhàozhōu took off his shoe, put it on his head, and walked away. Nánquán said, “If you had been there, I could have saved the cat.” 1. Nánquán said, “Give me one word.” At that time, what can you do? 2. Zhàozhōu put his shoe on his head. What does this mean? [iii] Sŭngsan Taesŏnsa: (1927-2004) A student of Korean Sŏn Master Kōbong Gyeŏngk, Zen master Sŭngsan was among a handful of Korean Masters to come to the West and teach. This particular kongan it is said, was revived by Zen Master Sŭngsan, although I still think he made it up late one night while watching a Kirasawa movie. This Kong’an only appears in Sŭngsan’s plublished collections. Ten Gates Case # 12; The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 364. 十二. Three Men are Walking Three men are walking. The first man pulls his swords almost out of it’s sheath and then returns it, the second man waves his hands, and the third man picks up a handkerchief. 1. If you were there, what would be your correct function? 2. What is the relationship? [iv] Sŭngsan Taesŏnsa: (1927-2004) This is another reference to a kong'an in the Sŭngsan collections, Ten Gates Case # 11; The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # . 十一. Man'gong’s Net [py]: Mǎnkòng Yuèmiàn, 滿空月面, [wg]: Man-k'ung Yüeh-mian, [Kor]: Man'gong Wŏlmyŏn] One day, Zen Master Man'gong sat on the high rostrum and gave the speech to mark the end of the three-month winter retreat. “All winter long you monks practiced very hard. That’s wonderful! As for me, I had nothing to do, so I made a net. This net is made out of a special cord. It is very strong and can catch all Buddhas, Patriarchs and human beings. It catches everything. How do you get out of this net?” Some students shouted, “KATZ!” Others hit floor and raised a fist. One said, “The sky is blue, the grass is green.” Another said, “Already got out; how are you, great Zen Master?” From the back of the room a monk shouted, “Don’t make net!” Many answers were given, but to each Man'gong only replied, “Aha! I’ve caught a Big Fish!” 1. So, how do you get out of Man'gong’s net? [v]十四. The Ten Thousand Dharma’s Return to One, The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 365. Ten thousand Dharma’s return to one Where does the one return? It is not one, not zero. [vi] 十. Mouse Eats Cat Food, Ten Gates Case # 10, and The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 363 The mouse eats cat food, but the cat bowl is broken. 1. What does this mean? [vii] The Old Man: referring to Zen Master Sŭngsan’s coming to the west. [viii] Wŏnhyo: (617 - 686) Venerable Wŏnhyo was born in 617 C.E. (the 39th year of Silla King Jinpyŏng), about 1300 years ago, at Buljichon (present-day Sinwol'ri, Amnyang-myŏn, Gyŏngsan). He was given the name of Wŏnhyo which means “dawn” and he lived up to his name for he was a pioneer, not only in Korean Buddhist thought, but also in philosophical thought. He began his monk’s life at Hwangnyongsa Temple. After that, he studied Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism and then practiced meditation diligently as a true practitioner. His life was clearly reflected in his various writings. He tried to go to Tang China two times. First, he crossed the Amnokgang River at the age of 33 with his dharma friend, Venerable Uisang. The trip was a failure and he had to return. The next time he left for Dangjugye, which was in the territory of Baekje, in order to reach Tang through the sea route with Uisang. When he arrived at the harbor, it was already dark and windy, so he stayed in a cave which had been hewn out of the earth for one night. When he awoke he realized that place was not a cave, but an old graveyard. Yet, as the heavy rain had not stopped, he had to stay one more night. That night he could not sleep well because he knew that he was staying in an ancient graveyard and this led to the realization that “all phenomena arise when the mind arises and when the mind is absent, the cave and the graveyard were not two; there was no sense of duality.” This sudden realization gave rise to a profound understanding of the world. Wŏnhyo said, “The three worlds are only mind, and all phenomena arise from the mind, consciousness. If the truth is present in the mind, how could it be found outside of the mind! I won’t go to Tang.” Then he once again returned to Silla. There is a dramatic story which was added to these events later. It is often said that Wŏnhyo drank water from a skull when he awoke during the night desperately thirsty. In the darkness, he found a container with water in it and gratefully drank it. The next morning he found that the water he drank was filthy rainwater which had collected in the skull. This experience became the base of his realization that “there is nothing clean and nothing dirty; all things are made by mind.” The fact that all phenomena arise from the mind is a truth which he clearly understood. He knew that the mind exists in all human beings and so he decided not to go to Tang China and to return home. This is a well-known Korean Buddhist legend. Wŏnhyo was not a man to stick to doctrinal studies or abstract ideas. He was a man dedicated to saving not only the royal and noble families, but also the ordinary and less educated members of society who were equally suffering. One day, he was invited to Yosŏk'gung Palace, and there he met the widowed Princess Yosŏk. The result of the relationship was a son Sŏlchŏng who became one of the greatest Confucian scholars of Silla. After this, Wŏnhyo gave up his monk’s robes and called himself “So'sŏng Gŏsa” (Small Layman.) He didn’t conform to the accepted social code, did not care about his language. He drummed on an empty gourd while singing; “Only a man with no worries and fears can go straight and overcome life and death and transmigration.” His behavior and appearance were eccentric and extra-ordinary. At that time most monks were revered by the royal family and lived in the big temples a life-style that was similar to the noble men of the day; Wŏnhyo, on the other hand lived as a wanderer in the streets. As he lived a secular life along with the common people, he educated and inspired everyone with his talks about Buddhism. Who could imagine that this man had been an illustrious monk, highly revered by the royal family! In this way he was the trusted adviser to the king of Silla, and, at the same time, a friend of the common people. He was completely accessible to the common people who listened to his spontaneous talks with joy. The poor, the uneducated, the beggars, the street wanderers, and even children followed Wŏnhyo; they kept up their hope of being born in the Pure Land by reciting the name of Buddha. [ix] Bodhidharma: (बोधिधर्म, 菩提達摩, Dámó, d. 536) This is from part of the story of Bodhidharma’s life. While Ancestor Bodhidharma was in China, people of various externalist cults and sects were jealous of him. They tried six times to poison him. The first five times he was not poisoned to death. The sixth time he was given poison he spit it out on a rock, and it split the rock in two. And so he thought, ‘People are so jealous, I’d best enter the stillness (i.e., nirvana).’ And so he pretended to enter the stillness. Then people buried him. But just at that time, in Northern Wei there was a government official named Song. At Zongling, at Zhongnan Mountain, he encountered Bodhidharma. The Patriarch was carrying one shoe in his hand. He said to Officer Song, ‘There is a lot of turmoil in your country. You should return there immediately.’ “Song didn’t think there was any problem in his country, but he returned just the same and found that indeed the Wei dynasty was being overthrown. ‘Ah,’ he thought, ‘Bodhidharma’s words are really accurate.’ When he related the Patriarch’s advice to others, they asked him, ‘Where did you see Bodhidharma?’ “‘I saw him just two days ago at Zonglin. He was carrying one shoe, and when I asked him where he was going, he said, “Back to India.” He told me that our dynasty was in trouble, and he was right.’ “‘You saw a ghost!’ they told him. ‘Bodhidharma has already been dead a long time.’ “‘Where is he buried?’ asked the official. ‘Let’s go see.’ They opened the grave and there was nothing inside except for one shoe. ‘With one shoe he returned West, to be remembered forever after.’ He went back to India with one shoe. But the memory of him was left in Jung Gwo for people to hold ever after. They will never forget Patriarch Bodhidharma. His state was inconceivable.” [x] Śākyamuni Buddha Holds Up a Flower, The Barrier That Has No Gate (Wú Mén Guān, 無門關); Case # 6; The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 285. Long ago on Grdhrakuta Mountain, Buddha sat down in order to give a Dharma talk before a vast assembly of followers. After sitting for an extended period of time in silence, he held up flower. Everyone was silent. Only Mahàkàsyapa smiled. At that moment Buddha said, “I have the all-pervading true Dharma, incomparable Nirvana, exquisite teaching of formless form. It is not dependent on words, a special transmission outside the sutras and I, now, give it to Mahàkàsyapa.” 1. Why did Mahàkàsyapa smile? 2. Why did Buddha pick up the flower? 3. What kind of Dharma transmission was given to Mahàkàsyapa?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

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

Thursday, September 3, 2009


early one Saturday morning sŏnyu practice at ocean eyes participants slowly arrive while I wait in pensive anticipation, ‘will she actually come this time?’ I think to myself while talking with the newly arrived guests. this was to be her first and as it turned out her last visit to the Zen center. when she walked through the door wearing grey sweatpants and matching sweatshirt, I thought that she could wear even a burlap sack and make it look like a gown on a princess. her smile immediately warmed the dreary winter morning. she met me in the kitchen where we talked– she wasn’t feeling well a bit under the weather, so we kissed and hugged and giggled like children, we played and flirted in between instructions from the monk. after practice we had lunch at the pier in Huntington Beach then walked along the shore holding hands and laughing out loud. the wind blowing in her hair, the smell of salty air the electricity of her touch and the abandonment in her eyes transfixed my soul and drew closer to my heart. walking and talking unaware of the others– such moments are jewels in the collection of memories contained and held dear. the crying of the seagulls, the crashing of winter waves– intimacy is rare and appears only if we are open and present. she left me with her cold that day, and I couldn’t have been happier to have shared in her germs for kissing her and holding her it was a small price to pay.

Monday, August 31, 2009

a ritual sign

palms together, gassho, hapchang, what is the meaning of this humble yet profound action? presence– is just a state of mind. observance– is just seeing true nature. nurturance– is just embracing our own mortality. joy– is merely letting go of ideas. what is this grace? where does it function and what is it that results? my idea has nothing to do with the beautiful expression whose expectations have gone beyond all that a mortal could ever imagine!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

some want to be Zen Masters

*Please see the notes on this picture at the bottom of this post. some want to be Zen Masters; they should try to be good carpenters. some want to be world honored sages; they should try to be good mechanics. some want to be saints— they should try to be good clerical help. the true master is a carpenter. the true sage is a mechanic. the true saint is a clerk. if you want a zen stick, I will take it from you. if you don’t want a zen stick. just pay attention and the truth will appear. * I came accross this photo on the internet and it so much reminded me of Zen Master Su Bong (Subong Sonsa) also known as Mu Deung Sunim as well as See Hoy Liao. There is a conversation in "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha" with See Hoy and Seung Sahn (Sungsan) about his practicing with three of the four Zen Masters in the Photo. It appears as 'Kongan Blues' on page 42 of that book. See Hoy is very confused at this time and tells Sungsan to go Fuck Himself. Many years later See Hoy became the First Zen Master to be sanctioned by Sungsan. Unfortunatley he died at the age of 50 during a koan interview with a student in Hong Kong. This snapshot contains a great history and brings dead words to life. Here is a simple Zen Practitioner who came to fruition and his veritable pantheon of Zen Masters who would lead him in the right direction. This photo contains four Zen masters: Dr. Thich Thien-An in the rear at the front of the procession, walking behind Dr. Ananda, a very sweet man who died of a massive heart attack two years after this photo was taken; walking side-by-side, Seung Sahn Soen Sa and Maezumi Roshi; Kimura Roshi, an unassuming Zen master if there ever were one, brought up the rear. See Hoy was practicing with Kimura Roshi, Dr. Thien-an and Sungsan Sonsa, how amazing!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


what images do we have about life and love? what pictures exist in our minds when we are conversing with a friend? can we separate the metaphors from the presence of the exchange? this is the paradox of this life that is thrust upon us at birth, how do we perceive the presence without the residue of bygone experience and misrepresented memories of a forlorn past? black characters on a white backround, Sheila Chandra chants ‘waiting’ in the melodic tones of grace.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Boundless Way Sesshin

the winding path
leading upwards to
the Zendo,
as gravel and rocks
yield beneath footsteps.
a gentle rhythmic cadence
echoes against the hills
a symphony of crickets
harmonize with chirps and coo's
a still forest pond
reflects tall reeds
and age old trees
ducks quack and peck
at the ground
while mosquitoes feast
on my hands and head
the breeze from atop the
hill cools the light sweat
on my skin.
the sound of the han
reverberates in the valleys.
a silent presence pervades
this meeting of seekers
only to flow into
this unfolding presence
of constantly changing eternity.

Friday, July 24, 2009

6 Day Retreat

Will be sitting a week long retreat on the East Coast. Will post again when I return.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

a birthday poem

what’s the use of looking forward or looking back, when this moment of clarity and focus is full of wonder and blessings? being born is not an event in the usual sense of existence, and we don’t seem to find solace in the constant comings and goings that appear and disappear on this path we have come to call our lives. yet, there are those moments in which we must rest and accept the essence of living in the two worlds. birthdays are like this, we smile and celebrate with those we love and in this sharing learn to love them all the more. Happy Birthday James, may all your days manifest the perfection on life’s unfolding presence.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

there is only this moment

there is only this moment within the cosmic unfolding of eternity, we can not control it we can not know it nor can we direct or divert it, we are, at best an observer of this now. we do not trust in this, yet this is all that there is, this is the nature of the reality in which we seek. do not mistake aspiration for desire, it is this that most do not understand in sakyamuni’s teaching. he did not say to detach from our lives, he merely tried to teach about the difference between aspiration and desire. desire contains “I” aspiration is about “we” so what can we do? just believe in this moment and all is well. this is OK but some think that their way or idea or religion will save this cosmos from itself what folly is this? we can not know– we can not be– we can not accept all that is diverse, for we have not the capacity nor the insight to realize all that is real or all that is illusion. we are now. we are this. and just this. is all that there is. love is all. and love is now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

the edge

living life at the edge of my existence, bringing meaning to ideas where none exist. struggling between the two worlds; one complex and calculating, the other vast as transparent space. to be born into this world is our first mistake. to live life not of this world is our only liberation. attachment causes heartache— non-attachment allows compassion, opinions fall like dust into the ocean. desires transform to aspiration. being at this edge requires another step be taken. the birds outside sing to one another— their song unites all who can hear.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

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.
April 7, 1996
Furnace Mountain Monastery KY

Thursday, June 18, 2009

hong poep won

crunch — crunch — crunch as ice slowly gives way under each footstep. at 4:30 am the air is very still, in the dark evening sky the moon shines brightly faintly illuminating this rustic and rural landscape. dancing against the black backdrop are the last glimmers of starlight which will fade into the impending dawn. there is a strange longing in me to stay in this place. this place of solitude and comfort. but I must return to that place where my responsibility lies. bare tree limbs extend up towards the heavens, outlined against the approaching dawn. they look like sentinels patiently awaiting spring’s return, when they can once again give shade and shelter to the inhabitants of this land. a slight breeze chills my ears and nose. good-bye once again hong poep won may all the people who come to this place find the same peace I have found this morning.
March 10, 1996 Providence Zen Center, RI

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

I have been debating (with myself) ha ha ha, about posting this particular poem but I think that a few of you may have the fortitude to actually read the entire poem (it is extremely long) and hopefully your may find some inspiration from it. Please understand that I wrote this many years ago when a lover of mine was many thousand miles away and I was on chat with her. This is what I wrote while on Video Chat with her and it is not edited (except where I misspelled a few words) so it is a stream of consciousness that appeared in this moment many years ago. Be prepared if you embark on this journey, because it captures something unique and opening. I am also warning you that this is a very intimate look into my life, so be kind if you choose to comment on its content.
beauty can only be defined through your subtle features and deep dark eyes and flowing black hair the soft slope of broad shoulders revealing the softest golden skin, a breeze in the flowing hair of timeless goddess’s who have come and gone but left such a sweet fragrance of love upon the lips of every person who falls so deeply in love that the inside world and outside world merge into meaningless background. dreams of lovers long since passed like sweet memories of a passion that has no beginning and knows no end. these dreams spring from this present reality of life and love and presence for to see her with hair flowing in the breeze of loving autumn’s fragrance just as the plum blossoms float on the breezes of spring, it is a rebirth it is a coming home to your lover who patiently waits for your warm embrace. this is the time when I don't exist my love. I am not here– dochong is no longer, there is no me– there is no other– there is no world– there is no work– there is no time or space, there is only you and I as one– one creature of perfection that needs no words to express the love and harmony of existence that started before time was even an idea for God. to invent the limitations of false ideas and then transcending even the thoughts I can only find you here in my sacred heart of hearts, in my souls body house of timeless passion this is all, yes of course Namaste my dearest love, je vous aime beaucoup mon petite chou chou, sil vous plais. she bites her finger in passionate repose and licks her lips in anticipation of a kiss that must out of necessity wait, yet is longed for like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. this passion is like a well spring of constant unfolding energy it passes through these words and into the heart– it transcends the limits of the space time continuum to become here– now– beyond physics we are truly connected. the alchemists know only the desire to turn the ordinary into something special, yet the true treasure is already in his heart. it is his love who waits in the desert looking and longing at the empty horizon hoping that soon, her lover will return and then the completion that was once whole, and then became two, will once again be that perfect completion of not one and not two– not inside and not outside– not feeling or desiring– just a presence that cannot be defined by any words known to humanity. for words do not exist that can describe the unknowable presence of my nose touching yours and my eyes so close to yours that I see not just you but me, and the entire cosmos seems to be deep in your passionate gaze, and the dancing of soft breath on my lips and face and the pace of your breathing– the coming in and out is all that exists, for there it is not a place or a time or a space to be known, it is pure experience and this is what I long for each moment of each day I wait for your return. no better explanation of love has ever been written not one single thought exists in these words– they came directly from the soul who was in the presence of God so you should save these words and we should share them if we ever get a sour look on our faces. the straps of the tiny top which barely hides the golden skin and reveals the soft flesh of mounded breasts of the softest skin the perfection of roundness and life giving motherhood it is the connection of man to his mother it is the connection of a mother to her son it is the primal force for the beginning of new life moving towards an independent existence. for we all know but we do not see and your breasts draw me in and your eyes hypnotize me and your lips caress my soul and then I know that I am with the mother goddess I am also with the passionate Aphrodite of love and then there is a shift, the focus seems to expand out and the center of the circle becomes larger and starts to encompass more and more until everything is there in your sweet body which moves in time with mine, and we are just breath breathing humanity we are no longer limited by gravity for this is all there is to life truly alive not me jaan right now isn't. this is also my love my true self which has no name not you not me not I not us not anything but this presence. some people never experience this state it has taken a long time to be able to learn how to dwell here and you take me here easily, but know that I am extremely fragile in this state any negative emotion will thrust me back and sometimes it seems violent. I will try to learn how to stay and not let this happen– the negativity pulls me out fast it’s like falling down a dark hole. I am explaining something you don't understand it’s what happened yesterday but I needed to be here to explain it correctly, no thoughts just experience I couldn't explain all of this from Paul's perspective he doesn't know all of this I am not a split person but Paul doesn't enter here that is silly, for there is no devil nor is there a God those are made up out of thinking they are what we label those characters we see in ourselves. I have never had a conversation like this honey nor have I remained here in a conversation ever so I don't know what will happen obviously I a slipping back…. a smile is the brilliance of the universe the gentle curve of arm and breast and nose and mouth mouth the softness of flowing hair the love that emanates from dark brown eyes this is all– smile and the world is brightened sparks fly forth and flash like lightening to blind me. my one and only reality this existence is like a new born baby it needs to be nurtured to survive with all the kindness we can muster with all the compassion we can discover then our lives will settle into a state of presence this is beyond love making it is a place I want you to join me in completely my love my all just let go of all ideas. stop the process slow the moon allow the brilliance of this moment to breathe us just breath just my lovers sweet face in the shadows of a darkened room she is only there for me she only breathes for me and I was born to be with her to be merged with her soul with her heart and her mind I love this moment it is so precious this is our union our joining together no one can stop this it was inevitable from before our birth we have not choice we are already complete now no one can cast this asunder for there is only this just this just like this only like this. arms behind head I am making love with your soul now your heart my heart beat together not one heart not two hearts but together there is this this presence which fills your soul and softly and gently fills our rooms and this union took place ten thousand kalpas before we were born and no one exists and nothing is manifest. manifest but this this has no name don't try to name it love, love is a silly word, not this– not now– just a word. you– me– are constructs, we are not constructs. we are united in mind and soul the body can follow later we have entered we cannot escape, this we have not now but when? now is gone present an idea future doesn't matter past is already gone this this is Namaste pure bliss kind gentle ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no desire here it already is there let go let go now do it for me stop the thinking you can focus on breath only breathing in and out with each breath I enter you and you enter me time is an idea space is only a common construct right now the space between our souls is less than one atom wide feel me let me in now give up to this the universe was begun in this manner it was before time and god is already in your heart you are god god never existed anywhere else breath breathing human being breath breathing god being breath breathing no outside no opposite neither man nor woman. no space exists that could ever separate us ever again. just that smile just your hands caressing your hair not your hand not my hand god's hand. this body house is the shrine for god's worship this is the only temple that god ever created and we have been worshiping there which is here not in or out just the sacred shrine of timelessness no statues no chanting no incense no teaching no priests but god is perfection with our body house our shrine of sacred passion set free of the bondage that society tried to invoke this is gone. god this is worship Dochong, it could be that you just washed love clean of all its images

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ticking clock

the ticking of the clock a cadence of relentless passage. ideas create a future where none exist, memories create a past as fleeting as clouds. time as continuum does not move in linear motion, the passage of days and weeks and months refer to a relationship with events totally disconnected. life exists outside of this continuum, in the distance dogs bark to one another, doves cooing in the tall pine tree, the ticking of the clock relentless cadence of ideas.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the door

looking for a door with the intellect– only to discover nonstop thinking. searching for a passage through hard practicing– only to connect with nonstop desire. seeking the way in through devotion– and there is only a glimpse of something sacred. putting away my thinking– ending all ideas of practice– cutting through the myth of sacredness– love completely fills the heart. bowing now in supplication, no self–no other– how may I help you, tonight? this evening the full moon illuminates the darkness, and scattered clouds have failed to hide its brilliance. December 14, 1997 Haean Sŏnwŏn

Monday, May 18, 2009


Buddha said, “one of the four causes of suffering is being separated from one you love.” that was only his idea. what I am feeling is loss and anxiety. I wonder, is this my backseat driver or compassion for a sick friend? Zen Master Sŭngsan said, “understanding can’t help you.” this is only his idea. all of this teaching, all of these ideas and not even a single drop of water to quench my thirst. her embrace was warm and reassuring. her eyes told me everything. as her car disappeared in the distance a tear falls from my cheek.
January 31, 1996 La Habra, CA

Saturday, May 16, 2009

every shining thing

“inside this box is a gold chain and pendant which says Buddha in Chinese, it is there to remind you of your true-self always and everywhere.” a cool breeze is in the air, birds begin to fly south. flowers of spring beginning to recede. a smile is on my face. what a miracle—breathing each moment. 38 years have passed before today. autumn is approaching, bodies grow old and weary, but our true self is constant and pure. the sky is grey in the morning, crickets chirping every evening. Zen Master Lin Chi once said; “gold is a very precious thing, but if gold dust gets in your eyes it clouds the vision.” October 10, 1995 Happy Birthday Kathy

Sunday, May 10, 2009

earth, wind, fire, water

the earth brings life and grounds us within her loving embrace and bears her fruit for all to share in abundance. the wind carries aloft on the breezes of spring the seeds of existence and the birds of the air. the fire of our passion and the fire of heat gives life and expression to our simple human existence. the water of this world is the universal solvent and washes away both the soiled and misguided intent. the elements of life are actually all one it is merely our thoughts that separate them into pieces that life presented whole.

endearing love

we often talk of endearing love, we may believe in an idea, or we may come to know this life void of mental constructs; yet it is within our experience that life unfolds its momentary beauty. what is it that we cannot be if we let go of opinion and thought? a life lived in thought is lost and adrift on the waves of emotion and the torrent of the never ending misgivings of truth. it is a blessing to just breathe and to know that all that is is here right now! what more could we want but to want this moment as it is manifest in each chaotic and changing perception. to depart from the awareness for even a moment is to fall into the abyss of never ending wanting and sorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009


strength flows from this ancient culture on the surface a a slick western front. below is a deep longing to connect with a history some have abandoned the way the ancients but most accept the way that once was sacred it cannot be stricken from the heart ancient wisdom still appeals to the young wanting to be western without accepting this eastern it is like a snake wishing for legs. if we don’t perceive what we have we can never come home.
(the photo in this post is of me lounging on my own private deck of the river boat I was traveling down the Yangtze River on. This was during the SAR's epidemic and very few were in china, but I needed to see the Three Gorges before they were flooded, which happened a month after the picture was taken.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

an ancient capital

Xi'an is bathed in a glaring yellow haze, the ancient capital surrounded by farms and poverty the south gate welcomes barbarians from the west. the hyatt regency an insert for foreigners. a quiet stroll down the long boulevard this restaurant–no english no menu in sight a hot pot with water and blood fish heads float in the boiling broth with a tripe and cucumber feast. no meaningful words were ever exchanged the dinner an interesting extravaganza not knowing what to do when visiting the east you are only a guest understanding this the correct response appears in this moment.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

believe in me!

believe in me, only through me is the true way. spiritual masters sometimes make this mistake. the fools teach us absent of their egos. but master’s use metaphor and simile. we don’t understand the truth of the moonlight, or its reflection in the still forest pond. take in the truth, dismiss the master, and see your own reflection in the face of the moon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Second Book of the Tao

Stephen Mitchell Compiled and adapted from the Chuang-tzu and the Chung Yung, with commentaries The Penguin Press, 2009

Chuang Tzu's commentary on dreaming of being a butterfly

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


this is from the great Daoist Master Zhuangzi.
the mind of the realized person is like a mirror.
it does not lean forward or backward
in response to phenomenon.
it responds to appearances
yet conceals nothing of its own.
therefore the sage is able
to function without injury to reality.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

bridge at shaoguan

(I came across this picutre of Mahaghosanada, Zen Master Seung Sahn and Maezumi Roshi, all of our great teachers who have left us recently. Our brother Kwong Roshi is still burining brightly, but it is a sign of the passing of the Dharma from East to West. If you click on the picture it will be full size and you can save it as I feel this is an important picture in the lineage of Zen from China, Korea, and Japan to the West. Please feel free to copy it.) walking over the bridge at shaoguan peasants camped out by the shore with their sampans floating quietly moored to stakes in the muddy earth. the younger crowd drives motorcycles and motor scooters incessantly honking their horns. most people stare at the strange looking visitor and some even point and laugh at this sandy blonde American roaming their busy streets half way around the world this too is my home thick diesel fumes invade my lungs as I begin to cough walking over the bridge at shaoguan. October 4, 1996 Shaoguan, P.R.C.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

preacher on the radio

driving in a rented car while the radio automatically scans the numerous songs and programs which crowd the busy airwaves. relieving the radio from its relentless task, a man’s voice strongly rings out a plea. “why is it that many other people leave their particular religions and come to Christ?” he asks. “it’s because Buddhists and Buddhism can’t meet their needs! it’s because Islam and Mohammed can’t meet their needs! it’s because Judaism can’t meet their needs! only the true Christ can meet their needs!” what is the true Christ? what is Buddha? what is Mohammed? red tail lights on the freeway, weave interchanging lanes. a helicopter hovers overhead, thumping it‘s constant rhythm. a single duck is black against the evening sky. the green sign with white letters points the way home. December 21, 1995 Fullerton, CA

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In Memorium JW Harrington

there are moments of reality so close to the heart and so personal that we can’t really say what has happened. there are times when we meet and the meetings last a lifetime, they grow and flourish and a family seems to appear. JW Harrington was part of my family, he was always steadfast and entered into every conversation with Bodhidharma’s generosity, ‘how may I help you?’ was always the first thing off his lips. I don’t know how to express the sadness and emptiness I feel in the world devoid of his presence. He helped me at times when others had abandoned me, he was there to add sanity to a world that was completely mad. I know that a piece of me has been lost at the passing of my friend, and I mourn the loss of a man who never thought only of himself. photo of JW Harrington and Dorota Streitfield

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

kyol che into spring

quarter moon reflected in the pond as a cricket orchestra sing their evening song. a tiny frog swims through the moon causing it to waver for a time. the lonesome echo of the distant train whistle— hooowaaaah hooooowaaaaaah hooooooowaaaaaaaah suddenly silence returns again, the earth calm and still, but there it is in the distance the tinkling of the pagoda chimes. a spider crawls down the door sill and runs across the floor. chanting the great dharani a cool breeze fills the room, spring has returned. ten billion stars twinkle in the heavens making the pain in my knees and back all the more worthwhile. Diamond Hill Zen Monastery Cumberland, RI [i] kyol che: a ninety day meditation retreat usually sat during the winter months.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

chogye mountain

nestled into chogye mountain nanhuasi is the birthplace of our current practice. more than one thousand years have passed since the illiterate man built this place. many enlightened beings have tread its hallways. the energy is overwhelming to walk in the footsteps of the 6th Ancestor. to see the tradition live on, south china temple will emerge from the communist rubble like the lotus flower emerges from the mud. originally nothing om nam, om nam......... October 5, 1996 Nam Wah Sa, P.R.C.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sonoma mountain zen center

the simmering of the tea pot, steam rises in the air. water splashes into the cup, releasing the aroma of the tea and warming my hands. a fly buzzes against the window— I open it to let him out. the slight breeze sways the branches and leaves of late fall’s remaining life. this retreat is almost done. have I taken advantage of the hospitality and this place of intense truth? it is a blessing to this world— sonoma mountain zen center— a bright jewel in the mountains, rising like the lotus from murky water and the mud in the pond of this universe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mind Inscription or "Hsin Ming" 心銘

By the Founder of the Ox-Head School Niu-t'ou Fa-jung version by Dochong JDPSN 心性不生何須知見 the nature of the mind is before-thinking, but why should it be necessary to know this? 本無一法誰論薫錬 fundamentally phenomena do not exist; so why bother with defilement and purification? 住返無端追尋不見 there is no end to appearing and disappearing, and no matter how much you seek, you will never realize it! 一切莫作明寂自現 when all formations are inactive, then the bright stillness will manifest by itself. 前際如空知處迷宗 before you it will appear like emptiness, naturally you will know how to cut through all confused doctrines. 分明照境隨照冥蒙 distinguishing clearly all circumstances you will illuminate the dark and the hidden. 一心有滯諸法不通 if this One Mind is obstructed, all dharmas will not have a penetrating effect. 去來自爾胡假推窮 spontaneously coming and going, what use is it exhausting yourself? 生無生相生照一同 as life has the mark of before-thinking, it naturally illuminates this oneness. 欲得心淨無心用功 if you wish to obtain purity of mind, you must diligently cultivate not-thinking. 縱横無照最爲微妙 having no mental reflections high or low, this more than anything else is marvelous! 知法無知無知知要 knowing the dharma through not-knowing, this not-knowing understands the essentials. 將心守靜猶未離病 grasping the mind and maintaining stillness, how can you leave behind attachments? 生死忘懷即是本性 in life and death forgetting your attachments, there and then fundamental nature will manifest. 至理無詮非解非纏 the highest principle is beyond explanation, ridding yourself of all things without restraint. 靈通應物常在自前 spiritual penetration and responding to affairs will constantly take place there and then, 目前無物無物宛然 before you there will not be a single thing, and "not a single thing" will be a matter of life. 不勞智鑒體自虚玄 not conceptualizing the Mirror of Wisdom, its essence is wondrously empty. 念起念滅前後無別 thinking arises and thinking disolves, before and after there is no discrimination. 後念不生前念自絶 the latter thought is not produced as the former is cut off by itself. 三世無物無心無佛 in the three worlds there is not a single thing: it is neither mind nor Buddha. 衆生無心依無心出 all living beings are essentially before-thought, and depend upon not-thinking for their existence. 分別凡聖煩惱轉盛 discriminating between worldly and holy will cause vexations in abundance. 計校乖常求眞背正 constantly calculating and making plans results in searching for the truth while turning your back on reality. 雙泯對治湛然明淨 putting an end to the two extremes, you will be both bright and clear. 不須功巧守嬰兒行 it is not necessary to attach to your practices diligently. 惺惺了知見網轉彌 through awareness is knowledge, when spinning the wheel of samsara you will turn around and stop. 寂寂無見暗室不移 through Samâdhi nothing can be seen, just as in a dark room there is no movement. 惺惺無妄寂寂明亮 in awareness there is only truth, in Samâdhi only clear brightness. 萬象常眞森羅一相 the myriad shapes are truth, having only one majestic characteristic 去來坐立一切莫執 going and coming, sitting and standing are fundamentally ungraspable. 決定無方誰爲出入 with no fixed place, who is it that comes and goes? 無合無散不遲不疾 No coming together and no breaking apart, neither slowly nor quickly. 明寂自然不可言及 the bright stillness is your true self yet words can only speak about it! 心無異心不斷貪淫 if in the mind there is nothing different, you will never have to stop desire. 性空自離任運浮沈 as mind’s nature is empty, it will disappear if it is allowed to drift on. 非清非濁非淺非深 neither pure nor defiled, neither shallow nor deep. 本來非古見在非今 originally the past does not exist, and just now, the present is not! 見在無住見在本心 just now there is non-abiding and this is your true self. 本來不存本來即今 not holding on to the origin, then the origin will be present by itself. 菩提本有不須用守 Bodhi originally is, this is why it is not necessary to maintain it. 煩惱本無不須用除 vexations are fundamentally non-existent, therefore it is not necessary to do away with them! 靈知自照萬法歸如 spiritual wisdom shines forth by itself, and the myriad phenomena return to the one. 無歸無受絶觀忘守 nothing to revert to and nothing to receive. cut off opinions and forget about the precepts! 四徳不生三身本有 the Four Virtues are before-thinking, and the Three Bodies fundamentally exist. 六根對境分別非識 the Six Roots just face circumstances and perception has nothing to do with consciousness. 一心無妄萬縁調直 the mind will have nothing wrong, and the ten thousand causes will directly harmonize. 心性本齊同居不攜 the mind and feelings are basically of the same source, they coexist without interfering with each other. 無生順物隨處幽棲 not knowing is in accordance with phenomena, together they dwell and rest in the dark. 覺由不覺即覺無覺 enlightenment comes from that which is not enlightened, therefore enlightenment can’t be grasped! 得失兩邊誰論好惡 gain and loss are like the two sides of a coin, who can then speak about good and bad? 一切有爲本無造作 all that is caused, is originally the product of before-thinking. 知心不心無病無藥 the knowing mind is not the Mind, the true Mind is something which neither disease nor medicine can effect. 迷時捨事悟罷非異 in times of confusion just let things go their way, when awakening is accomplished it will not be different from your self. 本無可取今何用棄 fundamentally nothing can be grasped; so what will you throw away? 謂有魔興言空象備 speaking of existence is to give in to demons, for with words empty images arise! 莫滅凡情唯教息意 do not wipe out worldly feelings. the only teaching that you should be concerned about, is how to do away with ideas! 意無心滅心無行絶 ideas will be annihilated by no-mind, and mental states will be cut off by non-activity. 不用證空自然明徹 there is no use trying to verify emptiness, spontaneously it will shine forth! 滅盡生死冥心入理 extinguishing both life and death, the profound Mind enters the ultimate principle. 開目見相心隨境起 just open your eyes and behold the forms, letting your mind go along with the arising circumstances. 心處無境境處無心 if the mind abides in no-circumstances, then the circumstances abide in no-mind. 將心滅境彼此由侵 when the mind is about to annihilate circumstances, they will go along with the annihilation. 心寂境如不遣不拘 the mind will be quiet, and circumstances the same. neither having to let go or to hold on. 境隨心滅心隨境無 when circumstances go along with the mind they will be extinguished, and the mind which follows circumstances is nothingness. 兩處不生寂靜虚明 both abide in before-thinking, still purity and empty brightness! 菩提影現心水常清 awakening appears like a shadow in the mind's water which is constantly clear. 徳性如愚不立親疎 the nature of the virtuous is like stupidity, for it does not set up any separation between this and that. 寵辱不變不擇所居 they are not moved by either grace or dishonor, and do not choose a fixed place to dwell. 諸縁頓息一切不憶 if all causes are put to rest, you will cease to worry about them! 永日如夜永夜如永 if you do not discriminate, then an eternal day can be like a night, and an eternal night can be like a day. 外似頑 内心虚眞 when seen from the outside it seems as if you are wayward and stupid; however—within, the mind is vacant and in communion with reality. 對境不動有力大人 adverse conditions will not move you, and you will have the power of an accomplished being. 無人無見無見常現 there will be neither seer nor the seen, then that non-seeing will be perpetually manifested. 通達一切未嘗不  penetrating everything, constantly being everywhere. 思惟轉昏汨亂精魂 thinking will cause confusion and confusion will give rise to all kinds of emotions. 將心止動轉止轉奔 if by grasping the mind you try to stop agitation, then with this movement the mind will be even more active. 萬法無所唯有一門 the myriad phenomena have no base, there is only the One Door. 不入不出非靜非喧 this is the door of neither entering nor leaving, of neither stillness nor disturbance. 聲聞縁覺智不能論 the wisdom of Srâvakas and Pratyeka-buddhas cannot fathom this. 實無一物妙智獨存 in reality not one thing exists, the wonderful wisdom alone remains. circumstances are fundamentally empty. 本際虚沖非心所窮 it is not something which the mind can exhaust. 正覺無覺眞空不空 true enlightenment is non-enlightenment, and real emptiness is not empty! 三世諸佛皆乘此宗 all the Buddhas of the Three Kalpas teach this doctrine. 此宗毫未沙界含容 this teaching is like a particle of dust, worlds as numerous as sand grains in the Ganges are contained therein! 一切莫顧安心無處 if you do not occupy yourself with everything, then the peaceful mind will have nowhere to abide. 無處安心虚明自露 the peaceful mind will be non-abiding, and the empty brightness will manifest by itself! 寂靜不生放曠縱横 the quiet stillness is un-born, and you will be free to roam in all directions. 所作無滯去住皆平 whatever you do, there will be nothing to obstruct you. in motion and in rest, all will be equal. 慧日寂寂定光明明 the sun of prajnâ is still, the light of samâdhi is bright; 照無相苑朗涅槃城 they are the bright park of no mark laksana and the clear city of nirvâna. 諸縁忘畢詮神定質 in all causes you should be un-mindful of the fruit; it can be likened to the quality of the spiritual samâdhi. 不起法座安眠虚室 do not set up platforms for teaching; but take a peaceful nap in an empty house. 樂道恬然優遊眞實 you will find happiness in the Dao, with plenty of space to roam about in True Reality. 無爲無得依無自出 nothing to do, nothing to obtain, and depending upon nothing, your true self will be manifest. 四等六度同一乘路 the Four Virtues and the Six Parâmitâs all belong to the path of the One Vehicle. 心若不生法無差互 when the mind in this way is not produced, then all the phenomena also will not be wrong. 知生無生現前常住 knowing that life is un-born, before you it will constantly remain thus. 智者方知非言詮悟 those with wisdom will know this, but no amount of words can explain this kind of awakening! a version is an attempt to express the authors intention in modern english and in a modern expression within the western culture in which we live.

Monday, March 16, 2009

to breathe

to breathe in the universe; to exhale our very life unhindered. it is this play of life and existence that goes on between the nose and the lips each passing moment that we are alive. is the in breath a moment to perceive? no, it is just the passing of each nanosecond that we pay attention to life. is the exhalation a divine state of exaltation? no, it is just the letting go of what the universe truly gives for free! it is the passing of breath and the sojourn of time that you and I and this and that and all or nothing can become one in the simplicity of a moment in time where there is no this nor that and all that is here can be seen by you and not thought of as in a daze.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

midnight moon

full moon at its apex in the midnight sky the milky way sparkles in the heavens a single ragged mountain out in front scottsdale, arizona lies behind desert shrubs scattered here and there a saguaro cactus home for a family of birds a pack of coyotes howling in unison at the moon looking up I understand we would howl too if we spent some quiet time in this lonesome desert the bright white ball in the midnight sky illuminates objects with an eerie glow walking alone in the desert tonight it’s residents wonder how this stranger could have ever gotten lost January 21, 1997 Paradise Valley, AZ

Saturday, March 7, 2009

customs gate

leaving china with mixed emotions passing through customs at shenzhen my bags are much heavier now than before from all of the gifts I have bought the sign says; Hong Kong Residents Only. my group proceeds and I ask, “shouldn’t we go that way?” “oh no, this is the correct way.” looking up and down at the customs gates all of them have signs which read, Hong Kong Residents Only. a chinese official tells us, we must turn around and go back because we’ve come the wrong way. when we finally arrive at Hong Kong Customs turning around the corner there is Maha Ghosananda his paperwork is done and his processing complete Maha Ghosananda has taught us all today only go straight and pay attention to the signs.
October 7, 1996 Hong Kong Customs