Dropping Ashes on the Buddha

“Someone comes to the Zen centre smoking a cigarette. He blows smoke in the Buddha’s face and drops ashes on the Buddha’s head.” If you’re standing there what can you do? The abbot comes running in. “You are crazy! Why are you dropping ashes on the Buddha?” But the...

Just Seeing is Buddha Nature

If you want to understand the realm of Buddha, Keep a mind which is clear like space. So, let all thinking and all external desires fall far away. Let your mind go anyplace, with no hindrance.  Then what is the one pure and clear thing? Then, what is keeping a mind...

Patrul Rinpoche’s Pointing Out Instructions

Nyoshul Lungtok, who later became one of the greatest Dzogchen masters of recent times, followed his teacher Patrul Rinpoche for about eighteen years. During all that time, they were almost inseparable. So great was the love and devotion between them that Patrul...

Zen Pointing Out Instructions

A quick and expedient way of awakening... The master takes his staff and points directly to your heart saying, Listen here! This! This! A thousand times this! The seeker is what's sought. Originally the mind is pristine, vast and expansive like a clear blue sky. All...

Don’t Know Mind

A young monk tentatively asked the Master, “Teacher, why did Bodhidharma come from the west?” The Master looked out the window and said, “The cypress tree in the courtyard.” The Zen Master whacks his stick against the floor. You're startled, heart racing, eyes wide...

What is Zen?

Zen is waking up to your true nature. It is about seeing things as they actually are. Zen really cannot be explained it must be lived. It must be experienced. You must taste the chocolate. I've always liked the story of Bodhidharma and when he arrived in China. People...

The Matter of Soul in Buddhism

There are two views that are fairly popular within the world: There's the view of nihilism, that is after you die, that’s it, there’s nothing left. Then there’s the view of eternalism, where you have an eternal soul and after you die that soul remains intact and goes...

MU

The conceptual every day mind is never happy. It always wants something to chew on. It's a hungry ghost and no matter how much information we feed it the mind will never be satisfied. “Does a dog have buddha-nature?” “Why did Bodhidharma come to China?” “Was the...

Suchness

Seeking enlightenment, following the path, making progress, moving toward liberation. All of these things setup the concept of a me over here moving toward a goal or destination over there. Master Thich Thien-An in Zen Philosophy, Zen Practice says that, “When we seek...

Sudden Awakening, Gradual Cultivation

Do we achieve awakening suddenly or is it cultivated gradually? Do we have one moment or is it a series of mini-moments? Does awakening need to be stabilized or once we “get it” do we have it forever? Can it be done with words and study or is it beyond words and...

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