When I was practicing Zazen at Chou-ji (ji is temple in Japanese) in Sapporo Japan many years ago I was surprised at the difficulty of just simply sitting, focusing, and quieting my mind. When you sit Zazen you suddenly realize how much internal dialog we have going on in our minds throughout the day. You … Continue reading The Monkey in the moment….
Most people that have any interest in Buddhism have come across the Zen story about the finger pointing at the moon. If you are into martial arts movies you would have heard this story at the beginning of “Enter the Dragon” when Bruce lee recounts it. This story originated in the Surangama sutra, an important … Continue reading Don’t point that finger at me!….
One thing for certain when people begin their interest in Buddhism their mind is full of all manner of misconceptions about what Buddhism is and what it teaches. This is natural and there isn’t anything wrong with it. We all enter into this thing called Buddhism with our own life experiences, which are unique to … Continue reading Your Evil Ways….
The “Ten Paramita’s” play a big part in Buddhist practice. One of the ten is Dana (generosity) or giving freely. This can be giving alms to the monks, monetary support of the monastics, giving of the teachings of the Dhamma, or charitable giving. The point behind Dana is that it is supposed to be where … Continue reading The dark side of Charity….
Morality is a funny thing. What is right for one person is wrong for another. What is wrong for one can be perfectly acceptable by another. This especially comes into play when you move from culture to culture. In one culture it can be perfectly acceptable for a man to have multiple wives, for example, … Continue reading Morality, Why is it such a difficult word to define?….
This is a popular Thai song called "Or Jao Oei" (Oh my dear in English) played by my beautiful and talented wife Malida McPherson on the traditional Thai instrument called a "Kim" (similar to a hammered dulcimer). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWfMd8o5z6k&feature=youtu.be
I have been a musician for some 40 odd years now. I have always had a love for music so if I am not playing it I am usually listening to it. I have always been amazed by how if you are listening to the music that happens to match your mood that it can … Continue reading Death and the day the music died….
My post “Is the Buddha really a Warmonger” came to be as a result of several posts, articles, and television news spots that I had read or watched recently. They all had the same focuses: 1) A overly simplistic totally one sided view of the situation in Myanmar (Burma) in favor of the Rohingya Muslims. … Continue reading Is your Mommie a Commie?….
Ok, I can’t take it anymore. I have been seeing one article after another saying Buddhist are warmongers just like every other religion and that we should not be surprised in the least. The claim is that we shouldn't be surprised because Buddhism is just another religion of course and all wars and conflict are … Continue reading Is the Buddha really a Warmonger?….
For a number of years I had sort of a love/hate relationship with the Zen tradition. At times the Zen teachings seemed whimsical, humorous, direct and to the point. At other times they seemed so vague and frustrating that I sometimes felt that some of the various Zen teachers were just making stuff up just … Continue reading Jiriki or Tariki, who’s really in charge? Part III….
Most early forms of Buddhism were in the category of Jiriki. The earliest forms in a catagory called the Hinayana focused entirely on reaching enlightenment for the ”individual” by only the efforts of that same “individual”. There was no external force or power. The Buddha’s first disciples such as Ananda, Sariputra or Mahakasyapa understood that … Continue reading Jiriki or Tariki, who’s really in charge? Part II….
First of all I have to apologize for not actively posting over the past few weeks. All I can say is sometimes life gets in the way. If from time to time you do not see anything new I urge you to read some of my past postings. Often the concepts that they contain will … Continue reading Jiriki or Tariki, who’s really in charge? Part I….
“How long are the horns on a rabbit”? I first came across this saying when I was studying Soto Zen in Japan. I had long thought, mainly because it is sort of whimsical, that it was strictly a Zen saying. I just recently found out the source of this saying, i will get to that … Continue reading Where are the horns on that Screwy Wabbit?….
One aspect of Buddhism that is little understood is the metaphysical or what may seem by some to be on the verge of magical. Although throughout my life I have for some reason always been drawn to this sort of thing I have always been fairly skeptical. None the less cases of knowing past lives, … Continue reading Is there something in the water?….
The last time you sat down and lit some incense or performed some other Buddhist ritual did you ask yourself why you are doing this? Have you ever asked yourself why? Most likely if you are from the west after you had your initial interest in Buddhism you visited a local temple (if your one … Continue reading Truth or Consequences….
When you hear the term suffering what do you think of? The first thing that comes to my mind is some sort of physical pain. People suffer when they don’t have enough to eat, are physically beaten, tortured, or have some severe or terminal illness. These things all have a relationship to the physical body … Continue reading Suffering or not Suffering, that is the question?….
If you are old (and that is pretty old) enough to remember playing your favorite song on a record player you can surly relate to this happening. For those of you that don’t know, back then you could buy just your favorite song, which was on a 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) record, and it … Continue reading Mindfulness, A 45 on 33 1/3…
This is the last section of this series on Kongo-Zen. Doshin So continues... The Answer Lies in Man There are three known variables, the individual, nature, and society, that determine the conditions of mans survival as well as his fulfillment and happiness. But because it takes individuals to exploit nature and individuals to make societies, … Continue reading What is Kongo-Zen, Part III
This is a continuation of Doshin So's write up about Kongo-Zen. Kongo-Zen, which focuses its attention on man as an expression of and participant in the infinite circle of reality and as endowed with a share of its vast potentially for wisdom, strength, courage, and love that life can best be lived. It is … Continue reading What is Kongo-Zen? Part II
While I was living in Japan one of the Martial Arts I studied was Shorin-ji Kempo. Shorin is the Japanese pronunciation for Shaolin and Ji is temple. Kem (Ken) means fist and po (do) means way. So altogether it means “Way of the Shaolin Fist”. Shorin-ji was founded by a man named Michiomi Nakano also … Continue reading What is Kongo-Zen?
One of the few places that I actually practiced Buddhism in a formal setting was at the Soto Zen temple Chuo-ji in Sapporo, Japan. Before this I had heard about Zen but had no idea that there were different flavors of Zen or what the differences were. Being relatively new to Buddhist practice the simplicity … Continue reading The Zen of Master Bassui
Did you ever wonder why systems of fighting are named Martial Arts? The Martial part is obvious. Where does the term Art fit in to throwing a punch or swinging a sword? When I first asked about this I got the answer that it was the Kata's or Forms that we practiced that made it … Continue reading Martial Melodies
To be capable or skilled in the Martial Arts is not an easy thing to come by. It can take years of struggle, time, and practice. People often look for the easy way or short cuts to reach what they perceive as a sign or badge of their proficiency. There is much more to martial … Continue reading The Martial strategy of Sun Tzu….Tactical Dispositions
If you read my previous post “Karma, maybe it doesn't mean what we thought it did” you know my view of Karma differs somewhat from the way Karma is traditionally taught. This is not just based on an opinion that I created myself but one that I developed by correlating the Buddha’s core teachings of … Continue reading Milo, Money, and Cat Karma
“Each deity is possessed of the Three Mysteries (as innumerable as) the dust motes of (countless) lands, and they mutually empower each other and encompass one another. The three mysteries of sentient beings are also like this. Therefore, it is called empowerment by the three mysteries. If a Mantra practitioner should examine the meaning of … Continue reading Buddhism, Its Elemental my dear Watson….Part VIII
I have noticed that some readers are reading one part of this series or another. While of course you are free to do what you like I would suggest that you will get more out of this series if you read them from start to finish as references are made back to earlier posts. Also … Continue reading Buddhism, Its Elemental my dear Watson….Part VII, Visualization
In the past few posts in this series we have looked at many symbols (signs). The diversity of these symbols is vast but the purpose of all these visual systems is to convey truths beyond language. This is to help prevent misconceptions or false understandings like terms, “self”, “universe” “empty” and false notions of duality … Continue reading Buddhism, Its Elemental my dear Watson….Part VI, The Mantra
“In Buddhism, knowledge in any form is subservient to transcendental wisdom. Values, which arise from knowledge, are similarly subservient to wisdom. If we could overcome the tendency to confer fixed values upon things the separateness between them would disappear. We could begin to regard things as they actually are.” Nagaboshi Tomio, The Bodhisattva warriors … Continue reading Buddhism, Its Elemental my dear Watson….Part V,The Mandala
The historical Buddha was a man, the Prince Siddhartha, Shakyamuni, Gautama. The Buddha Maha Vairocana (Dainichi in Japanese) represents both the historical Buddha’s Enlightenment and the universe that it contains. The Great Six Elements represents not only us but all phenomena in the whole universe. It represents how through interdependence (Dependent Origination) all phenomena through … Continue reading Buddhism, Its Elemental my dear Watson….Part IV, Maha Vairocana