The mind is like a pair of shoes. We wear them all the time, but we’re not usually all that aware of them. They pick up bits and pieces of the places we go. Sand, dirt, mud, dust, shit, and piss—whatever we step in, we pick up. If we don’t pay attention, then our shoes […]
Today I described Chan meditation like this to a friend: Grass grows, wolves howl, Buddhas sit.
Five traditional Buddhist meditations for counteracting the Five Hindrances
照底心直觀禪 Zhao xindi zhiguan chan. It’s simpler than it sounds. This is a great exercise for anyone who’s preoccupied with their thoughts and feelings. I’m a huge fan of the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment’s scheme, that practice begins with an Awakening. Before then, we’re just kind of putting all the pieces in place that we […]
Time has no hold over what is true. That’s the basic teaching. Buddhadharma asks us to set aside fleeting and fairweather truths, and to turn around and look at what remains when we’re no longer grasping at a single thing. During meditation, if something’s marked by dissatisfaction, we forget it. If something’s marked by impermanence, […]
A clearing in forest, a batch of light bathing the bare patch of grass. You find places like that, scattered here and there in the woods, existing without any good reason to. They’re just there, open spaces. Fields, groves, and meadows. They’re decent impromptu pastures for rabbits and deer, since they’re usually overflowing with tall, […]
One thing at a time. That’s the path to a simple life and a straightforward mind (not-two). Instead of multitasking, instead of our minds jumping rapidly from this to that, or trying to balance this, that, and the other thing simultaneously—we’re living one step at a time. Even when we’re not multitasking, we’re usually still […]
If silent illumination is like waiting for the water to clear and then diving in, and hua tou is like breaking ice and diving in, Buddha recitation is like focusing on the pearl itself until we suddenly see that it wasn’t at the bottom of the lake at all—it was our own reflection in the water.
Yaoshan once asked his student, Daowu, “Where have you been?”
“Walking on the mountain,” Daowu replied.
“Answer without leaving this room!”
When we get lost in thought, lost in our own stories, that’s taking thought out of its natural habitat and putting it in a zoo. That’s why we often feel trapped in our lives or stuck in our heads.