Beanplating Buddhism | Ask MetaFilter

Posted in General on June 3, 2010 by Al
Anyone want to answer a newbie Buddhist with a few Dharma questions?

…can you truly accept a situation without some desire or outcome (e.g. greater peace) in mind, even if it is in the back of your mind?

…If you want to eliminate desire, isn’t that in itself a desire? And can anyone do anything without serving one desire or another? If you took this to a logical extreme, you’d stop desiring food and die. Are practicing Buddhists anywhere close to eliminating desire?

More details over at

Posted via web from Dharmacore


Zen Priest Offers a Buddhist Blessing (in honor of Harvey Milk)

Posted in General on June 3, 2010 by Al

Dogen Sangha… WTF happened here?

Posted in General on June 3, 2010 by Al

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Dear Mr. James Cohen,

You do not belong Dogen Sangha at all. Therefore you should not say anything about Dogen Sangha completely.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

This is what I don’t understand about Dharma transmission. Is he taking it back?

Posted via web from Dharmacore

Praise and Blame in Zen

Posted in General on June 3, 2010 by Al
How do we reflect praise and blame in Zen? Praise can be a smack on the head, and blame can be a gracious thank you.

The Dalai Lama reflects on praise and blame in his commentary on lines from Longchen Rabjam’s Finding Comfort and Ease in Meditation on the Great Perfection.

By The Dalai Lama
The Dalai LamaSee the equality of praise and blame,
approval and disapproval, good
and bad reputation,
For they are just like illusions or
dreams and have no true existence.

THIS VERSE REFERS to the Eight Worldly Concerns: wanting to be praised and not wanting to be criticized, wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, wanting gain and not wanting loss, and wanting fame and approval and not wanting rejection and disgrace. We all experience these, don’t we? Even animals probably have them in some slight measure.

Posted via web from Dharmacore

The importance of good circumstances

Posted in General on May 26, 2010 by Al

One day, in a talk on various subjects, Dogen said,

Originally, there is no good or evil in the human mind. Good and evil depend on the situation. For example, when we arouse bodhi-mind and enter some mountain or forest, we think that staying in the mountains is good and living in human society is bad. But then, we get bored and leave the mountain thinking it bad. This is because the mind has no fixed characteristics; it changes in various ways depending on the circumstances. Therefore, if you encounter good circumstances, your mind becomes good; if you encounter bad circumstances, your mind becomes bad. Do not think that your mind is bad by nature. Just follow good circumstances.

Shobogenzo Zuimonki 5-14

Things people ask me about Zen

Posted in General on February 25, 2010 by Al

I read an interesting article today about creating a personal FAQ for things people frequently ask your advice on. I was thinking about that and wondering what people ask me for advice on. Usually it is either GTD or Zen/meditation stuff. Then I thought… what would my personal FAQ look like for Zen? I think it would look something like this…


Q: What is Zen anyway?
A: So, Zen is a religion. There are two main types of Zen in the US, Rinzai Zen and Soto Zen. Warrior Zen and Farmer Zen, respectively. I’m the farmer type. Slow and plodding. It involves precepts (less like commandments and more like friendly Buddhist suggestions), the noble eight-fold path (the road to getting enlightened), and meditation.

Q: Do Zen Buddhists believe in God?
A: Some do and some don’t. I don’t. The Buddha said there is no creator.

Q: How can Buddhism help with anxiety/stress/emotions/my daily problems?
A: Meditation slows down your brain. Kinhin (walking meditation) can be practiced anywhere, and it slows down your brain AND your steps. Practicing the precepts improves your behavior toward your fellow sentient beings. Dissolving your sense of self dissolves defensiveness and anxiety because there’s nothing left to defend or be anxious about.

Q: What do you mean you ordained?
A: I’m not a priest or any kind of official something or other. It just means I committed to the precepts in the presence of my teacher and sangha-mates (Buddhist community people). It’s more like first communion.

Q: So how can I do some meditation?
A: Read the online instructions from Zen Mountain Monastery. You can use a folded blanket and pillow instead of a zafu and zabuton. You don’t really need any fancy accessories.

Online Dharma teachings: Taigu on Oxherding

Posted in Buddhism on the web, Video, Zen with tags , , , , , on December 30, 2009 by Al

Treeleaf teacher Rev. Taigu discusses the first of the Ten Oxherding pictures:

Be sure to subscribe to the rest of the series here.