Archive for zen buddhism

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.

Advertisements

World’s first online Jukai completed

Posted in Buddhism on the web, Jukai, Western Buddhism, Zen with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2009 by Al

First of all, welcome to those of you who are visiting from the post mentioning Dharmacore on the Tricycle Editor’s Blog. I’m glad to have you here.

So it was a long process leading up to our online Jukai, but for those of us who participated, it was very rewarding. The ceremony was held on 1/17/09 at 9am CST, and people from all over and country (and the world!) participated. It lasted about an hour, and we followed the traditional Soto Zen precept ceremony.

You can see exactly how we did it. First, Jundo created a very helpful PDF Jukai guide for everyone to print out and follow along with during the ceremony. Then we were each assigned a spot in a video conference meeting room using MeBeam. MeBeam didn’t actually work that well for me; I kept getting kicked off every five minutes or so, but it seemed to work well for several of the other attendees. Jundo broadcasted himself and his end of the ceremony using Ustream.

The ceremony involved a lot of chanting and bowing, as well as reciting the Heart Sutra, a very important text in Zen Buddhism. We “received” our hand-sewn rakusus from Jundo, complete with the lovely calligraphy panel sewn in the back. The calligraphy includes our new Buddhist names chosen for each of us by Jundo, the date of the ceremony, and several stamps representing Jundo and our lineage. He also included a beautiful lineage paper that shows our new name flowing down from all the past Buddhas and ancestors.

Here are some photos:


The first photo shows the lineage paper and the name calligraphy (I had these framed), and the other two photos are of me and the altar setup I used during the ceremony.

If you would like to watch the recorded ceremony, you can see the whole thing here: Jundo’s online Jukai recording.

My Buddhist name is Shinkai, which means “ocean of fidelity.” Taking the precepts (and this name) meant a lot to me. I’ve been exploring Buddhism for over 3 years now, and the timing was exactly right for me to make this commitment. I thank Jundo and all my fellow online sangha members who participated in our trailblazing online Jukai.

Zen Buddhist Gathas

Posted in Zen with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by Al

If I were to ask non-Buddhists to read one Buddhist book, it probably wouldn’t big one of the big sweeping volumes about the history of the religion, and it definitely wouldn’t be the new agey self help from the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh. It wouldn’t even be the punk-to-monk semi-autobiographies by Brad Warner or Noah Levine, even though those are some of my favorites. It would probably be The Dragon Who Never Sleeps by Robert Aitken. It’s a slim, rarely-mentioned and highly underrated collection of Zen Buddhist gathas. Gathas are little poems (in Aitken’s format, the second line is always “I vow with all beings”) that illustrate some of the best moments for practice in our lives.

Here are some of my favorites:

When someone offers a drink
I vow with all beings
to acknowledge the sorrow it causes
as it warms and gladdens our hearts.

When the outcome proves disappointing
I vow with all beings
to look again at my purpose-
was it Dharma or something else?

When I panic at losing my bearings
I vow with all beings
to acknowledge the error is panic,
not losing familiar ground.

When my efforts are clearly outclassed
I vow with all beings
to face my own limitations
and bring forth my original self.

Looking up at the sky
I vow with all beings
to remember this infinite ceiling
in every room of my life.

When a car goes by late at night
I vow with all beings
to remember the lonely bakers
who secretly nourish us all.

When a train rattles by at the crossing
I vow with all beings
to remember my mother and father
and imagine their thoughts in the night.

If you practice with gathas, please share some in the comments.