Both the Lotus Sutra and Zen Master Dogen are saying something very similar, that what we do matters and has an effect on those around us, perhaps beyond what we are willing or prepared to notice.
First you must believe that you are already within the Way. You must believe that you are free of delusion, illusory thoughts, confused ideas, increase, and decrease and mistaken understanding. Believe in this manner, clarify the Way and practice accordingly. This is the essence of studying the Way.
I grew up watching TV shows and movies that portrayed superheroes like Luke Skywalker and Yoda defeating supervillains like Darth Vader. I’m still attracted to these kinds of movies, but I also know that we don’t need to be super-human, saintly, or even to become a Buddha to be of service to others or to save the world.
Improvement or “transformation” modes of practice have their merit and may be viable for us in some ways and at some times. I genuinely respect these approaches. However, Soto Zen meditation is different from other schools of Buddhism, Hinduism and secular meditation in an important respect.
Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking meditation is going to do something for them, make them calmer or happier. There has been loads of research on how meditation does that. But without adequate preparation it really just gets us in touch with our own misery. This is why I suggest asking not what your meditation practice can do for you, but what you can do for your meditation practice.
It can be helpful to remember why we came to meditation in the first place. For many of us, anxiety and stress are big issues. Family, work, even meditation can make us stress out. The thought of carving out more time to do something else can be daunting. It’s easier to simply check out andContinue reading “What is Meditation?”
Refuge in the Buddha & Christ, Dharma & Divinity, Sangha & Church.
Wisdom taught, reality touched, community of nobility recognized.
All because of a thousand bites from a toothless dog.
Racing is what I did for a living. I raced to get to the swimming pool. I raced in the water. I raced to get my homework finished. I raced against my classmates for the best grade. When I sat down to rest, my thoughts raced. I watched fast paced movies, gorging on violence, sex, bodies crashing into each other, and the noise of gunfire. None of this was real, but it was a reflection of the reality of some parts of our world, certainly parts of my own mind, and so it felt real, and I felt connected to others through that “tele – vision.” Yet like Prince Siddhartha prior to seeing the four sights (a sick man, a senile man, a corpse and a sage), I knew there was something missing.
Carrots are extraordinarily versatile root vegetables. They can be used raw in salads, cooked into soups and stews, mashed into pancakes, and entwined into a host of other dishes. Recipes that involve carrots will describe the amounts needed and the size or shape to make with them. Some books are adorned with colorful arrangements ofContinue reading “Zen Cooking Lesson: Candescent Carrots”
Is it ever okay to hit your child? If so, what are the reasons that parents do this? If not, what can support a parent in choosing not to use physical punishment on their child?