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Showing posts from December, 2012

Living With An Untamed Mind

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It was a half hour or so past midnight and those of us gathered in the meditation hall at Sanshin Zen Temple had just completed six days of sitting zazen from 4:10 in the morning until 9:00 in the evening and an even longer seventh day meant to commemorate the Buddha’s enlightenment upon seeing the morning star. An offering to the Buddha had been made; the Bodhisattva Vows and the Heart Sutra had been chanted; rohatsu sesshin thus came to a close. A few of our number retired immediately, more in need of sleep than anything else. The remainder, perhaps feeling more wired than tired, gratefully accepted the Okumura’s offer of a nightcap of warm sake and fellowship upstairs in their private quarters. This had been “sesshin without toys,” after all, sesshin in the very rigorous and austere Antaiji-style instituted by Shohaku Okumura’s teacher, Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. Relaxing in a chair sipping sake and enjoying free-flowing conversation after a week of fourteen or more periods of zazen pe…

Have Yourself a Buddhist Little Christmas

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Alright all you Buddhists out there! By now you’ve weathered a good month and a half of what we commonly refer to as “the holiday season” – that period during which the cultural collective storms out of the starting gate the moment the Halloween decorations come down, gathers momentum as Thanksgiving approaches, hits its stride on that notorious shopping day known as Black Friday, and then continues at an all-out sprint until collapsing into a physically and emotionally exhausted, overeaten and hungover pile of debt-burdened human wreckage on New Year’s Day!

How does it feel so far? Are you going stir-crazy from hearing Christmas carols nearly everywhere you go? Is the ubiquitous presence of wasteful and distasteful lawn art finally starting to wear you down? Has workplace pressure to pony up for an offering of useless crap for the annual “white elephant” gift exchange put your principles of simplicity to the test? Okay, and how many times have you lamented to friends and family abou…