Showing posts from January, 2008

StreetZen Ordination

Good Morning Everyone, The winds blew fiercely across the construction site of the new Federal Building in downtown Las Cruces, spraying us with sand as we sat for our peace vigil on Church Street.  At the very beginning of the sit, Rev. Bussho sat in front of me and I offered her the vows of a Zen priest in our Order. I had to do the ceremony from memory and without incense or candle. She repeated them flawlessly. We recited the Wisdom Heart sutra, the verse of repentance, and I dabbed her head with water using a pine bough she had picked for the purpose.  We then recited the Three Refuges, the Three Pure Precepts, and the Ten Grave Precepts.  With a crack of the kyosaku on her shoulders, it was done. I offered Rev. Bussho my kyosaku, given to me by my teacher, and presented her with a rakusu in the new emerald green color of our order.  Rev. Bussho is the first priest ordained in our new Order of Clear Mind Zen.  Afterwards we sat in zazen holding small signs for peace and Earth Wit…

The Real Zen

Good Morning Everyone, So, we sit down on a cushion, face a wall, place our palms together, bow, take up the cosmic mudra and practice presence. We breathe in, we breathe out.  We let our self fall away. As we and the Infinite realize our oneness. Then a bell rings, we bow, rise and perhaps recite a sutra or some vows and move on through our day. So? Unless we carry those vows, the essential nature of the sutra, the essential connection with the Infinite gained on that cushion into the world, our sitting is meaningless.  When you read these words what is your experience? When your partner is crabby or your boss a jerk or traffic deeply, tightly congested, what is your experience? This is your real practice.  The cushion is essential, but still only prep work. Do the prep, then walk the walk. Be well.

Rev. Dr. So Daiho Hilbert-roshi  Clear Mind Zen Web Log Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.


Good Morning Everyone, Rev. Bonnie Bussho Hobbs will undergo Shukke Tokudo, becoming a full priest in the Order of Clear Mind Zen during streetZen Wednesday, January 30 at 4:00 PM near the corner of Church and Griggs next to the Federal Building. All who wish to attend and honor Rev. Bussho, please come. Be well. 

Rev. Dr. So Daiho Hilbert-roshi  Clear Mind Zen Web Log Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

Facing the Sun

Good Morning Everyone, Your Original Face is faceless. Like a boundless mirror, There it is in everything you See, taste, feel, smell, hear, and  think.  Know it. This is the meaning of form. This is the meaning of formlessness.  Practicing the forms Allows formlessness to be realized. Not practicing the forms Makes them prison walls. Freedom resides Within the boundaries of form. To be truly free, Take up a daily practice And do it religiously. As we practice Our daily practice, Our heart-mind opens As if it were a morning glory Facing the sun.   Let us grow.

Rev. Dr. So Daiho Hilbert-roshi  Clear Mind Zen Web Log Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.


Good Morning Everyone, In life it is always a good idea to be open to your actual experience.  We tend to live in our thoughts so much that we are really not as open as we could be.  The result is a constant strain to keep things from changing.  An impossible task, of course, as life itself is constant change.  But if we live in our thoughts, the real, actual world does not have an opportunity to present itself as it is.  This is very sad because if we keep things from changing, against the natural order of things, then we live in death itself. As I write to you this morning, for example, I sit with Pete-kitty on my right and Tripper, the cockapoo, on my left.  Both are sleeping, but in close proximity to me in the middle. The coffee is ready.  I have to go to my cushion shortly. And in just two sentences I am not sitting here with you.  Did you notice? This is important because we live in relationship either to others or to our physical world.  When we cut ourselves off from the living …


Good Morning Everyone,

I vow not to kill.

All living things should be treated with respect and with the understanding that they possess Buddha Nature. Our precept against killing is an indication of our willingness to keep this understanding in our experience as we live out our lives. We vow not to kill, but understand that life lives off of life. So this precept against killing cannot be about killing to live. Killing to kill is not respectful. Killing for glory is not respectful. Killing for fun is not respectful. These are not acceptable in terms of our vow not to kill.,

If we have roaches in our kitchen we should try to tease them away, or trap and release them or, failing in that, we must kill them because they pose a health risk to human beings and the observe of our precept is to support life.

On the other hand, if we have a mouse in our kitchen we should trap it with a non-lethal trap and release it to the wild. Doing so takes a little effort, but the powerful sense of deep car…

Tails A-Waggin'

Good Afternoon Everyone, Zen is a way of life, indeed, it is life itself.  When we practice Zen we are alive and awake.  When we do not practice Zen we are asleep and dead. No special tools are required, just a willingness to open our eyes to see and our lungs to breathe. This morning I made a tuna salad for our breakfast club.  The pups, Pepper and, rounded the corner as soon as they heard the hand cranked can opener at work.  Pete-kitty followed close behind. All waited patiently -- and not so patiently -- as I emptied the can, chopped the onion, and mixed the relish, peas, and spices, into the tuna.  Pete-kitty was insistent, but he really does not like tuna.  Tripper was doing near back flips to get at the can.  Pepper, old dog that he is, waited patiently.  I gave him a small chunk of tuna and topped it off with a dog biscuit, as I slipped the near empty can to Tripper. During this whole live theatre, I kept awake.  Opening the can I was aware I was opening the can.  Dealing with t…

Just Do It

Good Morning Everyone, Its a nice chilly morning and I am preparing now for my morning run.  I just did my weight work in my bathroom dumbbell gym: bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, delt raises, and shrugs.  I am doing one set of twenty reps in the morning, afternoon, and evening with the heaviest weight I can manage for that number of reps. I was going to go for a walk with my friend Abe, but he could not muster himself and my training partner, Katie, isn't feeling very well.  So, I am on my own. Life is like that. We partner with people, draw on their support, but in the end it is our own effort and willingness to get down and do the thing that really counts.  Yesterday I sat alone at the Veteran's Park.  The air was not particularly cold, but I wore a thermal insulated shirt under my robe. It was a peaceful two periods of Zazen. From there I went to Temple Beth El where I led two periods of meditation.  This was a good little group.  We even had one of my Zen students attend, Sar…

On Pots and Hummingbirds

Good Morning Everyone, Yesterday at the El Paso Sangha, I offered at teiso on everyday life.  I used a portion of Master Dogen's Tenzo Kyokun (Instructions for the Cook), translated by Uchiyama-roshi of the Soto tradition,.and a portion of the book, Novice to Master by Morinaga-roshi of the Rinzai tradition.  One of the fundamental tenets of our practice -- Soto or Rinzai-- is this:  there is no trash. The second fundamental derives as,: everything is sacred, but nothing is special.  This means we should honor the everyday, finding in the everyday everything we need. Yet, we human beings go around marking things as special.  We invest things with meaning. This is why we suffer so: Everything, special or ordinary,  dissolves over time and returns to the Source. So, on the one hand, we should recognize the sacred is the everyday, and on the other hand, we should not endeavour to hold onto it.  We should practice with the knowledge that everything is transitory.  Everything. How do we d…

Extraordinary Magic

Good Morning Everyone,

My Little Honey has just completed a short novel entitled "The Extraordinary Magic of Everyday Life" In it she has three aged women, one of whom is a bag lady, and with the magic of a teddy bear and everyday life, itself, they come of age. This process of coming of age is interesting. It is in the process of rising to the occasions required by activities of the ordinary with friends and family that we take our place in the world.

Yesterday we went to see "The Bucket List" and while the activities on that list were wonderful "things to do" the really important stuff was relational. We often forget that. At least I do. Yet, as I am aging, like my wife's characters in her book, I trust I am coming of age myself.

We cannot short circuit the process and there are no real short cuts. Life is to be lived and the less we live in the creation of our minds, the more we live in the everyday moments, the more authentic our lives. Zen is al…

Cooking Your Life

Good Morning Everyone, This morning is again a cold one.  The temps are in the low twenties and I am scheduled to go sit in front of the environmental center.  Sitting Zazen in the cold is no fun.  I've noticed that my nose runs, eyes water, and internal things begin to shake. This can't be good.  I am cancelling my morning outdoor sits until the morning temps are above 35. I missed the Wednesday Peace Vigil due to Rev. Kokyo's surgery.  It was supposed to be in the early morning, but it was moved to the afternoon.  So it goes.  Life is full of little twists and turns and the more quickly we get to a point where we relax into them the better. Just like on a motorcycle, you don't resist leaning into the curve. Learning to let go is really important.  Last night we attended Chef Jacob's opening night at Meson de Mesilla.  It was an unexpectedly large crowd, every table full, the lounge crowded, and a very green kitchen staff.  I stepped back to the kitchen a few times.…

The Small Things

Good Morning Everyone, Life is good.  This morning's power outage made an impression on me.  When we are at our Refuge in the mountains we have no power outages, period (due to our own, reliable, solar power system, and there is always heat through the woodburning cookstove or propane furnace.  As we rose early this morning and wanted coffee, though, the percolator refused to work without electric. Imagine that.  In the mountains, we would simply get the cookstove going and shortly we would have our coffee and tea. Lessons: Always have matches available, candles, and flashlights with batteries. Have a small propane campstove available to heat water for coffee and tea. And always have a battery operated radio available to find out what's going on. My matches were not in my drawer.  My flashlight was emptied of batteries in an attempt a few weeks ago to get a tape recorder to work, and we left our propane campstove in the mountains. Fortunately, my memory is sometimes in good repa…

Taking a short break

Hello All, Just a quick note to let you know I'm taking a short break from writing.  My Little Honey had surgery on her nose yesterday to remove a malignant basal cell carcinoma, my son in Florida is having a rather sticky heart procedure Friday, and I am just plan tired. Please keep Judy and Jason in your prayers.  Also, my former Disciple Rev. Sam Kokyo is having a hip replaced tomorrow and we will attend his partner Mary Ellen in the surgery waiting room.  Keep him in your thoughts as well. Lastly, thank you Deana Kessin, for keeping me company while Judy was being treated in the hospital outpatient surgery center. Meditation at the synagogue went well and I have double the number of students I expected to have in my spirituality class at the Academy of Jewish Learning. I guess there is a demand for a JuBu Zen priest :) Anyway, Be well.

Rev. Dr. So Daiho Hilbert-roshi Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

Work Meditation

Good Morning Everyone, In the West we often think of the sacred as something special residing in a special place or created through a special activity. In fact, we often think of the universe as divided and separated, categorized, tagged and bagged: me ~ not me. In Zen, East or West, we strive to see through this delusion, this veil of ignorance, and see that everything is one.  In such a world, there is no sacred, no profane, nothing special, there is just the world we experience as we experience it.  We could say this is mundane.  Hardly.  It is, in fact, extraordinary. The universe is all us, everything.  Our breath and our very existence both depends on it and it depends on us.  Nothing means anything without our making it mean something.  We are partners with the Infinite. In Zen, we approach all activity in this way: meditation, walking, eating.  Today I will suggest that even our work is such an activity.  We call work meditation, samu. It is typically done as a meditative practic…

Lets Eat

Good Morning Everyone, Seated meditation and walking meditation are but two of our meditative forms.  There is also "oryoki" or the practices involved in eating meditation.  Formal practice requires two things for the Zen Buddhist, a robe and a set of bowls.  These point to our basic necessities of food and shelter.  The robe shelters us against the elements and food offers us sustenance for our journey. Just as there is a prayer when opening our robe, so too there are prayers associated with eating.  In Zen, all activity is activity of a buddha.  We should therefore treat all activity with a high degree of reverence and awareness. Oryoki is usually practiced at the noon meal in Temples.  The noon meal is often the last meal of the day and is the most substantive.  An oryoki bowl set contains three bowls, a table cloth, a cloth bib, a cloth napkin, and a utensil pouch with contains chop sticks, a spoon, and a cleaning tool.  We open the bowls together in the meditation hall in…

Taking Aim

Good Morning Everyone,

Everything has its use, its place in the universe, and for the sake of this, everything is necessary. According to Aristotle, there were four causes: material, efficient, formal, and final. In modern times we use only one type of cause in our thinking, formal cause. Yet each type of cause reveals a point of view and each point of view has validity.

Material cause suggests something is what it is due to the material it is made of. We are holy beings because God breathed his spirit into us. We are human beings because we live in social groups and we get our life from the group. We are human beings because we have evolved into human beings as a result of many physical, psychological, and spiritual causes. Lastly, we are human beings for the sake of our partnership with the Absolute in order to perfect the universe.

Each "cause" has its place and offers us a view of our reason for being. One view looks at the stuff we are made of, another the conditions re…

Walking Meditation

Good Morning Everyone, This morning I want to talk about Kinhin.  Kinhin is walking meditation.  It is essentially stillness in motion. There is a formal and informal version of this practice.  Formal Kinhin is practiced in the Zendo between sitting periods.  Informal kinhin is practiced anywhere at anytime. Formal Kinhin should be done in the following way.  Standing at your cushion, facing the wall, place your hands in gassho (prayer-like hand gesture), with elbows extended and forearms horizontal to the floor. Then bow from the waist.  Turn to your right.  Close your left hand into a fist with thumb surrounded by your fingers.  Place your right hand on top as if to cover it like a shield. With elbows extended, forearms should remain horizontal to the floor.  Step off with your right foot.  Each step should be like a half step and very slow.  Kinhin is practiced slowly and mindfully.  Breathing in, we step, breathing out, we step.  Our attention should be on our presence as we walk.�…

Three Generations

Good Morning Everone, Yesterday afternoon at the  Peace Vigil I sat in serene reflection meditation on the sidewalk in front of the old federal building. The sun was still up and we practice facing west so the sun warms our skin against the cooling late afternoon desert air.  Sometime during the second period, Abbey and her friend (I cannot recall her name) sat down next to me to practice a few minutes. Abbey is a high school student whose mother and grandmother stand with me during the peace vigil on Wednesdays.  She is a tall young lady, with long blond hair, and a keen interest in the world. Over the last few weeks Abby has sat with me on a few occasions on the street.  She has also written to me a couple of times with questions.  Her questions suggest she has had a meditation practice for quite some time, but that her practice has been undisciplined.  Anyway, Abbey and her friend sat in silence, hands in the cosmic mudra, and brought peace into the world with me.  It was a very go…


Good Morning Everyone, When we sit down to practice zazen, we should sit down with a certain aim.  This aim is to be open and present without attempting to have this thought or that; this state of consciousness or that; or this feeling or that.  Zazen is the pure act of just sitting to be just sitting.  We practice zazen in order to be awake.  Most of the time we are not awake, rather, we are thinking about something other than what we are doing.  as I type just now, I am thinking I need to get off the computer to get to the grocery store before my Breakfast Club meeting at 9:00.  This is not being awake.  We often confuse having our eyes open for being awake. Drivers are "awake" but often appear to have tombstones in their eyes, mesmerized by the monotony of traffic.  Parents are often "awake" as they attend to their children with their minds a couple of dozen miles away. This is no way to live. Today practice for one hour to just be awake.  Tat is just attending to…

A Cold Wind

Good Morning Everyone, Our car is repaired and we got it back last night just before Zen Judaism and just after streetZen.  I am personally relieved. Being without a vehicle for nearly two weeks was a considerable stressor for this retired couple. streetZen was a challenge yesterday afternoon. The day was windy and as the sun went down so did the temperatures.  The result was that we sat in a very cold sustained wind in the 30 mph range. I wrapped myself in my serape, but it was billowing during the first sitting period.  During the second period I wrapped it around my head and tucked the front under my knees so as to hold it down. Rev. Zento sat with me.  It was good to have him there. As I sat there I remembered one night in 1964 when I stood guard duty in the dead of winter in Germany. It was so cold the tears from my eyes froze on my face. Of course I was 17 at the time and thought I was God's gift to soldering, but those thoughts were little comfort against the cold.  Still, t…

On the Street

Good Morning Everyone, Lately, I am sleeping later than usual.  This is a good thing as I seem to require less nap time in the afternoon as a result. While naps are wonderful, an hour or two is a bit over the top. So, I turned off my alarm a week or two ago and let my body do its own thing.  It appears that it wakes me up about an hour later each morning than my alarm would. Time to reset my alarm to accord with my body. Zazenkai on Saturday went well.  Rev. Zento, Rev. Kajo, and I sat at the beginning, although we got a late start my car is still not repaired). Rev. Kajo wasn't able to continue as she had much discomfort (she is undergoing physical therapy for this just now). So, it was Zento and myself the remainder of the day.  We sat for seven periods and left after chanting the Heart Sutra and the Shigu Seigan Mon (4 Great Vows). We had no one visit with us and no one took a handout. So we were left to practice pure Zen. Each and every time I sit outside on the street like tha…

A Day of Practicing the Kalama Sutra

Good Morning Everyone, My car still is not repaired.  The parts supplier apparently got my order confused with another and neglected to actually order the strut itself for my car. So now I have the mount but not the strut.  Goodness. The SAAB parts department promised to have the part overnight-ed to El Paso and the mechanic promised to retrieve it from there today. Once again I am hopeful. Meanwhile, today we practice Zazenkai, a day long intensive meditation period from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on the street in front of the Southwest Environmental Center at the downtown mall. Zazenkai should be practiced in mindful silence with our attention always awake and aware.  In a very real way, Zen is our lives.  When we appreciate Zen as nothing more than the practice of being awake to the moment we are in, we can see the truth of this. Much of the time of our daily life we seem to reside in fancy and delusion.  The fancy is our thinking world, a world not at all real or connected to our actual wo…


Good Morning Everyone,

Sometimes life seems to be like a knot on a rope that lashes us from time to time. My knot has three twists this morning. My mother fell off her bed and fractured her pelvis; my son in Florida was just diagnosed with super ventricular tachycardia and has to have a heart catheterization procedure; my car parts seem lost in transport somewhere. On top of this no renter yet for the vacant condo and two mortgages are a serious challenge to our fixed income.

"No worries", as my other son, the chef says, though not about this specific set of knots.

Here's the thing. My mother is in a hospital with a rehab center nearby; my son has great care and this procedure will likely cure the tachycardia that has plagued him under the guise of panic attacks for years, and my parts will eventually arrive. I set up a contract with a property manager yesterday afternoon to make sure the condo is rented, and we are safe where we are, able at least to pay our bills.

My L…

Four Practices of Mindful Living

Good Morning Everyone, My hope is that each of you had a wonderful New Year's Day and that your life will be much improved as this year unfolds.  When I say this, I don't mean your circumstances, but rather, your life.  We often assume that our lives are our circumstances, but we all have circumstances, don't we?  It is how we approach and encounter these circumstances that make our lives what they are. When each day dawns I make a vow to see the world as it is and free all beings in the process.  This is an acknowledgment that Clear Mind and Zen Practice are one. Many of us struggle with this.  We think that our circumstances, if improved, will make our lives better.  In some respects this is true, I suppose.  If we understand better to mean food on the table, a warm home, or recovery from illness.  But if we mean better to mean a larger TV screen, the latest fashion, or  a new car, well this is just lust.  We human beings regardless of our circumstances always envision be…

The Exam That Never Was

Good Morning All, On the Internet we must be constantly alert to falsehood spread as truth.  Recently I wrote a blog entry about an Eighth Grade Exam.  While my points were valid, I believe, they were made against a false platform.  The article I was responding to, that is the exam, was a fiction.  My apologies. I should have checked the authenticity first. I have deleted my article referencing the exam that never was. Be well. See

Rev. Dr. So Daiho Hilbert-roshi Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

On Generosity

Good Morning Everyone, This morning I would like to wish you each a generous year.  Generosity, our willingness to share is the cornerstone of our practice. Generosity is openness.  A willingness to live in the world without fear and with great compassion. May we all practice this through the coming year and as a result, have a less fearful, more magnanimous and caring world. When I first approached this practice two themes ran around my head.  First, I wanted to show my Teacher just how advanced I was.  Second, I feared dropping away me self protecting devices: anger, self-centeredness, and the need to be recognized as really smart. I worried that if I dropped these devices along the way, I would be vulnerable and constantly attacked. Of course we equate vulnerability to attack in our world. We are taught nearly from birth that this is the true way of the world. It isn't so. The true way of the world is mutual aid to create mutual benefit.  We are a complex world, deeply layered, va…