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Showing posts from May, 2016

Another Memorial Day, Another Donut

With palms together,
I often say Zen saved my life, but that is only partly true and now Memorial Day is nearly upon us. A time to reflect on and honor those who gave their lives in armed conflict with enemies of the United States. This year that day will follow the 50th anniversary of my being shot in the head by a North Vietnamese Army soldier (May 29, 1966). My life was radically changed by that event. In some ways for the worse, but in many, many ways for the better. While it is true that I limp and stumble and can only use my left hand to pull the clutch back on my Harley, it is also true that warfare opened my eyes to the suffering of mankind and kindled a deep desire to make this world a better place. When my lovely wife and I celebrate (if that's an appropriate word)and will honor the dead this day, we will also celebrate the many lives who survived combat and honor those who have made a difference in our society as a result of their combat experiences.
Sometimes, in the wak…

Drink Your Coffee

A student and teacher were drinking coffee. The students asks, “Zazen, what good is it?”  The Teacher responds, “Not much.”  “Then why practice it?“  the student continues.  “I don’t know,”  the teacher replies, “drink your coffee.”  The student awakened.
Right.  We’ve read many of such little vignettes.  The gullible believe them.  The wise set them aside assigning no particular meaning to them.  Why?  Awakening is not the point of practice; it is the practice. Master Dogen suggests our practice, the practice of shikantaza, is itself practice realization. Are these the same or different?  
“(D)rink your coffee” is key.  The coffee was in front of you, just drink the coffee.  This is the essence of Zen.  
On the other hand, you take your seat, gather your robes, and address your mind by setting it free: the entire universe is its home.  You do what you do: breathe.  Its what’s in front of you to do. 
This also is the essence of Zen.
But neither matter much and if you come to it as if it mat…