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Announcing our weekly radio show

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Our weekly radio call in show, "Take on Faith" with co-host Brian Harrison, will begin broadcasting at 10:00AM each Saturday morning. The station is 101.5 in Las Cruces, NM, but can be streamed on line through Ktal's website. http://www.lccommunityradio.org/







Las Cruces Community Radio Las Cruces Community Radio's station KTAL-LP LCCOMMUNITYRADIO.ORG

Teaching

Hello All,  

A few changes coming down the pike. Most importantly is I’ve decided to once again take on formally  teaching Zen. If anyone wishes to engage this practice and you are not a student of another Zen teacher, please feel free to contact me at harveyhilbert@yahoo.com.  I will initiate a group study as well using “Living by Vow” by Rev Okumora Roshi.  Classes will begin on Monday evening at 6:00 PM at my residence.

Zen

With respect, 
I haven't talked much about Zen of late. Too bad, talking about Zen is lots of fun. Its the practice that's the hard part. I believe the difference between talking and doing is like the distance between this galaxy and the next. They are incredibly far apart. Yet, we often convince ourselves that they really are the same. No, they are not.
To practice Zen is to not "practice," but to be "Zen." Which is to say, being selfless. How hard is that? How many times a day do we say "I"? Much like when Master Dogen Zenji says "Don't think" and we cut the thought, so too, we cut the "I" and just be...very ontological.
What is it to "just be"?
This is the place where there is no hot or cold, the place where there is no one hand to clap or tree to fall; this is the place of precise existence. Yellow is yellow, red is red. I am and I am not. The place where we take that step off the hundred foot pole wi…

Zen

Lets talk about Zen. Zen is one of the practices of the Buddha Way. It is not a belief system or a dogma. It is not a philosophy, nor a religion in its own right. Zen is a practice, the practice of meditation, a practice done in many forms: sitting, eating, working, walking. So, in a sense Zen is about where your mind is during an activity.
Is your mind attending to the activity? Or is your mind somewhere else? Are you mindful in your behavior, which is to say, are you aware of the activity as yourself?
Zen can be practiced "religously." Or not. Zen can be part of a faith tradition, hence the existence of Jewish Buddhists, Catholic and Protestant Buddhists, and so on. or not.
Zen properly understood is, at its root, iconoclastic. We say, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" Which is to kill our idea or concept of something. We realize an idea or concept of something is not the thing itself and in fact, such an idea or concept often blinds us to …

Old

With palms together, Good Morning All,
“I am of the nature to grow old”…so says one of the five remembrances, and more often than not, my own body as I wake in the morning. Stiff, tense, unyielding to free movement, I hobble. Sometimes needing a cane, sometimes tripping over my own toes, I waddle from point A to point B and thankfully sit down.
Aging, something I once rarely thought about, is now right in front of my nose. If my body fails to remind me, my lovely wife will chime in, “You’re old!” every time I think of doing something I once did easily.
Mindful practice, true Zen practice, has us train to be continuously aware of pretty much everything and to not keep thoughts and feelings, images, smells, etc., close, but instead, to allow them their freedom. When we do this, many of the issues around our aging fall away. Why?
To be truly mindful, one does not judge one’s experience, but rather, simply experiences it. When stiff, experience stiff. When hobbling, just hobble. Tr…

Privilege?

With respect for all, Good Morning Everyone,

What do we think of when we think, “Zen Buddhist Priest?” Many new acquaintances have reacted with great surprise as they discover I am an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, and more than that, the founder of an Order of priests and lay persons. Perhaps it’s my “get-up,” as my wife refers to it, to wit: black leather biker vest with various biker patches, black jeans, do- rag on my head ( a head now covered with silver gray hair), and black boots? Ya wonder?

I am delighted by such responses as they offer an opportunity to help people check their assumptions. And assumptions are a great hindrance in authentic communication, are they not? So often we assume we know something about a person by their dress, car, house, gender, and (let’s face it) the color of their skin. Its this last item that truly bothers me. I detest racial prejudice and its resultant racism. I do so for a variety of reasons not the least of which are the stereotypic assumptions…

The Pure Precepts

Good Morning All,
There are three pure precepts in Zen Buddhism: 1. Cease doing evil, 2. Do good, and 3. Bring about abundant good for all beings. These three hinge on our understanding of good and evil. Not so easy. What is "good"? What is "evil"? Some might say, "If you don't know, you're lost!" But that is no answer, its a distraction. Some might say, "Let's use the Hindu, "Ahimsa" as a guide, 'do no harm.'" This might get us close.
Using ahimsa as a guiding principle we might ask under what conditions might we be able to do harm or be unable to do harm. If we practice and realize the non-dual nature of our existence, we might say "if we are all one, then I cannot harm another as I would be harming myself." In fact, in oneness, harm itself becomes meaningless. For to do harm requires one being committing an action against another, thus creating a duality.
From here we might say "good" i…

No Hindrance, No Fear

With palms together,
"...with no hindrance in the mind, no hindrance therefore no fear..."
from The Great Heart of Wisdom Sutra
The sutra teaches that when we are in a state of samadhi (complete one pointed awareness) there is no hindrance in the mind, that is, no duality: we realize you, me, and the entire universe are not separate, but are one. In such a place there can be no fear. The wave and the sea are one. In this place there is no birth or death; all that is, always was and always will be.
How so?
The dropping away of an identification with self and acceptance that this "self" is a creation of the mind and has no substantive reality; this practice allow us to see clearly our original nature, a nature that does not change, that has neither been born nor has died; it is the Buddha Nature itself.
Some may consider this our "soul" but that would be incorrect. The Buddha Nature is not individuated. It is, rather, universal everything all at once. We mig…

Stillness and Revolution

With respect for all, Good Morning,
The time is 9:07 and I am sitting outside at our patio table. The sky is a brilliant blue, cloudless, spreading from horizon to horizon. Public radio is offering “Performance Today” giving me a selection of beautiful classical music and for a moment here and there I am floating along the rivers of violin. Beautiful.  
The birds are at the feeder and I’ve filled the birdbath. Suki is at my side, Kathryn is in her “chambers” doing her morning rituals involving coffee, chess, and radio. What I am describing is our fairly typical morning time, although we usually begin in the studio with conversation and coffee. Today we both woke early.
Coffee, paper, pen and the world around me; this is my life, or a god part of it, for if not pen and paper, then brush and canvas. It is a world of discovery through stillness and application through action. We sit in stillness and the world as it is rising up around us knocking on our consciousness.  We walk in stillness a…

Keep it Real

With palms together,

There are days when aspects of our lives seem overwhelming and there are days when everything seems like a dream come true, delightful and to be cherished. We tend to seek one and avoid the other. I have learned this is a mistake because we are always too close to actually know which is which, and indeed, they may not be different at all, depending on our point of view. There was a Buddhist sage who taught us that to choose one or another takes us away from the Dharma. Why? Because the Dharma is simply the direct experience of reality. This is where we practice to abide. So, the "good" days and the "bad" days are neither good nor bad, they are simply and completely, our days. To have a preference and to abide in that preference takes us away from what is actually there before us. Our life as it is in that moment, and the fact is, there can be no other moment. So, when happy, be happy; when sad, be sad. There is nothing more. If this sounds a b…

The Zen of Holy

The Zen of Holy
And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the LORD am holy, (Lev.20:23)
In the beginning they say the holy spirit swept across nothing and in a word the world was born.  That same spirit breathed life into mud and told the mud to name everything.  In the final chapters, so they say, the holy spirit told humankind to be holy, and to do so all they had to do was follow a few rules, and so they tried…but the rules were too difficult, don’t you know, and so?  We humans once again fell from grace.  Yet, in doing so we fully realized ourselves and THAT who always was and always will be suddenly goes silent: when all is One, there is no one.
Zen practice is like that, isn’t it?
We come to Zen seeking something, often salvation, a new life, a better life, or a life worth living. Such lives are hard.  They are hard because we need to let everything we know and care about fall away in order to be truly present. Being present, awake in the moment opens our hearts and minds. We can become a…