Sunday, November 28, 2010

No study

I have no time to study this days. Working in finding a work, working in developing my skills as a programmer, working in painting the bathroom, working in samsara.

I say I have no time to study and no time to practice. So when I sit, I'm worried. When I paint, I'm thinking I'd like to be "practising".

Then it happens again. Almost like a patient and compasive friend patting you softly in the back, as to wake you up: I can see the brush in my hand, my hand is white and moving up and down by the wall. There is this quality in the light, I AM PRACTICING. The wall is a book, the chair I'm standing on is my cushion, the bottom of the bucket is my teacher and he asks: "what is your practice?" And my hand answers, up and down, left and right, up and down.

Later, going for a walk, hard walk on the new snow, my nose says thanks to the cold, my chins cry in joy. The bent old tree asks again: "what is your practice?" I turn my head, three swans flying by, and I know I'm practicing, the swans can testify it.

I come home, wonderfully warm, I pick up the Dhammapada because I'm thirsty, as if had been to long away from my lover and I needed a kiss. I open the little book and read:

Those who awaken
Never rest in one place
Like swans they rise,
and leave the lake

Maybe there is no study, but there is practice

All the time

Friday, November 19, 2010

Words in Dokusan

“What books on Buddhism should I read?”
“All of them.”
“No really, which ones specifically?”
“None of them.”

Zen is the path of direct experience and to me this includes the direct experience of the copious writings beginning with the sutras. Those many times when I was practicing in solitude; books brought me the words of the Buddha as well as the countless teachings that have come since.

It is said that Zen is "not founded on words and letters” but this does not mean avoiding words and letters. If this were true, Zen would be a totally silent practice without dharma talks, gathas, koans, dokusan or sanzen. All of which are dependent on words. Who among us today would have come to Zen if we had never read anything about it?

I think I like Chuang-Tzu’s perspective on this-

The purpose of a fishtrap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
I would like to have a talk with him!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friends of the Way

During my ordination ceremony so many things happened that I could barely follow what was going on. Five days later, I dare to have a look at the presents I received that day. Among them I found this poem.

I’ve always loved friends of the Way
Friends of the Way I’ve always held dear
Meeting a traveler with a silent spring
Or greeting a guest talking Zen
Talking of the unseen on a moonlit night
Searching for the Truth until dawn
When ten thousand reasons disappear
And we finally see who we are
Cold Mountain

Well, it actually says it all.