In this short poem, Li Bai writes about the experience of zazen (meditation) using some of the simplest and most common imagery of the time - birds and clouds for the passing phenomena of the mind, and the mountain for the stability of awareness, which eventually is the only thing that remains.
The Surangama Sutra was influential in the development of Ch'an in China over the centuries and is particularly valued for its elaboration of samadhi and techniques of emptiness meditation that are available to everyone.
"What does it mean to ask a question? Is there some magic in the inquisitive brain?" Susan Blackmore's lifelong investigation into consciousness encompasses Zen practice and the recurring question: Am I conscious now?
The Jijuyu Zanmai is the second section of the first part of Dogen's Bendowa - 'The Endeavor of the Way' and concerns the experience of zazen itself. The whole text of the Bendowa is held in high esteem as being Dogen's best and most comprehensible explanation of his understanding of Zen and the Dharma. There are… Continue reading Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi
Cuong Lu's book, The Buddha in Jail, is a collection of 52 stories and vignettes from his experiences working as a prison chaplain. The stories are meant to broaden our perspectives, not just about others but also about ourselves, and they get to the root of human goodness. This excerpt, the 18th story in the… Continue reading Practicing Behind Bars
Sports people and meditators often use similar language to describe their experiences of practice: In his memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami talks about how running for him creates a void in which he can observe the cloud-like nature of his thoughts. In this excerpt from the book, he expands on… Continue reading Clouds are Mere Guests in the Sky – Haruki Murakami
"As long as you are conscious of yourself you can never concentrate on anything." Walpola Rahula from What the Buddha Taught
'At no period in history has cleverness been so highly valued,' wrote Aldous Huxley in 'The Perennial Philosophy' on the subject of the common human yearning to experience the divine. His book, 'TheDoors of Perception' was a manifesto for the exploration of consciousness through psychedelic drugs, but its fundamental idea - that in order for… Continue reading Aldous Huxley: Our Goal Is to Discover That We Have Always Been Where We Ought to Be
The most effective religious or philosophical texts are the ones that transcend time and culture and get to the core of the human situation which is timeless, no matter where and when in the world we live. Daikaku Zenji (Chinese name - Lanxi Daolong) was a monk and master who traveled from his birthplace in Western China… Continue reading When One Can Know What is the Truth of the Heart
The Four Reminders are a wake up bell to the imminence of our own mortality. Mostly expounded by Tibetan Buddhists, the Four Reminders are a set of principles that emphasize the preciousness of being and the miracle of this one human life. Death can come at any moment - it could come with the next… Continue reading The Four Reminders