rivers into islands

rivers into islands

Monday, December 11, 2017


"Before we were born we had no feeling; we were one with the Universe. This is called "Mind-only," or "Essence of Mind," or "Big Mind." After we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling from the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling.

You have difficulty because you have feeling. You attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the Universe, you have fear.

When the water returns to its original oneness with the river, it no longer has any individual feeling to it; it resumes its own nature, and finds composure. For us, just now, we have some fear of death, but after we resume our true original nature, there is Nirvana.

We say, "Everything comes out of emptiness." One whole river or one whole mind is emptiness. When we reach this understanding we find the true meaning of our life. When we reach this understanding we can see the beauty of human life.
Before we realize this fact, everything that we see is just delusion. Sometimes we overestimate the beauty; sometimes we underestimate or ignore the beauty because our small mind is not in accord with reality.

To talk about it this way is quite easy, but to have the actual feeling is not so easy. But by your practice of zazen (meditation) you can cultivate this feeling.

When you can sit with your whole body and mind, and with the oneness of your mind and body under the control of the Universal Mind, you can easily attain this kind of right understanding. Your everyday life will be renewed without being attached to an old erroneous interpretation of life.

When you realize this fact, you will discover how meaningless your old interpretation was, and how much useless effort you had been making. You will find the true meaning of life, and even though you have difficulty falling upright from the top of the waterfall to the bottom of the mountain, you will enjoy your life."

~ Shunryu Suzuki ~

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Life Without Boundaries

This body is not me. 
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars, 
manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, 
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide- and seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Zen Ocean

Fallen Upside Down In An Ocean

Zen's perspective on the condition of self is oceanic.  

So, water, rooster, house, baby, martini are all ocean. 

There is no valid he she or it or you. 

So fallen upside-down in ocean is what occurs with zen realization. 

This falling upside-down is not "help, help."  

“Self” disappears into ocean.  

It is a wondrous thing where every thing is very real, not lost in a mystical cloud.   

Clouds, moon, grass are experienced as facets of a jeweling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Not On TV

Modern civilization is largely devoted to the pursuit of the cult of delusion.  There is not general information about the nature of mind.  It is hardly eve written about by writers or intellectuals; modern philosophers do not speak of it directly; the majority of scientists deny it could possibly be there at all.  It plays no part in popular culture: no one sings about it, no one talks about it in plays, and it’s not on TV.  We are actually educated into believing that nothing is real beyond what we can perceive with our ordinary senses.
Sogyal Rinpoche

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Lance Kinseth, 2017

A PERCEPTION OF “the many as one” can be broadly understood.  In A Sense Of Wonder, Rachel Carson brings the reader into the wonder of place--the starry night and the ocean’s edge, and you cannot help but feel a sense of wonder.  There is a landscape of wonderment that is within the everyday, that is unhidden.  This holistic aspect of being-ness has expression in science, in ecology and cosmology where forests express trees and deer and squirrels down to minute micro-ecologies of skin and leaf and forest being an expression of Earth and stars and galaxies and beyond.  And wonderment has esoteric expression in spirituality and philosophy as well.  Such perceptions of wonderment are experienced as real, integrative and, sometimes, as ecstatic. 

Zen is different in that it doesn’t attend to this holistic perception, nor does it seek to perceive the many as one.  Rather, as Dogen Ekaku emphasized, Zen is “the study of self.”  Zen’s “study” of self is an emptying of perception rather than a contemplation of landscape or analysis of a nature restricted to the boundaries of one’s body.  There is just sensation, and an effort not to label this experience, and to be in a reality of ”just this.”  

Why do this?  Zen can be a way or path of not labeling experience more than an interpretation. This, in itself, is enough of a practice.  Still, why do this?  There is more.

This practice may open an experience of self that is not anticipated, but that is reality and it may feel, at first, like the actualization of the above experience of wonderment and it is.  Still, there is more than the possibility of a conceptual breakthrough. To “let go,” dropping into a oceanus of change and flow, “self-nature” can change. There ma be a less-common sort of “Einstein-like” breakthrough shift in the experience of “self”--an “awakening”--that opens a new sense of wonderment.  Rather than self-in-landscape, there may be a direct experience of self-as-landscape that is infinite.  

And the payoff of this possibility of self-as-landscape exploded a practice that was carried forward for centuries in Buddhism and that has come to be termed “Zen” was a psycho-spiritual end to an illusion of “suffering.”  

Daily predicaments and needs continue after this transformative shift.  There was no attainment of a state of all-knowing and specialness.  This experience is quite remarkable--”wondrous”--in the dropping away of suffering, but it is almost invisible in human culture.  

In this sensate experience of self, there is, for example, no birth or death. Birthdates and funerals continue, and yet there is no birth or death.  Each person and every event is unborn.  Conceptually, how could this be?  And yet, here it is as a drop into a reality of “true-self” and/or “true-home.”

This is another wonderment that is not all-knowing, bliss or ecstasy, but that is graced and complete and simply, real.

Facing death in hospice, An-liu suddenly broke through it and there was no death, no suffering, no end and no birth, and “just this.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Who Am I

 a computer generated model of the migration of the tectonic plates 
one-hundred million years in the future

ONE-HUNDRED MILLION years ahead--when “you” drops away, this is “you.”  You do not die because you were not born.

One-hundred million years past, when “you” drops away, this is “you.”

One-hundred million years ahead and one-hundred million years ago are in each moment.  There is no coming and going, no vast or small.  When the sparrow dies and the tree falls, when the sun vanishes and Earth dissipates into the universe, this universe is “you,” “sparrow,” “tree,” “one-hundred million years.”

In a handshake there is a contact sensation in that moment.  Perhaps a tree in the garden or a bird’s chirp or the clack of a stone swept by a broom and falling on the brick pathway.  In a bow, an intentional action in that moment.  Everything is solidly real, a pipe and a rice cake and even a picture of a pipe and a rice cake.  A sparrow flits down to a bird feeder.  This sparrow is you and I.  This sparrow is the tree and the sun and the seed.  Why so much misinterpretation of these occurrences, these currents?

When you see the sparrow and tree and the you and the I and the sun and the seed, there is still nothing fixed to pin your hopes on, no place for dust to alight.  

One-hundred million years ahead, your body and a moment are this one-hundred million years ahead so that 100,000,000 + 1 body + one moment = 0.  

What is this?  Perhaps ten fingers named “yours” + 1000 trees and 2500 ants and seven stones named “not yours” = 0. 

Upanishadist Brahman, Chinese tao, Western cosmos = “you.” And hearing stone’s clack or bird song or listening for sound of single hand, all of a sudden seeing sound:
black crow on ice, cinnamon squirrel in snow in “1992 “ that is one-hundred million years from now.

letting go of mental current of self
then actualized by the “10,000” things
body-mind drops away
still this residue of light

One-hundred million years ahead and behind
no human beings past and perhaps no human beings in far future
Still Earth is there and cosmos and “you.”
In nothing but change, no change at all.