- you are not an ego pretending to be a buddha
- you are a buddha pretending it has an ego
The phrase "Buddha nowhere" is often used in Zen Buddhism to describe the idea that enlightenment cannot be found in any particular place or time, or in any particular teaching or practice. Instead, it is said to be a realization that is always present, but obscured by our concepts and mental habits. In other words, the Buddha-nature or enlightenment is inherent in all beings, and the goal of practice is simply to remove the obstacles that prevent us from recognizing it. This idea is often expressed through Zen koans and other forms of paradoxical language, which are meant to bypass the limitations of ordinary thinking and point to a direct experience of reality.
not one not two¶
The phrase "not one, not two" comes from the Buddhist doctrine of the Middle Way, which emphasizes the non-dual nature of reality. It suggests that reality is not characterized by any fixed, independent entities or substances, but is instead a dynamic interplay of causes and conditions. "Not one" refers to the absence of any inherently existing entity, while "not two" refers to the non-dual nature of reality, where all phenomena are interdependent and arise in dependence on each other. This understanding helps to overcome the false dichotomy between self and other, subject and object, and to see that all things are ultimately interconnected and empty of inherent existence.
Beginner's mind is a concept in Zen Buddhism that refers to the attitude of approaching life and experiences with openness, curiosity, and a lack of preconceptions. Some of the features of beginner's mind are:
- Non-judgment: Beginner's mind involves suspending judgment and approaching things without preconceived notions.
- Curiosity: It involves being open to new experiences and exploring things with a sense of wonder and curiosity.
- Humility: It involves recognizing that there is always more to learn and being humble in the face of new knowledge and experiences.
- Clarity: Beginner's mind involves seeing things clearly and without the distortions of our biases, assumptions, and beliefs.
- Freshness: It involves seeing things as if for the first time, without being weighed down by past experiences or expectations.
- Creativity: It can lead to new and innovative approaches to problem-solving, as one is not limited by past experiences or assumptions.
- Presence: Beginner's mind involves being fully present in the moment, without getting lost in thoughts about the past or future.
emptiness is form¶
graph emptiness -- emptiness is form --> form -- form is emptiness --> emptiness
The statement "emptiness is form, form is emptiness" is a central teaching in Mahayana Buddhism, and especially in the Zen tradition.
It can be a difficult concept to grasp, but it points to the idea that the ultimate nature of reality is empty of inherent existence, and that all phenomena arise in dependence upon other factors.
In this teaching, "emptiness" refers to the idea that all phenomena lack inherent existence or INDEPENDENT IDENTITY.
Everything is interconnected and interdependent, and nothing exists on its own.
All things arise in dependence upon other factors, and are thus empty of inherent existence. This emptiness is not a nihilistic void, but rather a dynamic and vibrant potentiality, full of possibilities and potential.
On the other hand, "form" refers to the appearance or manifestation of phenomena. In other words, form refers to the world of appearances, which is constantly changing and arising in dependence upon other factors.
Form is not separate from emptiness, but rather arises in dependence upon it.
Therefore, "emptiness is form, form is emptiness" means that form and emptiness are not separate, but rather two aspects of the same reality. Everything that arises in the world of form arises in dependence upon emptiness, and is thus empty of inherent existence. At the same time, emptiness is not separate from the world of form, but rather is the very ground out of which form arises.
This teaching is not intended to be understood solely on an intellectual level, but is meant to be experienced directly through spiritual practice, such as meditation and mindfulness. By cultivating a deep awareness of the interdependence of all phenomena, we can awaken to the reality of emptiness and form, and live in greater harmony with the world around us.
The phrase "emptiness is form" is a central teaching in Zen Buddhism that emphasizes the interdependence and mutual co-arising of all phenomena. It teaches that all things are empty of inherent existence, and that form arises in dependence on other factors. This idea helps to dissolve dualistic thinking and to awaken to the true nature of reality.
Here are some steps for meditating on the idea of "emptiness is form:"
- Find a quiet place to sit: Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit where you won't be disturbed. Sit with a straight back and relaxed posture.
- Focus on your breath: Begin by focusing your attention on your breath. Pay attention to the sensation of air moving in and out of your nose. If your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath.
- Observe your thoughts: As you focus on your breath, you may start to notice thoughts arising in your mind. Observe these thoughts as if you were a witness, but don't get caught up in them. Simply acknowledge them and return your focus to your breath.
- Cultivate a sense of emptiness: As you continue to focus on your breath, cultivate a sense of emptiness. Imagine that all things, including your thoughts and emotions, are like clouds passing through the sky. Let go of attachment to them, and simply allow them to come and go without judgment or resistance.
- Observe the arising of form: As you cultivate a sense of emptiness, observe how form arises in dependence on other factors. See how thoughts, emotions, and sensations arise in response to your environment and the conditions of your mind.
- Cultivate equanimity: Cultivate a sense of equanimity and detachment, as if you were observing a play. Don't cling to anything or resist anything. Simply observe with openness and acceptance.
- Repeat: Repeat this meditation as often as you like, deepening your understanding of the interdependence and mutual co-arising of all things.
By practicing this meditation, you can develop a deeper understanding of the idea that "emptiness is form." You can cultivate a sense of openness, freedom, and peace, and awaken to the true nature of reality beyond dualistic thinking.
buddhism reduced to one sentence: EVERYTHING CHANGES
To realize pure mind in your delusion is practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will only persist the more. Just say, ‘Oh, this is just delusion,’ and do not be bothered by it.
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
"Dwelling nowhere" is a phrase that comes from Zen Buddhism and refers to the state of mind where one is not attached to any particular place, concept, or experience. It is a state of being that transcends dualities and dualistic thinking, and is characterized by a sense of freedom and openness.
In Zen, the idea of "dwelling nowhere" is often associated with the practice of MINDFULNESS and the development of a deep awareness and connection to the present moment. By not getting caught up in thoughts, emotions, or preconceived ideas, one can experience a sense of peace, stillness, and clarity, even in the midst of the most chaotic and challenging circumstances.
The concept of "dwelling nowhere" is also connected to the idea of non-attachment, which is a core teaching of Buddhism. By letting go of attachment and not clinging to anything, one can experience a sense of liberation and freedom from the limitations of the ego and the self.
In Zen practice, "dwelling nowhere" is often cultivated through meditation, mindfulness, and other spiritual practices that help one to still the mind, calm the emotions, and awaken to the true nature of reality. By dwelling nowhere, one can experience a sense of peace, freedom, and fulfillment that is not dependent on external conditions or circumstances.
The Ten Ox-Herding Pictures or Verses is a series of paintings and poems that originated in medieval Japan. They are used as a visual representation of the process of awakening and enlightenment in Buddhism. The series follows the journey of a seeker from ignorance to awakening, symbolized by a young boy searching for an ox, eventually discovering it and mastering it, and ultimately transcending the ox and reaching enlightenment. Each picture or verse represents a stage in the journey, and they are often used as a meditation tool in Zen practice to help the practitioner reflect on their own path towards awakening.
10 oxherding verses¶
this poem is from the 12th centry (1100-1200)
- 1. Searching for the Bull
- 2. Discovery of the Footprints
- 3. Perceiving the Bull
- 4. Catching the Bull
- 5. Taming the Bull
- 6. Riding the Bull Home
- 7. The Bull Transcended
- 8. Both Bull and Self Transcended
- 9. Reaching the Source
- 10. Return to Society
The 10 oxherding verses are a series of poems or visual images used in Zen Buddhism to describe the stages of spiritual development leading to enlightenment. The verses describe the seeker as a young oxherder who goes on a journey to find his lost ox, representing the seeker's journey to find enlightenment. The 10 stages depicted are:
- Searching for the ox
- Discovering tracks
- Perceiving the ox's form
- Catching the ox
- Taming the ox
- Riding the ox home
- The ox forgotten
- Both ox and self forgotten
- Reaching the source
- Return to Society
is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China and later spread to Japan and other countries. It emphasizes meditation and direct personal experience of one's own true nature, rather than relying on religious texts or dogma. The historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, is not seen as a god or creator, but rather as a teacher who pointed the way to enlightenment.
The origins of Zen can be traced back to the teachings of the Indian monk Bodhidharma, who is said to have brought Buddhism to China in the 6th century. From there, it developed into the distinct Chinese Chan tradition, which was then introduced to Japan in the 12th century as Zen.
Zen places great emphasis on the practice of meditation, which is considered a means to directly experiencing one's own true nature, or the nature of reality itself. This experience is often referred to as "satori" in Japanese. Zen also places great importance on everyday activities and mindfulness, encouraging the integration of MINDFULNESS into all aspects of life.
Overall, the goal of Zen practice is to awaken to one's true nature, which is said to be pure and unchanging, and to live a life characterized by wisdom, compassion, and peace.
Satori is a Japanese term that is central to Zen Buddhism. It refers to a sudden realization or awakening to one's true nature. Satori represents a profound understanding of the nature of existence and is often described as an experience of enlightenment or liberation.
In Zen, satori is seen as a direct, intuitive understanding of the nature of reality, beyond concepts, beliefs, or ideas. It is often contrasted with "gradual enlightenment," which is seen as a process of gradually developing understanding and insight over time.
Satori is not considered a permanent state, but rather a momentary experience that can deepen and be integrated into one's life through continued practice. The aim of Zen practice is to cultivate satori, or awaken to one's true nature, in order to live a life characterized by wisdom, compassion, and peace.
Satori is not limited to the realm of religion or spirituality and can be seen as a transformative experience that can occur in any aspect of life, not just in meditation practice.
Zen has a rich history of notable teachers and practitioners who have helped to shape and transmit the teachings of this tradition. Here are a few of the most well-known Zen teachers:
- Bodhidharma: He is considered the founder of Zen in China and is credited with bringing Buddhism from India to China in the 6th century.
- Hui-neng: He was the Sixth Patriarch of Zen in China and is known for his teaching of sudden enlightenment, which emphasized the possibility of realizing one's true nature directly and immediately, rather than gradually over time.
- Dogen: He was a Japanese Zen master and founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan. He emphasized the practice of zazen (sitting meditation) as the path to enlightenment.
- Hakuin Ekaku: He was a Japanese Zen master and revivalist of the Rinzai school of Zen in Japan. He emphasized the practice of koans (Zen riddles or paradoxes) as a means of realizing one's true nature.
- Shunryu Suzuki: He was a Japanese Zen teacher who came to the United States in the 1950s and played a key role in the development of Zen in the West. He is known for his accessible and down-to-earth teaching style.
These are just a few of the many Zen teachers who have contributed to the development and transmission of this tradition. Their teachings and writings continue to inspire and guide practitioners today.
|"The ultimate Truth is beyond words. Doctrines are words. They’re not the Way."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"All beings are by nature Buddha, as ice by nature is water. Apart from water there is no ice; apart from beings, no Buddha."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"To find a Buddha, you have to see your nature."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"When you see forms or hear sounds fully engaging body-and-mind, you grasp things directly. Unlike things and their reflections in the mirror, and unlike the moon and its reflection in the water, when one side is illumined the other side is dark."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"The Buddha is your own mind. Don't use a Buddha to worship a Buddha."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"All know the way; few actually walk it."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"If you use your mind to study reality, you won’t understand either your mind or reality. If you study reality without using your mind, you’ll understand both."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"To enter by reason is to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"One instant is eternity; eternity is the now. When you see through this one instant, you see through the one who sees."||The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma|
|"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"The most important point is to accept yourself and stand on your two feet."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"To live in the realm of Buddha nature means to die as a small being, moment after moment."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"We take care of the future best by taking care of the present now."||Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind|
|"The true practice of meditation is to sit as if you are drinking water when you are thirsty."||Unknown|
|"The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing."||Unknown|
|"You are perfect just as you are, and you could use a little improvement."||Unknown|
|"The secret of success is to be in harmony with existence, to be always calm to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore."||Unknown|
|"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"||Unknown|
|"The Buddha-Dharma is in your own hands and you must use it yourself."||Unknown|
|"Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine."||Unknown|
|"To return to the root is to find meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source."||Unknown|
|"Hearing the words, you may understand the teaching, but experiencing it yourself you realize the truth."||Unknown|
|"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought."||Unknown|
|"All beings by nature are Buddha, as ice by nature is water. Apart from water there is no ice; apart from beings, no Buddha."||Zen Koan|
|"Meditation is the lifeblood of the Zen practitioner, the method by which the mind is made flexible and strong enough to penetrate the depths of reality."||Unknown|
|"Realization is not acquisition of anything new nor is it a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage."||Unknown|
|"The mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the mind."||Platform Sutra|
|"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."||Unknown|
|"The past no longer is; the future has not yet come; and the present is no more than the space between two breaths. Therefore, concentrate on the present moment."||Unknown|
|"It is not a matter of 'gradual progress' as opposed to 'sudden enlightenment.' We do not seek to become 'better' or 'more enlightened.' We simply see what is already there."||Unknown|
|"When we realize that our mind is the Buddha, we are no longer attached to appearances and we are freed from both mental entanglements and material things."||Platform Sutra|
|"If you want to see what you have been doing in the past, look at your body now. If you want to know what will happen to you in the future, look at your mind now."||Unknown|
|"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."||Unknown|
|"In the light of our true nature, all difficulties vanish."||Unknown|
|"Bodhi is originally without any tree; the bright mirror is also not a stand. Fundamentally there is not a single thing."||Platform Sutra|
|"To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by all things."||Genjokoan|
|"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."||Zen Master Dogen|
|"Enlightenment is intimacy with all things."||Unknown|
|"The truth is not outside. It is inside, like a seed buried in the ground or a pearl in the ocean."||Unknown|
|"The moon is the moon, and the sun is the sun. It does not matter whether you are a monk or a layman; the blue sky is the blue sky, the water is water."||Shobogenzo|
|"Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself."||Shobogenzo|
|"Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Let us awaken, awaken, take heed, do not squander our life."||Unknown|
|"To be enlightened is to be intimate with all things."||Unknown|
|"To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it."||Unknown|
|"Realization is not attainment of anything new nor is it a new faculty. It is simply the awareness of what is already within us."||Unknown|
Zen master Dogen said:
"To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between oneself and others."
This quote emphasizes the idea that the true goal of Buddhist practice is not to achieve some kind of self-improvement or personal gain, but rather to see beyond the self and awaken to the interconnectedness of all things. In this sense, true dharma is not about striving to be better or more perfect, but rather about letting go of the ego's attachments and delusions, and opening oneself up to the infinite possibilities of the present moment.
By forgetting the self, we can see beyond our own limited perspective and experience a deeper sense of unity with the world around us. In this state of enlightenment, the barriers between ourselves and others dissolve, and we can live in greater harmony and compassion with all beings.
Overall, this quote points to the transformative power of Buddhist practice, which can help us to overcome our own limitations and awaken to the true nature of reality.
Bodhidharma was an Indian monk who is considered the founder of Zen in China. He is said to have traveled from India to China in the 6th century and established the Chan school of Buddhism, which later became known as Zen.
Bodhidharma is known for his teachings on meditation and his emphasis on the direct experience of one's own nature, rather than relying on scriptures or doctrine. He taught that the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice was to awaken to one's true nature and attain enlightenment.
Bodhidharma's teachings and approach to Buddhism were influential in shaping the development of Zen in China and later in Japan. He is also known for his legendary nine years of wall-gazing meditation, which is said to have taken place at the Shaolin Temple in China.
Despite the many legends and myths that surround Bodhidharma, his teachings continue to inspire and guide Zen practitioners today, who seek to awaken to their true nature through the practice of meditation and mindfulness.
bodhidharma wall gazing¶
The story of Bodhidharma's wall-gazing meditation is a legendary tale that has become a part of the Zen tradition. According to the legend, Bodhidharma sat in meditation facing a wall for nine years at the Shaolin Temple in China.
The story of Bodhidharma's wall-gazing is often seen as symbolizing his deep commitment to the practice of meditation and his determination to awaken to his true nature. The legend also highlights the idea that the path to enlightenment requires a strong and unwavering commitment, even in the face of challenges and obstacles.
Bodhidharma's wall-gazing meditation has become a symbol of the Zen practice of single-pointed focus and determination. It serves as a reminder of the importance of perseverance and dedication in one's spiritual practice, and inspires practitioners to cultivate the same kind of steadfast commitment in their own lives.
It's important to note that while the story of Bodhidharma's wall-gazing is a popular legend, its historical accuracy is uncertain, and it may have been embellished over time. Nevertheless, it continues to be a central part of the Zen tradition and has had a lasting impact on the development of Zen culture and spirituality.
Hui-neng was a Chinese Zen master and the Sixth Patriarch of Zen in China. He is known for his teachings on sudden enlightenment and his emphasis on direct experience and realization of one's true nature.
One of the most famous koans associated with Hui-neng is the "Platform Sutra." This sutra is a record of Hui-neng's teachings, which include his views on the nature of mind and reality, the practice of meditation, and the path to enlightenment.
In the Platform Sutra, Hui-neng presents the famous koan "What is the nature of mind?" This koan is often used to challenge practitioners to awaken to their true nature beyond words and concepts, and to realize the inseparability of their own mind from the ultimate reality.
The teachings of Hui-neng and his emphasis on direct experience and realization have had a significant impact on the development of Zen in China and continue to influence Zen practitioners today. The koan "What is the nature of mind?" remains a popular and powerful tool for helping practitioners to awaken to their true nature and to experience the wisdom and insight that lies beyond the realm of words and concepts.
platform sutra outline¶
The "Platform Sutra" is a Buddhist text attributed to the Chinese Zen master Hui-neng, who was the Sixth Patriarch of Zen in China. This text is a record of Hui-neng's teachings and contains his views on the nature of mind and reality, the practice of meditation, and the path to enlightenment.
Here is a general outline of the key themes and topics covered in the Platform Sutra:
The Nature of Mind: Hui-neng discusses the nature of mind and reality, emphasizing the idea that everything is impermanent and constantly changing, and that ultimate reality is beyond the reach of words and concepts. He also presents the concept of "store consciousness," which is the accumulation of all experiences and memories that make up an individual's unique perception of reality.
The Practice of Meditation: Hui-neng emphasizes the importance of meditation and MINDFULNESS as the path to awakening and realization of one's true nature. He teaches that through the practice of meditation, one can calm the mind, still the fluctuations of thought, and awaken to the nature of mind.
The Path to Enlightenment: Hui-neng presents a path to enlightenment that emphasizes the importance of direct experience and realization, rather than relying on scriptures or doctrine. He teaches that the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is to awaken to one's true nature and to attain enlightenment.
The Five Ranks: Hui-neng presents the concept of the Five Ranks, which describe the stages of spiritual development and the realization of one's true nature. The Five Ranks are: (1) the rank of ordinary people, (2) the rank of those who have made a spiritual connection, (3) the rank of enlightenment, (4) the rank of great enlightenment, and (5) the rank of those who have transcended enlightenment.
The Mind-Only Doctrine: Hui-neng also discusses the Mind-Only doctrine, which teaches that all phenomena arise from the mind and that ultimate reality is not separate from the mind. This doctrine emphasizes the idea that our perceptions and experiences are constructed by the mind, and that true reality cannot be grasped through the senses or intellect.
These are the main themes and topics covered in the Platform Sutra, which is a seminal text in the Zen tradition and continues to be studied and practiced by Zen practitioners today.
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One aimlessly pushes the grasses aside in search. The rivers are wide, the mountains far away, and the path becomes longer. Exhausted and dispirited, one hears only the late autumn cicadas shrilling in the maple woods. By the water, and under the trees, there are numerous traces. Fragrant grasses grow thickly, but did you see the ox? Even in the depths of the distant mountain forest, How could the upturned nostrils of the ox be concealed? A bush warbler sings upon a branch, warm sun, soft breezes, green willows on the bank. Nowhere can the ox escape to hide, but those majestic horns are difficult to draw. With all my energy, I seize the ox. His will is strong, and his power endless, and he cannot be tamed easily. Sometimes he charges to the high plateau. And there he stays, deep in the mist. One does not let go of the whip or the rope, afraid it will stray and choose the dusty mist. A well-tended ox becomes gentle, and even with no rope, Will follow people by himself. Riding the bull, I leisurely wander toward home. Exotic flute melodies echo through sunset clouds. Each beat and each tune is indescribably profound. No words are needed for those who understand music. Riding on the ox, he has come home. There is no ox there, and he is at ease. Although the sun is high, he is still dreamy. The whip and rope abandoned in the thatched hut. Whip, rope, man, and ox, all are non-existent. The blue sky being vast, no message can be heard, Just as the snowflake cannot last in the flaming red furnace. After this state, one can join the ancient teachers. In returning to the fundamentals and going back to the source, I had to work so hard. Perhaps it would be better to be blind and deaf. Being in the hut, I do not see what is outside. The river flowing tranquilly, the flower simply being red. He enters the city barefoot, with chest exposed. Covered in dust and ashes, smiling broadly. No need for the magic powers of the gods and immortals. Just let the dead tree bloom again.
|What is the sound of one hand clapping?||Hakuin Ekaku||Link link2|
|What was your original face before your parents were born?||Wumen Huikai||Link|
|Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?||Hakuin Ekaku||Link|
|If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!||Linji Yixuan||Link|
|What is Buddha?||Yunmen Wenyan||Link|
|Nanquan Kills the Cat||Nansen Fugan||https://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/a-koan-for-our-time-nanquan-kills-the-cat|
|No Water, No Moon||Layman Pang||https://www.lionsroar.com/what-is-the-moon-the-koan-of-no-water-no-moon/|
|The Gateless Gate||Wumen Huikai||https://terebess.hu/zen/wumen-gate.html|
|A Cup of Tea||Nan-in||https://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/one-moment.html|
|The Blue Cliff Record||Yuanwu Keqin||https://www.shambhala.com/the-blue-cliff-record-1.html|
|Zhaozhou's "Dog"||Zhaozhou Congshen||https://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/koan-17-zhaozhous-dog|
|Jôshû's "Wash your bowl"||Jôshû||https://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachings/Koans/Wash_Your_Bowl.html|
|The Empty Cup||Taizan Maezumi||https://www.pacificzen.org/library/the-empty-cup/|
|What is the sound||Zhaozhou Congshen||https://www.bluecliffmonastery.org/zhaozhou-congshen/|