Our lineage, the Soto school, was transmitted by the sixth ancestor, Huineng. Qingyuan Xingsi was Huineng's dharma heir and Shitou's teacher.
In Shitou's time Buddhism was separated into schools that argued about basic issues like the nature of enlightenment and the best method of practice. Shitou's response was to describe the mind of the great sage of India. He wasn't talking about psychology, but rather about the reality of life that includes both the absolute and the phenomenal aspects in terms of the relation between the self and other things as
As Dogen Zenji (13th century) said in Shobogenzo "Genjokoan," "To study the Buddha's Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be verified by all things. To be verified by all things is to let body and mind of the self and the body and mind of others drop off." The study of Buddha's teachings is the study of this body and mind, two different understandings of the Buddha Way, is really about seeing our
lives from two different perspectives as one seamless reality.
Poem by Zen Master
The mind of the great safe of India
Is intimately communicated between east and west.
People's faculties may be keen or dull,
But in the path there are no "southern" or "northern" ancestors.
The spiritual source shines clearly in the light;
The branching streams flow in the darkness.
Grasping things is basically delusion;
Merging with principle is still not enlightenment.
Each sense and every field
Interact and do not interact;
When interacting, they also merge -
Otherwise, they remain in their own states.
Forms are basically different in pleasant or harsh quality.
"Darkness" is a word for merging upper and
"Light" is an expression
for distinguishing pure and defiled.
The four elements return to their own natures
Like a baby taking to its mother;
Fire heats, wind moves,
Water wets, earth is solid.
Eye and form, ear and sound;
Nose and smell, tongue and taste
Thus in all
The leaves spread from the root;
The whole process must return to the source;
"Noble" and "base" are only manners of speaking.
Right in light there is darkness, but don't confront it as darkness;
Right in darkness there is light, but don't see it as
Light and dark are relative to one
Like forward and backward
All things have their function
It is a matter of use in the appropriate situation.
Phenomena exist like box and cover joining;
Principle accords like arrow points meeting.
Hearing the words, you should understand the
Don't make up standards on your
If you don't understand the path as it meets your
How can you know the way as you
not a matter of far or near,
But if you are confused, mountains and rivers block the way.
I humbly say to those who study the mystery,
- from Living by Vow, a Practical Introduction to Eight essential Zen Chants and Texts, by Shohaku Okumura (Wisdom Publications, 2012)
Discussions about lineage are always interesting because Buddhism and lineage are inseparable and so very ancient. They are completely and fully intertwined. There is not one without the other. If not for the lineages (records of which were carefully preserved in the Asian
countries), we would never have heard of Buddhism; in fact Buddhism would not exist. So those of us interested in Buddhism have opportunities to learn a lot by a study of the history of Buddhism and its lineages. Teachers like Okumura Roshi have provided new insights and descriptions that are extremely helpful. He explains that, for the great Zen teacher, Shitou (Soto Zen lineage), any division of the dharma or discussion of which approach to it is superior is senseless.
Last week, we attempted to view the live lectures occurring at San Francisco Zen Center during its 50th Anniversary. We were unsuccessful due to technological difficulties. But we are going to make up for that this weekend. Elizabeth is allowing us access the net through her router and we will be viewing a video-taped lecture via internet of Richard Baker Roshi, dharma heir to Shunryu Suzuki, filmed only days ago at San Francisco Zen Center.
The film puts us squarely in the Buddha Hall which is in the front of the building on Page and Laguna and above SFZC's [basement] zendo. Many of SFZC's wonderful teachers are present in the room as are many neighborhood and from-out-of-town zen students. We will also view a snippet of the march from Sokiji, Japanese temple where Suzuki Roshi first taught when he arrived in the USA and the SFZC dining room where food & wine were served after the events.
Our Sunday zazen schedule will remain the same except will be slightly shortened so integrate the film. Please join us at the regular starting time.
Zen Priest and Teacher, Arlene Leuck's November
Zen teacher Arlene Lueck will travel from San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm to visit us during the first weekend in November (1 -5). We will include a pot luck dinner for the sangha Thursday evening, a Friday event especially for beginners, a Saturday half-day workshop at TreeHouse Yoga center that will include lunch, and an extended program with lecture on Sunday morning. We will ask that everyone contribute and we plan to charge for the Saturday workshop. Please mark your calendar and save the
We will have flyers with more specifics
The Saturday workshop will be an opportunity to spend time with an ordained Zen teacher and experience a longer, more intense period of practice with a group. The day will be broken up into segments which will include several sittings, kinhin, lecture, discussion and lunch. We will end before dinner time. Individual meetings in private
with Arlene will be available during the day. We will be planning Arlene's visit together over the next weeks and months.
For Sunday Morning zazen, please arrive at or before 9:45 AM.
Newcomers should arrive by or before 9:30 for zazen instruction.
* Your charitable contributions to Tampa Zen Center are appreciated. Please support this enews, help us pay our rent and contribute to support our practice as a sangha.
We ask that each person practicing with us at TreeHouse Yoga contribute $25/month. We appreciate donations from our enews audience as well. We do not turn away those who cannot contribute but everyone is encouraged to help cover expenses.
At the yoga center, we place our dana bowl at the sign-in table. Cash and checks are accepted there or by mail.
We would like to purchase four new sets of cushions to accomodate the influx expected in the Fall. If you wish to contribute to this purchase, or buy a set of cushions for TZC, we
would be happy to accept your offer!
Donations to Tampa Zen Center are tax-deductible. Please mail your contribution to: Tampa Zen Center, P.O. Box 13215, Tampa, FL 33681-3215. Thank you.