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Roshi,I would like to thank you for your sincere and inspiring commitment to the dharma. I have found your presentations deeply intimate and liberating.Would you care to comment on the relationship between "not knowing," and realization. With deepest bows,Yamakoa
"Not knowing" and realization are the same. When you truly don't know, things stand out sonno ma ma (just as they are).
Dear Yamakoa: To follow up my comment yesterday: When you exhaust knowing. things stand forth clearly and you see their emptiness. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form (Heart Sutra}. Empty because everything is a part of everything else and nothing remains for the original entity. The Net of Indra stands forth. This is reality. Seeing it clearly is realization made intimate. Cheers, Roshi
Dear Aitken Roshi,Reading Book IV of your “Miniatures”, shining points in a vast net of memories, a memory of my own is summoned and here I fashion a few words for it. Around twenty-five years ago, I read your book “Zen Wave”, and that reading…started something. Something which included my attempts to write English ‘haiku’ and some of which, written by hand and staple bound as a little ‘book’ I sent to you, something which included your generous interest and reply. Those poems are now as long gone as the days in which they were written but, if I correctly recollect, one you singled out as to your liking spoke of a bowl of oatmeal as ‘something that knows my feeling’. It was the bowl of oatmeal I made for myself each morning, between dawn and sunrise, before which I would sit, with the morning, the waning dark, and their silence. What started, too, in that exchange, I believe, did not and does not stop. In the last 3 years, my father died, my brother, age 43, died, and in December 2008, my wife, 53, died. I am back sitting before that bowl of oatmeal that, still, more than ever, knows my feeling. I guess I have carried that bowl through all these years until now. Which means, too, I have carried the kindness and generosity of your interest and your reply. Thank you for them, then and now. -- Robert G. Margolis Kingston NJ
Roshi,I am excited that you have started this blog, as I enjoy you're writings. Question- I do not have a center close by and I have been sitting by myself for about two years. Is it ok to work on MU alone?Regards,Chip
Dear Robert: Haiku began my pilgrimage too and Basho continues to be my inspiration. I wrote my only haiku in Japan, however. The beautiful flower does not do well transplanted. Adelaide Crapsey is only one who could transplant successfully.Roshi
Dear Chip: It is great that you are working on Mu. You are not merely professing an interest in Zen. You are doing it. However, practicing alone is inadequate. You need a teacher to keep you on track. Go to sesshin when you can, even when it's far away. The best of us need such a link. Roshi
Thank you Roshi for your reply.I think I worded my question incorrectly. I am not currently practicing MU, but the desire to(sorry for the word desire,but I couldn't think of a more appropriate word) is strong. It was the paragraph in the chapter on MU in "Taking The Path of Zen" that said(I'm paraphrasing), "Those interested in realization may want to take up the practice of MU." I read those words a little over a year ago and have not been able to kick the idea since. I get confused. I read a lot of Dogen(especially Hee-Jin Kim). As you know Dogen stresses shikantaza without a goal. By following MU I feel like I'd be trying to gain something and thus going against the Buddhist principle of non attachment. But I'm tired of reading ideas about realization and want to realize the truth myself. Is MU something I can take up myself?I do intend on attending a sesshin this year with Jiro Andy Afable(former teacher at Dai Bosatsu Zendo)when he comes in my area(Washington D.C.)Thank you for all of your work over the years,Chip
Dear Chip: I've never heard of the teacher you mention. If he strays from the presentational into the discursive, find yourself another teacher. Roshi
Thank you Roshi.Be well.
Dear Robert Aitken Roshi,Your words to Chip about the importance of finding a reliable teacher suggest a topic that, in my view, has been a difficult issue for many of the student/practitioners I have conversed with (especially in online communities - blogs, forums, chat rooms, etc.).Fortunately, in my own case, I wrote you a little more than 15 years ago and were able to help me find my own teacher (J.D) here in Washington State. I am eternally grateful. Thank you.Yet, I was wondering if you might offer some encouraging words to others on how to find reliable teachers--and how to avoid quacksalvers (of which there seems to be no shortage of).On this issue, do you think that having a firm grasp (or at least a fair one) on the classic Zen texts available in English is helpful for discerning reliable teachings from unreliable teachings?Thank you for your time. 9 full bows.Peace,Ted Biringer
Let me simply suggest the very best, in no particular order whatever: Nelson Foster at Nevada City. CA, also has an annual short sesshin on the East Coast; Daniel Terragno at Sebastapol CA, also has an annual short sessin in Yellow Springs OH and regular sesshins in Argentina and Chile; Michael Kiran in Honolulu; Rolf Drosten in Linder, Germany, who has no meetings there but leads sessins all over Germany. I am preparing a reading list.Roshi
RA here.Yesterday I might better have used the wording."Let me simply suggest these teachers as among the best . . ." What goes around as wording comes around as a club!
Dear Aitken Roshi,Thank you for your reply - and also your humor (the tendency for wording to become clubs seems even more prevalent online than in other formats).I look forward to your reading list.Thanks again.Gassho,Ted Biringer
Robert Aitken Roshi,thank you for your great efforts and understanding. Deep gassho.With palms together,Uku
Roshi,How are you? I can only begin to express my gratitude for your many years of service on the behalf of all beings. Although I train within the tradition of the late Zen Master Seung Sahn, I continually return to your written teaching for guidance and inspiration.I've excerpted several passages from Miniatures of A Zen Master on my own blog and the book sits right here on my desk, 18 inches from my left hand.I watch myself return over and over to "As You Are" (page 27) and "This Very Body" (page 102). Together these passages remind me that *this is it!*And I seem to need all the reminders I can get. Thank you, again, for your teaching.Yours in the Dharma,Barry
RA here. Thank you for them kind sentiments, Ted, Uku and Barry. Yes, the intention of words has karma, and moreover, once they are out there, you have to go on from there. Care too has Karma. Choose care and the Buddha will smile.
Hi Roshi,Thank you for establishing this blog, and for your many teachings.Deep Gassho,Glenda
Hello Roshi,I am very happy you have decided to start this blog, and to have found a link to it.My deepest gratitude for your teachings and efforts in the DharmaYou have, and continue to inspire me in my practice.Gassho,Dirk