Treeleaf Zendo Podcasts


Archive for February 2012

February 16, 2012 @ 8:47 am



I came across a discussion on the internet this week about "how to Shikantaza" ... and much good and solid advice was given. Some folks follow the breath, some "Just Sit" in boundless spaciousness, some advised this or that on the posture and letting thoughts go. All wise and good, and talk of posture, focus and such are all a necessary setting of the stage.

However, in my view (and that is all it is, and hopefully a viewless view too) SOMETHING VITAL WAS LACKING AND LEFT OUT OF THE CONVERSATION, something without which Zazen is perhaps left incomplete and lacking ...

... TO WIT, THAT NOTHING IS EVER LACKING, EVER MISSING, EVER INCOMPLETE, EVER NOT FULLY HELD AND FULLY REALIZED IN A MOMENT OF ZAZEN! A moment of sitting is THE BUDDHA, THE PURE LAND, NIRVANA ATTAINED! Each instant of Zazen is the only act, the only place to be, in and holding all time and space in that moment!

The meaning of that may confuse some folks ... but those who don't get it JUST DON'T GET IT (in my view and viewless anyway)!

What don't they get?

That to realize that one is never, from the outset, in need of change is an earthshaking CHANGE! There is absolutely nothing about you and the universe (not two) to add or take away, and tasting that there is "nothing to add" is an vital addition! Just Sitting to-the-marrow, radically dropping all goals, judgments, dropping all desire to get somewhere and attain a realization ... gets one somewhere, and a revolutionary realization! Truly understanding that everything is completely beyond need for change is a complete change, and finding that there was never a place to get to is finally getting somewhere.

Posture, breath, not grabbing onto or stirring up thoughts, living by the Precepts ... all are vital to our Way. Yet, neither are they sufficient. Zazen is not some "method", some "process" or "recipe". There is no "method" for there is "no goal" or destination!


By sitting the Wholly Holy Whole without need for change ... there is thus the most radical change of no longer wishing for change or needing change amid the every changing changeless ... thereby Shikantaza is the perfect medicine for the dis-ease and dis-satisfaction of Dukkha.

SHIKANTAZA MUST BE SAT AS THE ONE AND ONLY PRACTICE NEEDED AND ALL COMPLETED. In fact, rising from the cushion, all of life's acts ... the most mundane ... can thus be encountered as each and all Whole and Sacred too. Likewise, daily chanting, bowing or praying are each "Shikantaza" when encountered as Wholly Holy Whole. In fact, Zazen itself ... though never less than complete ... is not enough, and all of life and ethical living is our place of practice and realization! Not one piece of life is left out as 'Shikantaza' seen for such. Yet ... we sit Shikantaza seated Zazen each day as our way is to sit.

Fail to emphasize this point(in my view, and that is all it is ... hopefully viewless too) and one is just teaching meditation, milk toast, perhaps a kind of shikantaza ... but not SHIKANTAZA!

A bit more to hammer this home:

Please visit the forum thread here!

Filed under Sit-A-Longs ·

February 12, 2012 @ 1:37 am

SIT-A-LONG with Taigu: the sound of a bell

In the very begining of Shobogenzo, Dogen quotes a famous poem of Nyojo, his teacher:

My late master, the eternal buddha, says:

Whole body like a mouth, hanging in space;

Not asking if the wind is east, west, south, or north,

For all others equally, it speaks prajñā.

Chin ten ton ryan chin ten ton.

Free, careless, empty, the bell and the sound cannot be broken in two. Is the bell just a bell? Isn't the bell bigger, much larger? How large, how big is it? And where are you in the picture?

Please visit the forum thread here!

Filed under Sit-A-Longs ·

February 11, 2012 @ 12:52 am

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Xin Xin Ming -(XIV)- Child Comes Home


Our little daughter has come home from the hospital today, after we might have lost her just a week ago. HURRAH! HORRAY!! Mom and Dad are AS HAPPY AS HAPPY CAN BE!

Yet, just as a few days ago when things were dark and we were so sad, we still do not push any of life away, including happiness ...

... And neither do we run toward the days like this, clutching at happiness. Such is True Happiness, Equanimity and Contentment!

Equanimity does not mean that one should be emotionless! One can have one's DHARMA CAKE AND EAT IT TOO! Last time I wrote ...

Life is sometimes sickness and sometimes health. I know that human beings prefer only the healthy days ... but Buddhas have no such preferences.

However, that does not mean a Buddha can't enjoy a good celebration and the happy times too!   One can be glad and joyous AND STILL BE wonderously, simultaneously not desirous at all, open to whatever life next brings! Strange, this Buddhist Wisdom, isn't it?

If the eye never sleeps,

all dreams will naturally cease.

If the mind makes no discriminations,

the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.

To understand the mystery of this One-essence

is to be release from all entanglements.

When all things are seen equally

the timeless Self-essence is reached.

No comparisons or analogies are possible

in this causeless, relationless state.

Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.

Please visit the forum thread here!

Filed under Sit-A-Longs ·

February 8, 2012 @ 2:29 am

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Xin Xin Ming-(XIII)-Child in Hospital


Our daughter has been in hospital all this week very sick, with Sepsis (a major infection of the blood) compounded by influenza. The sepsis is responding very well to treatment, but it is serious because of her age and she is still a very sick little girl. She's had a spinal tap and been poked and prodded. However, things are stable, looking up from a couple of days ago, the doctors sound very optimistic now, and she is in very good hands here in the pediatrics ward. Here's GASSHO to all nurses, doctors and health care workers EVERYWHERE!

My wife takes the night shift to stay with her, and I take part of the day. We have little rest this week, we are both worried. Our son Leon is sick at home too. There is nothing about the situation to like, and so much potentially to lose. Our heads sometimes fill with worst case scenarios. (The expense mounts too, as we do not have any insurance yet for our daughter just come to Japan ... one more worry in this modern age). If this is but a dream, it seems like a very bad one. Yet, especially at such times, the Xin Xin Ming counsels this ...

Rest and unrest derive from illusion;

with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.

All dualities come from ignorant inference.

They are like dreams of flowers in the air:

foolish to try to grasp them.

Gain and loss, right and wrong:

such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

It sounds like something far removed from reality ... yet it is Reality, as True as True ... and precisely at hard times like this, the power of this Buddhist Way manifests! All is at Rest right in the heart of exhaustion, there is Peace shining through life's sharp pieces. There is nothing possible to lose, never the least separation, not even 'life and death' ... even as hearts are broken and there is so much to lose in this life!

All At Once As One.

I mean the following with all I have. It may sound a little cold and unemotional to some, but in its flesh is the worry and heartache of a father with a sick child, and at its center is the beating Heart of Kannon ...

Life is sometimes sickness and sometimes health. I know that human beings prefer only the healthy days ... but Buddhas have no such preferences.

The Buddha left us this, the Most Powerful Teaching ...

... That there is never any loss possible, no place distant for our loved one to go, something wondrous that transcends sickness and health, birth and death ... no broken pieces ever in need of repair from the start. The dualities arise from ignorance, and all is a dream-flower in the sky. Dropped away, and all is Whole in an Instant.

I know it hard to feel so, especially on the most difficult days ... but it is so.

One can be anxious and worried as a parent can and must be ... and wonderously, simultaneously, not disturbed at all, not fearful in the least. Strange, this Buddhist Wisdom, isn't it?

Today's sitting is silent, no more words need be spoken. Just sitting in the hospital room with our sick child. We sit here too, Zazen is sitting anywhere.

Thank you for all who have sent Metta and good feelings, and done much sitting this week. It is so good to have the company of kind friends at hard times. I am so glad to be part of this Sangha.

Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.

Please visit the forum thread here!

Filed under Sit-A-Longs ·

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