Zen Koan Carrying the Raft

Case: In China, at the base of a mountain, an impoverished young man sat in meditation in front of his hut facing a great rushing river.  A monk from the mountain monastery hiked down a long, steep path past the hut carrying two huge wooden basins to transport water from the river back up the … Read more

Tibet vs China

In her article “Praying for Tibet,” the author hoopee writes that many years ago, the Chinese decided that a portion of their country could not be ruled by a religious leader, the “honorable Dalai Lama.” This is a gross oversimplification of hundreds of years of Chinese and Tibetan history.  Such an oversimplification indicates a limited … Read more

Zen Koans Joshus Dog

Case: A monk decided to test the wily old teacher, Roshi Joshu, by tugging sharply at his beard with the question, “Does a dog have Buddha-nature, yes or no?” Giving this monk the fish-eye, Joshu Roshi answered, “Mu!” Pointer: This monk is either a fool or a courageous seeker of truth; only one or the … Read more

Zen Koans Roshi Polishes Brick

Case: It is meal time at the temple’s Great Hall and a line of monks are performing ‘kin-hin’ – awareness walking – between their living areas and the Great Hall.  As the monks pass through the courtyard they notice Roshi sitting on a bench.  In his lap, he holds a rough-hewn brick selected from a … Read more

Monotony Zen Repetitive Fluidity Constancy Tessellation

Furiously Zen The problem with the zen philosophy is the constancy of the fluidity. Always ready to accept what comes, always ready to live in the exact present moment, enjoying *now*, rather than *then*, either forward or backward. There is a zen story about the man who is hanging by a weakening branch with a … Read more

What is Zen?

In the sixth century, an immigrating monk from India or Persia by the name of Bodhidharma introduced Mahayana-Buddhism to China. His doctrine was then fertilized with Chinese Taoism resulting in the Buddhist system of Ch’an. During the 12th century, the teachings of Ch’an had reached Japan, whose followers then called it Zen. Zen consists of … Read more

Zen Koan Meeting your Master

Case: A wandering monk was walking down the road when he met a Zen master. The monk bowed three times, knelt, and then rose. “Excellent,” said the master, and the two became student and roshi. Some years later the monk found himself wandering again in search of a master. A master met the monk along … Read more

Buddhism Holy Days and Celebrations

Buddhism is an ancient religion that is practiced all around the world, mostly in Asian countries.  Most religions have celebrations, holy days, and days of commemoration.  Buddhism is no different.  Like Christianity, the ways of celebrating vary by region and ethnic origin. Buddhist New Year Just like other religious calendars, the Buddhist New Year begins … Read more

Ten Reasons Buddhism is in all Religions

When one thinks of Buddhism, it is often considered as another of the many religions that permeate the world.  While it is in the top 5 (Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism) in terms of number of “members,” it is often considered distinct from the others.  However, on closer inspection, the principles of Buddhism can be … Read more

Buddha’s Mother

If one answers, Queen Maya of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one denies the reality. If one denies that Queen Maya of Sakya was Buddha’s mother, one is ignorant of the reality. The only answer to the query, ‘Who was Buddha’s mother?’ is “Not so!” Why did Buddha teach that the universe is essentially empty or … Read more