Wednesday 23 January 2013

"The power of I am"

"The power of I am"
I saw these words the other day and a light turned on in my head.
I thought about how strong our words are and how our words effect us.

"I am sick, I am tired, I didn't sleep a wink last night, I hate you, I hate my job,I can't stand banks, government, weather, dogs, cats, relatives."

The list is endless.
The effect is instant and not only do we carry these thoughts with us,
we pass them on.
We can cause a ripple effect that can touch dozens of people effecting how they feel and all of those they mix with.
The effect can be disastrous.
Hundreds of people having a bad day because you decided to vent a negative "I am."

How about
"I am strong,
I am beautiful,
I am full of vigor.
Full of love,
I am perfect."

With Metta

Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Monday 7 January 2013

Eihei Dogen said...

Eihei Dogen said...
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it"

We have had the most wonderful time visiting Japan over Xmas and New Year.
The snow was exceptional with over three metres covering the lodge. We had to dig ourselves out to go skiing, although on my case it was falling down not skiing.

The highlights of this trip have been many including staying at an authentic Onsen hotel where the hot water is pumped directly from the springs deep underground and we took to the hot and then snow baths with gusto.

We also stayed at the most expensive hotel in Tokyo
The fabulous Shangri-La.

Of course meeting up with the Reverend Noguchi at Kikoji
Temple was for me amazing.
There was no coincidence that I was writing about Eihei Dogen the very morning we met with a teacher of this great man's philosophy.

In my searching of the Internet I have come across the following explanation of this extraordinary way of life and thinking;

"The foundations of Zen Buddhism are generally attributed to the Indian monk Bodhidarma who sometime in the early 5th century journeyed to China to teach a new kind of Buddhism focused on experiential wisdom as opposed to theoretical knowledge.

By the 7th century, Bodhidarma's ideas had been integrated with many elements of China's indigenous Taoist (Daoist) philosophy and become a fully developed branch of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism known as Chan (Zen in Japanese).

The daily life of Zen monks was very different from those in other Buddhist traditions. Zen monks meditated but they also extended their practice to every day activities such as food production, building, cleaning, gardening, medicine, and administrative duties.

From China, Zen Buddhism was transmitted to Vietnam, Korea and Japan.

Japan's three Zen sects are the Rinzai school, the Soto and the Obaku school. Of the three, the Soto school is by far the largest.

Historically, the Rinzai school is the oldest followed by the Soto school and the Obaku school.

The Soto school was established by Dogen in the early 13th century based on his studies with the Chinese Caodong sect.

The Obaku school was introduced to Japan in the 17th century by Ingen, the Chinese head of the same school.
Ingen was forced to flee China due to increased persecution of his sect by the Ming Dynasty.
This school shares many similarities with the Rinzai school but is more Chinese in its practices and aesthetics.

The Rinzai school combines aspects of Japanese esoteric Buddhism with the idea of gaining enlightenment through a student-master relationship and meditation.

In the Soto school, achieving enlightenment is based primarily on intense and frequent meditation sessions.

In the quest for enlightenment, both the Rinzai school and the Soto school also make use of Koans, which are stories, questions, or statements in which the meaning eludes rational thinking.
These ''riddles'' can only be solved by bypassing the thinking mind and relying on intuitive processes.
( my own favorite Koan:
"What is your original face

In Japan, Zen had a major influence on the samurai warrior class and the arts. From the 12th century onwards, Zen was widely adopted as the religion of Japan's increasingly influential samurai warrior class.

The moral code of the samurai warrior (bushido) shares many aspects with Zen philosophy. Both stress the importance of discipline, courage, persistence, and simplicity.

Zen meditation was a key part of samurai life as a way of calming the mind in preparation for battle."

My thanks to the Kyoto visitors guide website for the above article.

Bodhidharma wrote some of the most enlightening words and I share the following;

" People of sharp abilities know that the mind is the path.
People of dull abities seek everywhere for the path,
but don't know it's location.
They are not aware that the mind from the outset
is perfect enlightenment"

"Damo" 470-543

Bodhidharma, "Damo",
is also the
Patron Saint of the Shaolin Monks and KungFu

He is one of my heroes

Another of my heroes said;

" An individual that knows Dharma can be compared to a lamp that lights up the darkness.
One who is close will see clearly, while those further away will see less clearly.
After a period of time the lamp's light may go out or be extinguished, but then, from time to time, the lamp will be relit, again providing illumination."

Why do we allow the light to grow dim or even to extinguish?

Why do we seek a path other than within ourselves?

Maybe we hang on to old programs, hang on to what we believe is our birthright.
Hang on to our teaching from past experience.
Stale lessons that are no longer relevant.

The secret is to let go.

Don't recall;
Let go of
what has passed

Don't imagine;
Let go of
what may come

Don't think;
Let go of what is happening now

Don't examine;
Don't try to
figure anything out

Don't control;
Don't try to make
anything happen

right now and rest.

Japan, for me,
is a great teacher.
The great reminder.
The great undoer.


Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Thursday 3 January 2013

" The more laws and restrictions there are the poorer people become.

" The more laws and restrictions there are the poorer people become.
The sharper the weapons,
the more trouble in the land.
The more clever and ingenious people are,
the stranger things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
the more thieves and robbers."

"Lao Tzu" (604-517BC)

His commentary is as clear and precise then as it is today

Everything changes
but humanities behavior
stays the same

Let us try this year to have less
restrictions in our thinking and our actions

Our sharper weapons are causing death and destruction all around us and the present misuse of weaponry is a prime example

Our cleverness is causing strange behavior and even though in medicine and communication our society is advancing, our humanity is not

Our rulers are putting so many regulations on the populous there is mass starvation around our world causing an increase in theft and violent robbery

Lao Tzu got it right

We still have not got it right after two thousand five hundred years and we are still
shooting and robbing each other for no apparent gain other than greed

Maybe just maybe we can find the middle way and live in peace and harmony through right thought and right action


Sent from my iPhone and
With love