Monday 31 March 2014

Our favorite.....

Our favorite.....
We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant and it has an extensive vegetarian menu.

It was as usual, outstanding,
the rice was perfect,
the vegetables in the sushi roll just amazing.

The chef had a new one;
avocado, that was sublime.

The wasabi cleared the nose.

The next plate was also sushi, with asparagus tips all sticking out, the same length, like soldiers standing to attention .

We sat at the counter where the chef prepares the food.
I asked the chef,
"how do you do this so perfect, every time and don't you get sick and bored with the repetition?"

He joined us for tea after he had stopped serving customers.

His answer to my question was as surprising as his food and the message I got was a dharma.

He said,
"I don't get bored with the repetition."
"The meal might look the same to you, but no two meals are the same, no two pieces of sushi are the same, no two plates are the same ."

"Everything I do is vibrant unprecedented and unrepeatable."

"You think they are the same, they even look the same."
"To me, they are all different."
"This is because I am not in a habitual thought pattern.
I don't think "same old same old",
"I don't think this is boring and is the same as yesterday and will be the same tomorrow ."

"With that thought my food will be stale and old in a few days.

"Most people get into a routine of doing something once and repeating it a thousand times, until the mind becomes numb."

He said
"I don't think this way."
"Every sushi is different to me .
Every mouthful full of love,
full of flavor."

When I heard this it was like a thunderbolt in my head.
I knew what was meant when we become enlightened on the spot.

In zen, (cha-an) there is a teaching;
I Chi Go , I Chi E
(each ee go, each ee ay)
In Japanese this means ;
"One time one meeting".
This means that everything in this life should be unprecedented and irreplaceable.

Everything should be fresh and new and vibrant.
Every meeting unique.
It will not occur again.
Each moment precious.
It will not occur again.
All encounters,
every breath,
every prayer,
will never be the same again.
They may seem the same.

It all depends on our way of thought.

When I first heard this I thought it sounded logical, but defied common sense.

How can everything be new every time?

Then I started to practice and found new tastes, new sounds, new smells, new feelings, that I never had before.

When we start to practice
I Chi Go, I Chi E
"one time. one meeting"
like the sushi chef,
we suddenly free ourselves from habitual thought patterns and feelings.

We allow our world to reveal itself to us as it really is and reveal who we really are.

Vibrant, unprecedented and unrepeatable .

We are not all the same.

If we are treated all the same, it would be a very boring world.

It is not the samenesses that are important, but the differences that tell us who we are.

Who we really are is vibrant,
unprecedented and irreplaceable .


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With love

Friday 28 March 2014



I have heard about a young man whose father was a great teacher.
All his young life he had heard his fathers wisdom.
He felt he knew all there was to know just by listening to his father's words.

His father said,
"I want you to learn from a farmer, an illiterate peasant teacher."

The son travelled for many days and finally reached the farmers village.

The farmer was on horseback returning from a trip.

He watched as the young man approached and bowed before him.

"Not enough." said the peasant.
The young man bowed again, bending his knees.

"Not enough." said the peasant.
So the young man bowed so low his knees touched the ground.

Once again he was told "not enough."

He then prostrated himself flat on the ground with his fingers touching the horses hooves.

"That's it"
said the peasant teacher,
"you have learnt everything I can teach,
you go home now."


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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Buddha's help;

Buddha's help;

A man seeking help,
went to see the Buddha.
He told the Buddha he was a farmer.
"I like farming but sometimes it rains too much and then not enough and one year we nearly starved."
"I like my wife,
but sometimes she nags too much and my children are good, but they don't show enough respect..."
the man went on and on.

The Buddha sat through all the farmers problems and finally, when he finished the Buddha said;

"I am sorry I can't help you."

"Everyone has problems,
in fact we all have eighty three problems"

The Buddha then told them all to the farmer from birth to death.

The Buddha finally said that he may be able to help the man with the eighty fourth problem.

"What's the eighty fourth problem?" asked the farmer.

"The problem of not wanting to have problems."
replied the Buddha.


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Monday 24 March 2014

Buddha Nature

Buddha Nature

When we have realised the truth, we become the happiest beings in the world.

We are free from all complexes,
free from all obsessions, the worries and troubles that torment others.

Our mental health is perfect.
We do not repent the past,
nor do we brood over the future.

We live fully in this present moment.

We appreciate and enjoy all things in the purest sense,
without self projection.

We are joyful, exultant, enjoying a pure life,
our faculties pleased,
free from anxiety,
serene and peaceful.

We are free from selfish desire, hatred, ignorance, conceit, pride and all such defilements.

We are pure and gentle,
full of unconditional love,
compassion and kindness.

We are understanding and tolerant.

Our service to others is the purest, for we have no thought of self.

We gain nothing, accumulate nothing,
not even spiritually.

We are free from the illusion of self,
and the thirst for becoming.

This is our
Buddha Nature.


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Hide and seek;

Hide and seek;

Every now and again there is no message
no inspiration
no dharma !
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

The Buddha does not give us inspiration.
It is some sort of game I believe our Buddha nature plays with us and unfortunately we have forgotten how to play the game.

Because we don't listen to Buddha Dharma we don't even know there is a game being played.

A Monk was walking down the street behind his Wat when he saw a little boy, head in hands, crying.
"Why are you crying,"
he asked and the boy replied that he and a friend had been playing 'hide and seek', when the friend suddenly went home, leaving him alone, waiting to be found.

The Monk cried out
"You too have hidden your face from us,
only because you want us to seek you."
"your children have tired of the game and have run off."

The Monk now realized that the Buddha had sent him a clear message for his Dharma and that he had not been forgotten.

He told the Sangha that night;

"How can we expect the Buddha to answer our prayers when we don't even seek Him in the right place and in the right way.

We expect the Buddha to be here in the Wat waiting for us every week,
when and if we come.

We expect the Buddha to be in our homes and at work.

The Buddha was clever and that's why He is Buddha and we are not.

Until we look in the right place we won't find our Buddha nature and we will be like the little boy holding our head in our hands crying;
"Why have you forgotten me ?
Why can't I find you?
Why Lord Buddha don't you help me?"
The answer is simple;

When we learn to still our mind and stop the constant chatter, then we can invite the Buddha into our lives.

Not only will Buddha talk to us through the Dharma,
but we will find love, joy, and peace.


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With love

Wednesday 19 March 2014

To a friend;

To a friend;
I have a friend who is not well.
My friend is dying.
I offer this Dharma;

I know that this Dharma is not from the Buddha.
It is from
Roshi Bassui Tokusho who was a true follower who understood the Dharma.

"... so you should realize that all the names of the bodhisattvas are just different names for the nature of mind.

As an expedient in the World-Honored-One's sermons, I defined things using certain names, and with these names I point to the truth.

Ordinary people, unaware of this truth, become attached to the names and, in the hope of attaining Buddhahood, seek the Buddha and Dharma outside their minds.

It's like cooking sand in the hopes of producing rice."

Roshi Bassui
wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

"The essence of your mind is not born,
so it will never die.
It is not an existence, which is perishable.
It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void.
It has neither colour nor form.
It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pain."

"I know you are very ill. Like a good student,
you are facing that sickness squarely.

You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself:

What is the essence of this mind?
Think only of this.
You will need no more. Covet nothing.
Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in pure air."

In 1387 (at the age of 61), as Roshi Bassui was sitting in meditation with his followers, he turned to them and shouted twice:

"Look straight ahead. What's there?
If you see it as it is
You will never err."

He then died.

I wish for my friend,
and you all, to be guarded and guided.
With Metta

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With love

Saturday 8 March 2014

"Eihei Dogen Dharma;"

"Eihei Dogen Dharma;"

It may seem strange that whilst on Holiday,
a time of celebration and relaxation, I reproduce a Dharma about death.

I wrote this Dharma Xmas time 2012.
We were on holiday in Japan.
A most Joyous and Enlightening time.

Actually, this Dharma is about life and death and the delusion that surrounds both life and death.

We celebrated New Year's Eve, in Japan, at Jodi's dads ski lodge in Ishiuchi just north of the birthplace of Eihei Dogen, the founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism.

I had just finished writing a story about Eihei Dogen and that inspired me to go to a Temple for Zazen.

We decided to visit a very old temple, that was a school for the children of the Samurai.

We took a wrong turn and found Kikoji Temple.

We were made most welcome by Hidenobu Noguchi the Soto Priest in charge.

The first thing I discussed with this loverly man was
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253) the founder of his order, who lived some eight hundred years ago.

He then told me the great man travelled in this area to teach, actually stayed here and that Kikoji Temple is over eight hundred years old and is dedicated to Dogen.

The Priest then offered the following;

"Dogen argued that we possess everything we need in life when we are born, including being enlightened."

Dogen said;
"As I study both the exoteric and the esoteric schools of Buddhism, they maintain that human beings are endowed with Dharma-nature by birth.

If this is the case, why did the Buddhas of all ages — undoubtedly in possession of enlightenment — find it necessary to seek enlightenment and engage in spiritual practice?"

When Dogen studied in China under Tiantong Rujing,(1162-1228)
Dōgen realized liberation of body and mind upon hearing the master say,
"Cast off body and mind."

This phrase would continue to have great importance to Dōgen throughout his life, and can be found scattered throughout his writings, as—for example—in this famous section of his "GenjoKoan"

"To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe.
To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self, as well as those of others.
Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever."

The following section of his GenjoKoen shows us Dogen's profound thinking regarding life and death;

"Firewood turns into ash and does not turn into firewood again.
Do not suppose that ash is after and firewood before.
We must realize that firewood is in a state of being firewood and it has its before and its after...
Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, so after one's death one does not become alive again.
So life does not become death in an unqualified fact of the Buddha dharma....
Life is a period of itself.
Death is a period of itself.
They are like winter and spring.
We do not think winter becomes spring or that spring becomes winter. Nor do we say that spring becomes summer."
"The Genjo Koan"

This Dogen Koan is most profound as it deals with one of the most emotional sufferings of humanity.

What happens after death?
How is life formed, and is it reincarnated life?
In other words;
Do we come back!

Please comment......

May you all be guarded and guided by following the Dharma and may the Buddha bless you.

With Metta

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With love