Whoa Horse! I told you to stop, damn it!

black and white,

There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. Another man standing alongside the road, shouts, “Where are you going?” and the first man replies, “I don’t know! Ask the horse!” This is also our story. We are riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop. The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless. We struggle all the time, even during our sleep. We are at war within ourselves…We have to learn the art of stopping – stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us. When an emotion rushes through us like a storm, we have no peace.

- Thích Nhât Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: Transforming Suffering Into Peace, Joy and Liberation


Credits: Quote – Sensual Starfish. Image: landscapre

 

Absolutely pure

bird-winds-soar-blue-sky

This world –
absolutely pure
As is.
Behind the fear,
Vulnerability.
Behind that,
Sadness,
then compassion
And behind that the vast sky.

~ Rick Fields


Notes:

Sunday Morning: The Pilgrimmage

Shikoku-88-Temple-Pilgrimage-Japan

Bruce Feiler in The New Allure of Sacred Pilgrimages:

[…] (A) growing number of Americans (are) joining the worldwide boom in spiritual travel. This growth comes at a time when organized religion around the world is feeling threatened…Pilgrimage, meanwhile, is more popular than ever…the United Nations released a study finding that of every three tourists worldwide, one is a pilgrim, a total of 330 million people a year.

Last year I went on six of these pilgrimages to explore what this new phenomenon says about the future of faith. In addition to the trip to Lourdes, I bathed in the Ganges River along with 100 million people during the 55-day Kumbh Mela, trekked on a 700-mile Buddhist path in Japan, walked in the footsteps of prophets in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem, and traveled with African-Americans to reclaim their roots in Nigeria. What I found is that pilgrimage is not merely ancillary to the modern spiritual existence. In an age of doubt and shifting beliefs, people are no longer willing to blindly accept the beliefs of their ancestors. They are insisting instead on choosing their own beliefs. A pilgrimage can be a central part of this effort.

…The most popular thing you hear in faith circles these days is, “I’m not religious — I’m spiritual.” Everyone is on a journey.

…It’s that feeling of taking control over one’s life that most affected the pilgrims I met. So much of religion as it’s been practiced for centuries has been largely passive. People receive a faith from their parents; they are herded into institutions they have no role in choosing; they spend much of their spiritual lives sitting inactively in buildings being lectured at from on high.

A pilgrimage reverses all of that. At its core, it’s a gesture of action. In a world in which more and more things are artificial and ephemeral, a sacred journey gives the pilgrim the chance to experience something both physical and real. And it provides seekers with an opportunity they may never have had: to confront their doubts and decide for themselves what they really believe.

As appealing as that destination may be, there’s only one way to achieve it. Get up off your sofa and go.

Read Bruce Feiler’s entire essay at The New Allure of Sacred Pilgrimages


Image Credit: Wayne Emde @ Pilgrimroads.com (shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage)

Breathe out, look in, let go

peace-zen-buddhism-sit-meditate

You’re already more and less
than whatever you can know.
Breathe out, look in, let go.

~ John Welwood

 


John Welwood is an American clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, teacher, and author, known for integrating psychological and spiritual concepts. Trained in existential psychology, Welwood did his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Chicago. He has been the Director of the East/West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and is an associate editor of Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. A prominent figure in transpersonal psychology, he is a pioneer in integrating Western psychology and Eastern wisdom. He has written over six books, including Journey of the Heart (1990), Challenge of the Heart (1985), and Love and Awakening (1996). His 2007 book, Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, won the 2007 Books for a Better Life Award. (Source: Wiki)


Credits: Photography: Indigo-soul. Quote – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com


Not a single inch of grass

desert-air-george-steinmetz-photograph

“The Master, addressing the assembly, said, “Brothers, it is the beginning of autumn, and the end of summer. You may go east or west, but you should go only to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li.” After pausing for a while he asked, “How does one go to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li?”

Later this was related to Shih-shuang, who said, “Why didn’t someone say, ‘As soon as one goes out the door, there is grass’?”

The Master, hearing of this response, said, “Within the country of the Great T’ang such a man is rare.”

-The Record of Tung-Shan



Yes.

Breathe - red light

“‎In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.”

— Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha


Credits: Quote: Samsaranmusing.  Image: everybodyhasabrain

Which Horse You Ridin’?

horse in sunset

“Roshi once told us that there were three different kinds of horses: with one, just a tug at the reins made them start moving; the second, a kick in the flanks and they were off; and then there were those that had to be beaten to the bone with a whip before they started to move. “Unfortunately,” he said, “most human beings are the third kind.” He told us we act as though we were going to live forever. “Wake up,” he said.

~ Natalie Goldberg

 


The sound of the rain needs no translation

black and white, Christian Calzone

“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan, and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen, you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because the sound of the rain needs no translation.'”

– Alan Watts


Alan Watts quotes Zen roshi Morimoto in his autobiography titled In My Own Way.  Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer and speaker, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern Philosophy for Western audiences.  He moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master’s degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.  Watts gained a large following in the San Francisco Bay Area while working as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism.  (Source: Wiki)


Credits: Photograph by Christian Calzone via Black and White.  Quote via Whiskey River.

Who Binds You?

wind, flow


Who binds you?
A monk asked Seng ts’an, “Master, show me the way to liberation.”
Seng ts’an replied, “Who binds you?”
The monk responded, “No one binds me.”
Seng ts’an said, “Then why do you seek liberation?”


Credits: Image – Madam Scherzo. Quote:  whiskeyriver.blogspot.com.  This is an Ancient koan / teaching story.  Seng Ts’an is the third Zen ancestor in China.

Look for those small openings

natalie goldberg

We have this life. We live it day by day. It passes quickly. Sometimes not quickly enough- we get despondent, sullen, downcast. Those are good words. In those slow moments something might appear- a chance to fall through our blistering fast-paced lives to the other side, where we can turn around and view ourselves, take a curious interest. Underneath everything we long to know ourselves. We wouldn’t know it though by the way we act- chugging down another whiskey, not listening to our daughter at breakfast, going sixty in a twenty zone. Reaching to get away; longing to come home. In writing, in sitting, in slow walking, a flash, a moment appears when we fall through and what we are fighting, running from, struggling with becomes open, luminous- or, even better, not a problem, just what it is. Look for those small openings.

~ Natalie Goldberg


Natalie Goldberg, 65, is an American popular New Age author, speaker, teacher and painter. She is best known for a series of books which explore and practice writing as Zen practice. Her 1986 book Writing Down the Bones sold over a million copies and is considered an influential work on the craft of writing. Her 2013 book, The True Secret of Writing, is a follow-up to that work.  Goldberg has studied Zen Buddhism for more than thirty years. She has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice for the last thirty years. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops and she has earned a reputation as a great teacher. The Oprah Winfrey Show sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on Spirituality that covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation. (Sources: Wiki & NatalieGoldberg.com)


Credits: Quote – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com.  Photograph: kripalu.org