City Cave Zen

buddhism

by Dogo

Refuge in the Buddha Refuge in the Dharma Refuge in the Sangha Refuge in the empty spaces Spaces around Spaces between Spaces within Spaces

#rohatsu #BodhiDay #BuddhasEnlightenmentDay #zen #buddhism #poetry #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

Iron fence, trees, with trash scattered among the leaves on the ground

“Medicine and sickness heal each other. The whole world is medicine.” — Blue Cliff Record, Case 87

In this week’s Dharma talk, I mentioned a parable that’s been on my mind lately. I don’t know its origin — I’ve heard different versions, some attributing it to the Zen or Taoist traditions, but I haven’t been able to find its source, and I don’t think it matters. Here’s the version I discussed:

In Hell, everyone is starving, even though they’re all sitting at dinner tables laden with food. The problem is, they have chopsticks that are three feet long, and that’s all they’re allowed to use, so while they can pick up the food, they can’t get it to their mouths. They’re eternally hungry at an eternal feast.

In Heaven, the conditions are exactly the same as in Hell, but no one is hungry. Everyone uses their long chopsticks to feed other people, and so everyone is being fed. They’re eternally feasting at an eternal feast.

Both realms are where we live, but much of the time it’s not obvious to us. One example that presents itself to us every day now, in this time of plague, is why we should wear a mask. The current medical consensus is that while masks are somewhat effective at preventing us from being infected with Covid, they’re much more effective at preventing us from infecting other people if we have the virus. If we’re only concerned about our own safety, we might be careless about masking. If our concern is to keep everyone safe, no matter how safe we feel, we’ll naturally put a mask on. When we try to protect everyone, motivated by compassion, rather than trying to protect ourself, motivated by fear, we all keep one other safe.

This applies to much more than health precautions in a pandemic.

#zen #buddhism #compassion #HeavenAndHell #community #covid #pandemic #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

It is the time of ghosts, the time to acknowledge and celebrate what is always present, never hidden, but usually ignored.

In my dreams, the dead and the living mingle, not separated by time. A cruel man, a man I hated when I was a child, a man dead for many years now, asks me to recommend an iPod. In my dreams, the dead are not dead. In streets and houses, they go about the same business as the living. The Arizona desert is in Glasgow, Scotland.

Conversations are had, work is done, and it is as though old hurts and grudges never happened. In my dreams, the dead are not dead, but their weaknesses and failures are, leaving only people with no one to blame.

The stories we carry are the real and only ghosts. Only stories are born, and only stories die.

#death #MonoNoAware #zen #buddhism #impermanence #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

Essay by me at Buddhistdoor Teahouse

Most Zen monks in the west only wear their robes for ceremonial purposes. But I've found that when I'm on my way to or from the zendo and wearing my robes, strangers in the street will approach me, wanting to talk. It's not usually that they're interested in Buddhism, it's that they're lonely and feel isolated and need someone to talk to, and the robes give them an invitation, or maybe just an excuse, an icebreaker.

#zen #buddhism #compassion #loneliness #alienation #poverty #glasgow #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

Despite the abandoning of lockdown restrictions, we have no plans to have sangha meetings indoors anytime soon, because the goverment and science have opposite views, and we’re going with science.

But, this Thursday, August 19, you’re welcome to join us for meditation in the park next to the Kelvinside Allotments just off Kirklee Road, near the bridge. (I’ll be there early, so look for a bald guy in Zen monk’s robes.) We’ll start at 6:30pm and do two 25-minute periods of zazen (sitting meditation) broken up by 10 minutes of kinhin (walking meditation). Bring something to sit on. If you have any questions you can email me, or show up 15 minutes early.

#zen #buddhism #meditation #ZenMeditationInGlasgow #ScottishZen #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

If this answer was presented to me by a Zen student in dokusan, I would likely accept it if they could also answer some checking questions.

Next koan: Who is the true person of no rank who comes and goes through the gates of your face?

#zen #buddhism #maryhill #glasgow #koans #poetry #graffiti #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

At last week’s meeting, the Dharma talk/discussion was about how, contrary to popular belief, Buddhism is based not upon the Four Noble Truths, but rather the Three Marks of Existence (no self, or not self, impermanence, suffering). Tomorrow, (Sunday, August 1), we’ll discuss the Buddha’s declaration: “I teach only two things: suffering, and the end of suffering.”

#zen #buddhism #ScottishZen #DogoBarryGraham

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by Dogo

Yakushi the Medicine BuddhaYakushi the Medicine Buddha by Enku, 17th Century

My friend Sister Petra is a Christian nun who also practices Zen Buddhism with our sangha. A few months ago she told me, “During the pandemic, I’ve been praying for everybody who’s sick, in body, mind, or spirit.”

I was moved by this, and it has continued to resonate with me. As I’m not a Christian, my view of prayer is probably different from Sister Petra’s (or maybe not), but I realised this prayer could easily be adapted into one that could be recited by anyone, of any faith or no faith.

So, most days now, using my mala, I chant, 108 times, May all who are sick, in body, mind, or spirit, be well.

#prayer #mantra #covid #zen #buddhism #christianity #compassion

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