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Showing posts from August, 2012

Dream Conversations

This old teacher is one of my new inspirations! Muso Soseki, or Muso Kokushi (an honorific title) died in 1351 and left behind a legacy of Rinzai Zen, political influence, calligraphy, and gardens.

In one of his collections of writing, he lists common misconceptions:

There are a number of common misconceptions about Buddhism and what it teaches. Summarized as follows they may generally be found wherever word of Buddhism has been heard:

1. The pure land and the defiled land, or paradise and the mundane world are separate; delusion and enlightenment, ordinary people and sages are not the same.

2. There is no difference between sages and ordinary people, no distinction between the pure and defiled.

3. In Buddhist teaching there are distinctions such as greater and lesser, temporary and true, exoteric and esoteric, meditation and doctrinal study.

4. Buddhist teachings are completely equal, non better than another in any way.

5. All activity and perception is itself Buddhism.

6. Buddhism …

Zen Center Racism: For My Mother

Tova Green gave a Dharma talk on Sunday that addressed the issues that Sistah Vegan brought up in her blog:
Yes, overall I really enjoyed the event last night. Great celebration and memories of the Zen center’s past 50 years. Green Gulch Zen Center is beautiful and I have developed amazing relationships there, so I thank the co-founders for making these sites possible. I deeply appreciate what I have learned from Zen Buddhism and the practice’s impact on how I constantly try to be mindful and compassionate– including how I try to teach largely white racialized subjects about systemic whiteness and structural racism. But I have to admit that I am quite disappointed in the mistake of seeing Simone as Angela Davis because that ‘mistake’ potentially represents an overall problem of recognizing the impact of a homogenous Zen fellowship: what does racial homogeneity do to the collective white racialized subject’s consciousness if they participate in a mostly white (and quite financially stab…


Not by my hand! 
Enter great doubt, as I sit in my first ever Sumi-e class, cost 45 dollars. Michael Hofmann, the artist who painted our Tea house Fusuma (rice paper doors), taught the class. 

As I learned how to paint each leaf, I started calculating: Each day, about 40 cents of income. Each stroke, about 5 cents (a 3 hour class for 45 dollars), max earning potential as a Zen priest in 6 to 9 years, maybe 600 a month, past earning potential about 50,000 a year, and the cost of a baby someday? I have no idea. 

This is what I call "Money-Meditation." It's about as much fun as "How-many-hours-of-sleep-did-I-get-last-night?-meditation" or the "Am-I-actually-loosing-my-teeth?-meditation."

I only know one answer to great doubt: Do nothing, drink boiled water, and sit Zazen. This demi-god of Mara is like the T-Rex- the more you move, the more it will chase you. 

Only took 6-months: Noted, thank you very much. 

So, I have great doubt about my path a Zen priest, an…

Satori is Just Doing, I Think.

I can still feel the rattle in my wrists from pitching stone all day. Some may not know, but I became a laborer and mason's apprentice when I was 15 years old. I used to get picked up in a big ol truck at the end of our muddy dirt road in rural Pennsylvania, and off I'd go to brick, concrete block, stone, and concrete floor jobs.

I just got done reading The Peaceful Warrior, which was assigned reading after I confessed to a recent bout of rage I released upon litterers in our valley. Maybe someday I'll tell that foaming-at-the-mouth-story, but right now I'd like to not criticize the book and just bring up some points I see virtue in.

But I give this book a 4 out of 10. It would be a 3, but it was easy to read, so, bonus point.

I should mention my teacher LOVES this book.

Let me try and see the virtue here:

At one point, it's said, that what we have when we are full engaged in physical activity is Satori. I'm not sure what Satori is, but I know that when I …

In a Pond Without a Paddle

Who has two thumbs and was stuck in the pond, holding a severed air line and gasping as his paddle fell out of the boat while said airline snapped off the pond aerator?

Same one who has two thumbs and is typing this.

Serious jackass, or humorous fool seem to be my only choices, really.

Epic scene- We set out to harvest pond weeds. I lent my PVC coated bibs to another farmer so she could clean out some seedling flats, and I scrounged up a pair of one-legged Hally Hansons, missing-suspenders-replaced-by-weedwhacker-line (which broke about the same time the air line snapped). We'd only been harvesting for 45 minutes by quitting time, and I really wanted to stay, and another farmer really didn't, and I asked him to scurry up the bank through a thicket of black berry brambles, so I didn't have to ferry him to the dock on the other side and could continue to launch my 16 foot weighted weed rake out into the depths and pull in some sweet green nitrogen for our compost pile. He sa…

Blogger Says Choose An Identity

Rather unannounced, Ariel Pork, the pigasus, disappeared, and Go Cloud, Run Water! and the farmer monk stepped forward. I'm not sure my old friends will find me; I think they'll be okay. It was time to change.

I've been blogging for about 9 years now! I started around the same time I began Zen practice, roughly in my sophomore year. For the intrepid reader, go here to see So Much For The Afterlife.

Another transformation, causes and conditions, but this Go Cloud, Run Water! is not Ariel Pork and Ariel Pork is not So Much For The Afterlife. Transformation implies too intimate a relationship, when all there is a relation between these blogs.

Go Cloud, Run Water! comes by way of a friend, Heather, who came by this phrase in a calligraphy class. Unsui, wandering zen monk, translates to "clouds and water."

By Manaka Unsui Sensei 
My intentions for Go Cloud, Run Water! are:
1. To continue to chronicle my practice life, (my life?) through "journaling" in a tran…

Farming and Tea and Calligraphy

Some people have great complaints about Green Gulch. They're not incorrect. However, there is a lot to participate in here that people who complain about Green Gulch didn't actually participate in.

Aside from two Dharma talks and three Buddhism classes a week, 3 periods of meditation and two ceremonies everyday, and weekly roles, like chiden, tenken, or shoten, and monthly one day sits or workshops on everything from bee keeping to photography, or haiku or calligraphy, two yearly sesshins, practice periods, and tea ceremony events like a kaiseki or chaji, I find enough here to stay busy and motivated.

Not to mention a library with about 600 or so books I've never read.

Not to mention some senior Dharma teachers and seasoned priests to have practice discussion with, and traveling Dharma teachers passing through.

One close friend dared me to be happy here for more than two years. He lived here for several, so he's got a longer view than I do, but I can't help but thi…

On Hate

This Italian Zen priest said,

"Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

Sounds good.


Yesterday, I think I sat my worst period of Zazen ever. My legs wouldn't stay where I wanted them, I was so, so tired, my back slumped and my hands just held each other. I completely gave up.
Later, in the fields, I felt so relaxed. One farmer said, "I've never seen you work so leisurely." And I checked in, and since giving up, I felt really, really at ease. 
It was only a couple of moments before that "at ease" felt like something heavy to carry, and I had to drop it so I could pick up a wrench and free an irrigation snafu. 
So, enlightenment seems like such a heavy, silly word. To have enlightenment is to have one more thing to be free from. Sometimes Kosho Zenrei says don't get stuck. I think I read about a fish escaping a basket. I think practice-enlightenment is this fish escaping, over and over and over again. I am both the fish and the basket, since we create the basket, by thinking, "Oh I'm at ease" I create a basket of being at e…