“The Basic kind of Zen practice is called zazen (sitting Zen), and in zazen we attain samadhi. In this state the activity of consciousness is stopped and we cease to be aware of time, space, and causation. The mode of existence which thus makes its appearance may at first sight seem to be nothing more than mere being, or existence. However, if you really attain this state you will find it to be a remarkable thing. At the extremity of having denied all, and having nothing left to deny, we reach a state in which absolute silence and stillness reign, bathed in pure, serene light. Buddhists of former times called this state annihilation, or Nirvana. But it is not a vacuum or mere nothingness. ” ~ ‘Zen Training Methods and Philosophy by Katsuki Sekida. Page 29-30.
Troubled and confused is life in the three worlds
It’s not just the way things are today
Things have always been like this
Because you fail to realize the truth
You spend a lifetime chasing about
Reading the Buddhist scriptures, you become
caught up in names and forms
and never return
Practicing Zen, you become attached to nirvana
and end up being mired there
It reminds me of Master Tung-shan’s apt words:
“The moment you set foot outside the gate
Grasses are sprouting everywhere”
A little known secret: I enjoy quotes especially ones that take you deep within. Yes, I know, what a surprise! 🙂 It seems I am not the only one. most of my twitter contacts enjoy quotes also. Maybe like attracts like? Hmm.
365 Nirvana Here and Now: Living Every Moment In Enlightenment, edited and with commentary by Josh Baran is one of those quote books that you can let the book fall open and you have your ‘gem’ for the day or if you are me, for the week. (Barnes & Noble/Amazon do not have this book in stock at this moment…your local well-loved book store might though!)
Given the title, you would think 365 Nirvana is entirely comprised of Buddhist quotes, yet it is not so…. Examples: “With ‘I’ eliminated…this is Nirvana here and now. ~ The Buddha, ‘It is right in your face. This moment, the whole thing is handed to you. ~ Yuanwu, ‘You search for God in heaven and earth, but you don’t know the one who is right before your eyes, because you don’t know how to search into this very moment. ~ Jesus.’
And this from the Introduction by Josh Baran…’This treasury of insights, a chorus of the present moment sung by ancient and modern voices that span time, distance, religion, tradition, and culture – is an invitation’ … I could not have said or written it better. This little book has become a constant source of reflective material that sits on my nightstand within easy reach.
So tonight…I let 365 Nirvana ‘pick’ the quote ending this post…see where it takes you.
Just One Time
Where you are going
and the place you stay
come to the same thing.
What you long for
and what you’ve left behind
are as useless as your name.
Just one time, walk out
into the field and look
at the towering oak —
an acorn still beating at its heart. Peter Levitt
When it comes to reading books, I rarely choose historical fiction. In fact, this was my first spiritual historical fiction. (At least that I remember!) So I will admit some reluctance in starting this book.
Mr. Chopra does a fine job of storytelling with this ‘possible’ tale of how Siddhārtha Gautama became The Buddha. He outlines Siddhārtha’s separateness before birth and how human he was. And how different he was from others around him. Yet he was the same, for he felt pain, suffered, and enjoyed pleasures as all humans do. Siddhārtha’s difference is what made him seek out the answers to the questions we all ask.
I will not say much more about the book for fear of telling too much. I will say I felt what Siddhārtha felt and at times had to put the book away until my eyes were not clouded with tears. (Maybe I was just tired and thus the watery eyes?) And the end is not quite what I had envisioned but it was great.
Now for the not so good: I felt the story plodded much of the time. Sometimes the scene changed abruptly which caused me to go back over what I had read to make sure I hadn’t missed a line or so. I also felt there was not always a clear reason for the main character to make a decision when he did.
All this taken into consideration, I say…..read this book. Glean from it as you may or not.‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ is worth your time. ~ Debra Saturday
The wise have mastered body, word, and mind. They are the true masters. ~ The Buddha