Teisho Today Archives

Welcome to the Teisho Today archives where we present our most recent Daily Zen Journals as audio files for your enjoyment. Over time we aim to have the entire library of journals available in this format, however, this is a work in progress as the first journal was released in 1998, and this is now 2022!

Join us on this journey as Daily Zen evolves and grows into the present moment heading into our 25th year.

Mind is the One Vehicle

Are ordinary and sage different or not? There is no difference at all. With awakening, the person who is ordinary in the morning is a sage by evening. Without awakening, you are subject to birth in the six planes of existence.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Mind is the One Vehicle
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Great Enlightenment – Part 2

“Throughout history, all the woodcutters in the mountains and fishermen in the seas have had enlightenment.” If students study Rinzai’s words they will not be wasting their time. However, we should also study the teachings of other Patriarchs.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Great Enlightenment – Part 2
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Selections from the Diamond Sutra

Those who aspire to the consummation of incomparable enlightenment should recognize and understand all varieties of things in the same way and cut off the arising of views that are mere aspects. As regards aspects, the Tathagata declares that in reality, they are not such. They are merely called “aspects.”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Selections from the Diamond Sutra
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Sermon of Zen Master Bassui – Part 2

Now, then, when you look for what is the host, the master who is now seeing colors, hearing sounds, raising hands and moving feet, though you realize all this is the doing of your own mind, actually you don’t know what its inner reality is. If you say it is nonexistent, it is clear that it is free to act; if you say it exists, its form cannot be seen.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Sermon of Zen Master Bassui – Part 2
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Walking the Middle Path

The Sutra on the Middle Way has profound and wonderful meaning. But only when we discover how to apply the teachings in it to our daily lives can they be truly beneficial. Even when we are able to talk eloquently about the Middle Way, no-self, or Dependent Co-arising, we still need to ask: How can these teachings be put into practice every day?

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Walking the Middle Path
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Source-Ancestral Discourses

I often wander these coastal mountains with friends, monks, and masters of the Way. Karmic transformations brought us together here, mind and spirit, searching for the insight beyond words that understands the Way.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Source-Ancestral Discourses
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Everyone Instantly Becomes a Buddha

Many Chan practitioners ask questions about the Dharma. The Dharma that is spoken is originally not the true Dharma. As soon as you try to explain things, the true meaning is lost. If you realize that this Mind is originally the Buddha, then at that very instant there is nothing more to do.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Everyone Instantly Becomes a Buddha
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Treasury of the Eye of True Teaching

You should each believe your own mind is Buddha. This mind itself is Buddha. The great teacher Bodhidharma came to China from South India, transmitting the supreme vehicle’s teaching of one mind, to get you to wake up.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Treasury of the Eye of True Teaching
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Tsung Ching Record of Hui Hai – Part 3

Once our Master took his place in the assembly hall and said, “It is far better for all of you to be unconcerned people. Why all this craze for karmic activities…toiling and moiling the whole day through, telling people you are practicing Ch’an and studying the Way, holding forth about your understanding of the Buddha-dharma? This sort of thing is no use at all.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Tsung Ching Record of Hui Hai – Part 3
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Mind is Formless

You people seek to measure all within the void, foot by foot and inch by inch; I repeat to you that all phenomena are devoid of distinctions of form.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Mind is Formless
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Huang Po – Questions and Answers

All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Huang Po – Questions and Answers
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Dharma Talks – Part 2

Dull-witted as I am, I think if I put my mind to it, I could probably remember a couple of anecdotes to tell people. But that would be like feeding them poison. I don’t want to do that.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Dharma Talks – Part 2
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Discourse of Master Po Shan – Part 2

In ancient times people could enter Dhyana while tilling the land, picking peaches or doing anything. It was never a matter of sitting idly for prolonged periods, engaged in forcefully suppressing one’s thoughts.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Discourse of Master Po Shan – Part 2
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The Basis of Awareness

Expand enlightenment, and the mind is always calm; go along with things, and consciousness runs at a gallop.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Basis of Awareness
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On the Transmission of Mind – Part 4

People are often hindered by environmental phenomena from perceiving Mind, and by individual events from perceiving principles; so they often try to escape from environmental phenomena in order to still their minds, or to obscure events in order to retain their grasp on principles.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
On the Transmission of Mind – Part 4
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Selections from the Song of Awakening – Part 2

What then is this transparent jewel whose breadth, height, and depth are without limit, within which the past, the present, and the future transpire?

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Selections from the Song of Awakening – Part 2
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One Practice Samahdi – Part 2

Deluded people are unaware, so they turn things upside down with their attachments. There are hundreds of such people who teach the Way like this. But they are, you should know, greatly mistaken.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
One Practice Samahdi – Part 2
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Bodhidarma’s Bloodstream Sermon – Part 2

To find a buddha, all you have to do is see your nature. Your nature is buddha. And the buddha is the person who’s free, free of plans, free of cares.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Bodhidarma’s Bloodstream Sermon – Part 2
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On Gardens and The Way

A passage about gardens and how they can connect us with our practice

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
On Gardens and The Way
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Guidelines for Studying the Way

Fearing the swift passage of sunlight, practice the Way as though saving your head from fire.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Guidelines for Studying the Way
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Always Mindful

Whether deep in the mountain valleys or in the bustling villages and towns, they never turned their back on being mindful for an instant.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Always Mindful
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Dreaming Asleep and Awake

Sincere and rigorous practice lets us calm both body and mind, which in turn allows us, day by day, to reduce our karmic obstructions.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Dreaming Asleep and Awake
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Other Ways to Do Zen

Though sitting in the upright position is the very best way to perfect your body, there are innumerable occasions when you must get bodily involved in the things and conditions of the worldly.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Other Ways to Do Zen
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Stillness in Action

While Takashina Rōsen’s piece sounds so simple, it embodies a deep principle of practice. And one that is easy for everyone to relate to.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Stillness in Action
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Buddhism is Natural Truth

There seems to be as many descriptions of Buddhism as there are teachers and schools; each represents a different way of interpreting the essential teachings of Buddha.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Buddhism is Natural Truth
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Advice and Encouragement

With the change in colors and the sense of pause before the next step in the natural world, what better time than now to recharge our practice?

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Advice and Encouragement
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Discourse of Master Han Shan – Part 2

Such simplicity and clarity breaks through our tendency to complicate practice, something we all have done and still do at times.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Discourse of Master Han Shan – Part 2
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Absorption in the Treasury of Light

Unless you form an alliance with the family of Buddhas lifetime after lifetime, how can you grasp what you hear in a lecture like this? Make sure that you do not become further estranged and further remote from it.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Absorption in the Treasury of Light
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What is Zen?

Zen is discipline in enlightenment. Enlightenment means emancipation. And emancipation is no less than freedom.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
What is Zen?
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Treatise on the True Sudden Enlightenment School – Part 3

The Great Path is fused with Mind, revealing the true pattern of reality. All worthy sages past and future tend toward this gate. For those who awaken, the triple world is only mind. Those who do not awaken create dreams as they sleep.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Treatise on the True Sudden Enlightenment School – Part 3
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Wake-up Sermon – Part 4

Without the mind there’s no buddha means that the buddha comes from the mind. The mind gives birth to the buddha. But while the buddha comes from the mind, the mind doesn’t come from the buddha.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Wake-up Sermon – Part 4
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The Practice of True Reality – Part 2

The practice of true reality is simply to sit serenely in silent introspection. When you have fathomed this you cannot be turned around by external causes and conditions

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Practice of True Reality – Part 2
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Joyously Alive

The essential requirement in studying Zen is concentrated focus. You don’t engage in any forced actions; you just keep to the Fundamental. Right where you stand, you must pass through to freedom.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Joyously Alive
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Sayings and Dialogues

The mind of a Wayfarer is plain and direct, without artificiality. There is no rejection and no attachment, no deceptive wandering mind. At all times seeing and hearing are normal. There are no further details.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Sayings and Dialogues
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Since I Became Buddha – Part 2

Some people misunderstand the implications of this. They think, “What a wonderful law. We all live in paradise, and we’re all Buddha. So there’s nothing to do. We don’t have to study, or work, or make progress. We can do anything we want, can’t we?”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Since I Became Buddha – Part 2
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Since I became Buddha – Part 1

We tend to think that it has only been 2,500 years or so since the historical Buddha became enlightened, taught, and entered nirvana. So how could he have said at the time after his enlightenment that it had already been an incomprehensible period since he had been enlightened?

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Since I became Buddha – Part 1
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The Sermon of No Words

Whether we call what we do Zen practice or Buddhism or Humanism or any other ism, the higher vision of what we can be here is to walk our talk. This action-from-stillness way of life is what we live each day in our actions.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Sermon of No Words
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Mind of Enlightenment, Great Compassion, and Skillful Means

The path that all the buddhas teach is the same and is of a single universal taste. It is totally free from all differentiation like empty space and is the ground of all things like the great earth.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Mind of Enlightenment, Great Compassion, and Skillful Means
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Hakuin’s Song of Meditation

In the original, the Song of Meditation is written in very easy language. Before Hakuin, Zen in Japan had not quite given up its Chinese flavor, but with him it became completely Japanese.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Hakuin’s Song of Meditation
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Silent Illumination – Part 1

The style of meditation called Silent Illumination is one of the greatest practices of the Chan (Zen) tradition. Originating around the eleventh century, its greatest advocate was Master Hongzhi Zhengjue of the Caodong sect.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Silent Illumination – Part 1
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The Empty Bowl Sutra

Once when the Bhagavan was dwelling near Sravasti in the Anapindada Garden of the Jeta Forest and expounding the Dharma to the assembly, Manjushri Bodhisattva put on his robe at dawn, picked up his bowl, and proceeded slowly toward the city.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Empty Bowl Sutra
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Cultivation and Worldly Activities

For farmers the growing of crops is kufu; for carpenters and plasterers the construction of buildings is kufu. Drawing on this secular meaning, the word came to indicate cultivation of the Buddhadharma for seekers of the Way.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Cultivation and Worldly Activities
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Wisdom and Ignorance

In the evening Rahula finished his meditation practice, went to the Buddha and asked, “O World-Honored One, how should one master mindful breathing, and what great benefit is there?”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Wisdom and Ignorance
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Return to Spring

If you’re willing to climb, to let go of each springtime as it arises and recedes below, you can enter into that alluring freshness of new grasses and radiant wildflowers again and again until you finally reach the glaciers, the frozen fields where yesterday’s snows and tomorrow’s will soon meet and blend

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Return to Spring
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No Such Thing as Enlightnement

A monk who had come from Sendai in Oshu said, “Somewhere I seem to recall there being the expression, ‘The mind enslaved to physical form.’ I’m anxious to accord with original mind at all times, but how should I practice in order to do this? Please instruct me.”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
No Such Thing as Enlightnement
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Admonitions

As long as you are subject to a life bound by force of habit, you are not free from the burden of the body. The physical being given you by your parents has come into existence through the interdependence of many conditions; while the basic elements thus sustain you, they are always at odds with one another.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Admonitions
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The Bright, Boundless Field

The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Bright, Boundless Field
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Zen and the Art of Tea

What is common to Zen and the art of tea is the constant attempt both make at simplification. The elimination of the unnecessary is achieved by Zen in its intuitive grasp of final reality; by the art of tea, in the way of living typified by serving tea in the tearoom. The art of tea is the aestheticism of primitive simplicity.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Zen and the Art of Tea
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Bhaddekaratta Sutta

When we are masters of ourselves, we can grasp the situation as it is, and we’re in the best position to handle whatever may arise. When we dwell in mindfulness day and night, then we are truly practicing “the better way to live alone.”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Bhaddekaratta Sutta
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Cat and Mouse

If you have climbed a mountain, you know that sometimes it goes smoothly, while at other times it is difficult. Meditation is like that. Sometimes things go well, but other times you have negative physical and mental reactions.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Cat and Mouse
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Understanding Impermanence

When I was young, it seemed forever between birthdays; now each year flies quickly by. I turn around and twenty years are gone! From the perspective of cosmic time, a life is shorter than the blink of an eye.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Understanding Impermanence
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Sermon in Tavatimsa Heaven

The World-Honored One said to queen mother, “Queen mother, the reasons why people cannot free themselves from illusion are greed, anger, and ignorance. Because of these three poisons, they cannot even be reborn in the heavens. How much less when they attempt to leave the realm of birth and death!”

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Sermon in Tavatimsa Heaven
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About This Mind

About this mind—in truth there is nothing really wrong with it. It is intrinsically pure. Within itself it’s already peaceful. If the mind is not peaceful these days, it’s because it follows moods. The real mind doesn’t have anything to it; it is simply an aspect of nature. It becomes peaceful or agitated because moods deceive it.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
About This Mind
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How to be a Householder Bodhisattva

This affair is a matter of people of sharp faculties and superior wisdom who do not consider it difficult to understand a thousand when hearing one. It requires a stand that is solid and true and faith that is thoroughgoing.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
How to be a Householder Bodhisattva
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The Hoshin-ji Sermons

What I teach everyone in these talks of mine is the unborn Buddha-mind of illuminative wisdom, nothing else. Everyone is endowed with this Buddha-mind, only they don’t know it. My reason for coming and speaking to you like this is to make it known to you.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Hoshin-ji Sermons
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Shodoka – Song of Awakening

True reality is the essence and the original source, while divine powers are merits. We like the merits and dislike the essence. We love to receive a salary, we don’t love the work; we love the reward, we don’t love the effort.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Shodoka – Song of Awakening
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The Time Being

Even though you do not measure the hours of the day as long or short, far or near, you still call it twelve hours. Because the signs of time’s coming and going are obvious, people do not doubt it. Although they do not doubt it, they do not understand it.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Time Being
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Wake-up Sermon – Part 3

When the mind reaches nirvana, you don’t see nirvana. Because the mind is nirvana. If you see nirvana somewhere outside the mind, you’re deluding yourself.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Wake-up Sermon – Part 3
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One Practice Samadhi

This teaching has been passed down by the ancients. It isn’t something I discovered by myself. But if you wish to hear this teaching of the ancients, you must listen with pure minds. And if you wish to get rid of your delusions, you should understand it as past generations have.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
One Practice Samadhi
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Great Vow

The Great Vow is setting up and defining the goal. Without a goal, we may go in circles or backward. But if we have a view of the proper goal, whether we travel fast or slow, eventually we reach our destination.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Great Vow
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Kalama Sutra

Kalamas, whenever you yourselves know that these things are unwholesome; these things are harmful; these things are criticized by the wise; and when practiced according to their own standard, these things bring suffering and have no benefit, then you ought to abandon such things.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Kalama Sutra
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The Mind Dharma

According to the Ch’an method, self-cultivation begins with the control of mind as the starting point. By mind is meant the wandering mind, always in search of something in the realm of unreality.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Mind Dharma
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Great Doubt

In Zen practice, the essential point is to rouse doubt. What is this doubt? When you are born, for example, where do you come from? You cannot help but remain in doubt about this. When you die, where do you go? Again, you cannot help but remain in doubt.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Great Doubt
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Harmony – Part 3

Now we must talk about what to do while sitting in Zen meditation. The same three things must be attended to. In one sitting, whether the time is long or short, i.e., within a twelve-hour period whether it lasts for one, two, or three hours, when using one’s heart-mind to regulate thoughts, one must know well during this time whether or not to harmonize body, breath, and heart.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony – Part 3
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Harmony – Part 2

The second step when entering Zen meditation is to regulate the breathing. In doing so there are four ways to breathe, i.e., the breath sounds like wind blowing, sighing, Qi flowing, and quiet breathing. The first three are not appropriate for adjusting your breath, while the last one does help regulate it.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony – Part 2
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Harmony – Part 1

The word harmony is used here in the sense of harmonizing the five Dharma activities. The first is to regulate the times of eating and drinking. The second one is to regulate sleeping, the third is to regulate the body, the fourth is to regulate breathing, and the fifth is to regulate the heart-mind.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Harmony – Part 1
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Zazenron

The main point of zazen is supposed to be that no thought arises. But if we check thought by thought, surely it is like washing off blood with blood.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Zazenron
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Following the Breath with Mindfulness

It is essential that we understand this profound truth: the prana-body is the conditioner of the flesh-body. We ought to know that there are these two kaya (bodies), or levels of kaya.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Following the Breath with Mindfulness
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All Beings Are in the Process of Becoming Buddhas

“All beings are intrinsically Buddha,” as Hakuin said, means that all sentient beings are endowed with the wisdom and virtuous power of the Buddha and are, without exception, gradually advancing along the path of liberation. It is inevitable that all human beings will perfectly realize their essential nature.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
All Beings Are in the Process of Becoming Buddhas
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The Lankavatara Sutra

Bodhisattvas should become adept at examining the two kinds of phenomena that have no self. And what are the two kinds of phenomena that have no self? Neither beings nor dharmas have a self.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
The Lankavatara Sutra
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Fundamental Principles

Let us investigate the fundamental principles of Dhamma, Natural Truth. I would like to discuss these essential points of Buddhism in the hope that a grasp of them will help you advance in your studies and training.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Fundamental Principles
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Discourses of Master Po Shan – Part 1

When working at Zen, the important thing is to generate the i ching (doubt sensation). What is this doubt sensation? For instance: Where did I come from before my birth, and where shall I go after my death?

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Discourses of Master Po Shan – Part 1
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Correct Practice

There are two kinds of Zen meditation: sitting practice, and, depending on circumstances, practicing samatha-vipasyana while doing other activities. The first way for those who desire to perfect samatha-vipasyana meditation is done while sitting.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Correct Practice
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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
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Practice of Meditation

Ultimately, all true learning is done on one’s own

The Daily Zen Teisho
The Daily Zen Teisho
Practice of Meditation
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