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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Expand enlightenment, and the mind is always calm; go along with things, and consciousness runs at a gallop.
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.
What then is this transparent jewel whose breadth, height, and depth are without limit, within which the past, the present, and the future transpire?
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.
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.
One who comprehends the mind that is the source of all dharmas always understands everything.
A passage about gardens and how they can connect us with our practice
Fearing the swift passage of sunlight, practice the Way as though saving your head from fire.
Whether deep in the mountain valleys or in the bustling villages and towns, they never turned their back on being mindful for an instant.
Sincere and rigorous practice lets us calm both body and mind, which in turn allows us, day by day, to reduce our karmic obstructions.
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 feeling of opening one’s hand is a manifestation of non attachment.
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.
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.
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?
Such simplicity and clarity breaks through our tendency to complicate practice, something we all have done and still do at times.
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.
Zen is discipline in enlightenment. Enlightenment means emancipation. And emancipation is no less than freedom.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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?”
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?
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?”
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
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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!”
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 Bodhisattva Mahamati asked the Buddha to teach him the way of practice of the sages and those who follow the way of the One Vehicle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.
Ultimately, all true learning is done on one’s own