Showing posts from September, 2017

The Dharma of Pie

Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice. Some say the essence of Zen practice is awakening. Some say Zen and tea are one. But I, I think the project of Zen is pie-making.

Tomorrow we are having the first proto-board meeting for the bizarre, implausible, wondrous Zen temple thing James Ford and company and I are dreaming up. It will be followed by a precept renewal ceremony and potluck. Because one of my husband's favorite foods is pie, I decided to make pie for the potluck. After struggling to make pie crust, I have determined that the essence of Zen is pie. These are the reasons.

1) Pie is transmitted from pie master to pie master

From generation to generation, women have transmitted the wondrous, unfathomable, ineffable dharma of pie. If women did not arise in the world, there would be no pie. This is the marvelous truth of pie.

2) Pie is a tradition beyond words and phrases

The Great Way of pie crust is wondrous, subtle, and cannot be conceived through the mind. I ha…

Like Water, Like Air (by Aoyama Roshi)

I just remembered that I have this translated essay sitting around on my computer. A Japanese nun at Nisodo translated this and I helped edit and make it sound more like English. Aoyama Roshi wrote many short essays like this, for general readers. It sounds almost like poetry.

Like Water, Like Air:Practicing with “No Self” By Aoyama Shundo Roshi

Part 1: Respect Other People’s “Ice” as Buddha
All through the rocks, through the roots of trees Water comes pouring down Smoothly, without complaining -Kai Kazuko
I wish I were like water, or like air, and I often say this to my disciples. However, I know I’m still far away from realizing this wish. The most important thing in Zen practice is to practice “no self.” Dogen Zenji has told us, “Even if you sit zazen until the floor breaks, if your zazen is from the ego then all your effort will be in vain.” I’d like to use the following metaphor of water and ice. Water and ice are the same material, but ice is solid, and if water freezes in a cup you …

Trust No One

This week was hugely disappointing. A meditation teacher I've admired for nearly a decade came tumbling down off the pedestal I'd put him on. I raged. I cried. And as I tried to stop being so upset about it I kept saying to myself, "Why did I let this happen again?" I have a habit of admiring Buddhist teachers, and expecting that they will be better than average humans at interpersonal relationships. Then I inevitably realize they are human beings, and thus prone to human failings.

Really I was angry that I had "let" myself trust someone. It's a very stupid thing to trust.

And yet we need to trust. We need to trust that the floorboards will not fall out from underneath us, that our lungs will keep working, that people will obey traffic laws, that our stomach will digest food, that our partners will not leave us, that the water from the tap is clean enough to drink. If we didn't have trust we would be in constant panic and suspicion.

Pure Land Buddh…