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English

No More Fighting

Master gave an intriguing lecture today, which I will try to summarize. We are always getting into never-ending fights with the people close to us, because we keep trying to defend ourselves or fight back. We don't realize we are stuck in an endless negative karma cycle. We should be unmoved by our surroundings, and take the punches others give or let it pass by us like wind blowing across our face. We owe them so we are paying our debts.We should be glad to return the debt, and not try and owe them more by fighting back. When things…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Four Star Day

Encounters with certain people, for example, may tend to trigger confrontational interactions. While we can easily justify our dislike of another person, the real question worth asking is why does this person manifest in our reality in the first place? From Just Use This Mind As enlightened as I'd like to be, I have some habits that are harder to let go of than others. Take my morning routine: Wake up, let dogs out, make tea, read a few comics--Pearls Before Swine, Dilbert, Baby Blues--and my horoscope. How many stars are projected for the day? If there are four or…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Zen Music

Hello, everyone. I have just returned from a brief visit to Vairocana Zen Monastery and my friend, Venerable Master Miao Tsan. Like each visit before it, this was an important step in my learning process, and like certain visits it was a bit emotional. I attribute that to the confluence of memory and the present moment, or a meeting of the past and the future. Now, you might say there is no past and no future; you'll say there is only the present. That is true, but one must identify the past and future--look at them directly, and call them by…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Gifts from the East

Open your mind completely to the present  moment. The past is no longer the reality, but the reality is instead this present moment. Only the manifestation in the present moment is tangible. From Just Use This Mind My high school daughter questions everything. She considers my ideas and guidance dubious, outdated at best. Although falling off the authority pedestal hasn't been a comfortable journey for me, it's a healthy one for her, and I do enjoy watching her have revelations that she could have gotten from my experience, if only she would have asked. Reinventing the wheel--and improving it--is a necessary…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Looking Forward

Happy New Year! A new year is like a new chapter in life. It marks a time to reflect and abandon old habits, and start anew. People always seem to have this mentality: "I am looking forward to the New Year or I am looking forward to this or that."  On the surface this mentality implies optimism and a positive outlook. However on a subtler level, this mentality hints at dis-satisfaction with the present and hope for a better future. Why can't we be happy right now? Why delay happiness for later? The future is unattainable; the present is completely…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Dewy Grass

An eternity shrouded in darkness, fearless and unmoving Dawn breaks, rays of light cascade warmly over a sea of green Harsh freeze receding, blades of grass rise resiliently Rewarded, each tip of grass is crowned with a bead of dew A bright pearl on the forehead Where is your pearl? Without braving the bitter cold winter, you will never find it Strive on. Strive on. Look Within. Look Within. Who am I? Just a blade of grass Spring is almost here A time for new beginnings
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

To Be Like Water

Lao Zu, an ancient Chinese philosopher once stated thus: "the greatest good is to be like water." This saying I have found most helpful in everyday life and in Zen practice.   We are almost completely composed of water, so why shouldn't we be more like water?   When water is moving it is swift, life-giving, smooth, persevering, flexible, forceful, cleansing, etc.   To be like water in motion I try to envision being a narrow river continually winding its way to the wide ocean, carving deep valleys and canyons slowly but surely, flowing around impasses, and forcefully cutting through…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

There is No I

As a followup to the "Real I" post a couple days a go, I've been trying to figure out how to put it into practice in daily life. To understand in theory is one thing; to put it into practice is much more life changing. And so, lately I have been contemplating this gong'an "There is no I." It is very powerful practice! Whenever my mind starts giving arise to opinions, likes or dislikes, feelings and emotions, I just simply hold this one thought: "There is no I." This one thought is able to cut off all other thoughts based on…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

It’s all just a Dream

I had a dream recently where I suddenly became very conscious and aware that I was in fact dreaming, and yet the dream kept going. Since I was conscious I was able to examine closely the dream world I was stuck in. What struck me most was that everything about this dream world seemed so real, even when I was trying to see through the illusion. The detail of the dream world was amazing and so vivid, just like this "real" world. Thus, I had a little insight into "everything arises from mind alone." Our mind can indeed manifest everything,…
dcarter
July 11, 2019
English

Trees Don’t Suffer

You inevitably make your own suffering. No one can make you suffer. A little bit of erroneous thinking leads to a little bit of suffering. Too much thinking leads to too much suffering. When will it ever end? Perhaps when there is no thinking, no self. Just be calm, be stable, be pure. Like a mighty, unmovable tree. Let all your suffering float away like autumn leaves Then you will experience the beginning of the end.
dcarter
July 11, 2019