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Seeing absolute equality and appreciating the differences

In the beginning of our practice we may have a glimpse of absolute equality.  Dai-kensho is when we truly realize that there is nothing to realize.  This is the true realization of absolute equality, that there’s no one higher or below us, and we’re not greater or lesser than anybody else.  That’s very important, because otherwise we keep elevating others and making others into some kind of god-like creature, guru,…

Looking for one’s true self and being true to one’s self

[Excerpted from a video conference, January 10, 2021]  We have this saying in Zen, ‘to find, or discover, our true self.’ Lately, for the last year or two, I’ve been saying it’s not so much about finding our true self as being true to our self. To me that’s authenticity, that’s integrity, that’s honesty, that’s truthfulness.  And to be true to the situation — and I know I have not…

How do you stop suffering?

[By Genpo Roshi, excerpted from a live video conference, November 22, 2020]

 . . . If there’s a koan — “How do you stop suffering?” — of course many of us can pass the koan, we just be suffering.  That’s passing it, but between that and doing it completely, it’s the difference between a kensho and dai-kensho.  You know, I sometimes feel the only thing that’s going to take care of this for many people is dai-kensho.  And I come back to our roots, which is what the great masters say.  There’s all this fiddling around with the leaves and the branches of the tree, but until we get to the root of the problem — uprooting, that is the dai-kensho, the great opening — until we do that we’re just going to keep fiddling around with the branches and the leaves.

 Sometimes it feels almost like — too much.  Because I know what it takes to have dai-kensho. . . .

Speaking with the Tao

[Genpo Roshi has been speaking about the importance of taking good care of one’s health and physical well-being] Student: That’s great advice, because sometimes I’ve learned that the body is not you; it’s just a vehicle, so why pay so much attention to it? Genpo Roshi: I would just change one word: it’s not just a vehicle; it is the vehicle. It’s not just a vehicle. It’s the only vehicle…

On Idealizing and Being Disappointed in a Teacher

(Genpo Roshi recorded during the “Masters & Mensches II” Retreat, August 4, 2020)      Let me say something about what you brought up, about idealizing, because I do feel it is something we work through. We do do that, we project on our teachers a certain greatness and a certain way of being, and when they don’t live up to that of course we’re disappointed. Now how we take,…

Koryu Roshi, Koans, and Being One with Our Life

(Genpo Roshi recorded during the “Masters & Mensches” Retreat, June 9, 2020) I think it is really important that we realize we are a part of a lineage. I don’t really know or understand how it all works. I don’t think anybody does, but there’s something very real, and you hear it. You heard it in Genno Roshi’s comments; you hear it in others, like Chris sensei’s comment. There’s something…

Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo

Renowned Colombian guitarist/music producer and longtime student of Genpo Roshi, Santiago Jimenez, has created a unique rendition of Roshi’s chanting the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.Learn more Load video Always unblock YouTube

The Middle Way is not a fine line

The way I look at it is, we talk about the Middle Way or the Middle Path, right? And I think for years I saw and thought the Middle Way was a fine line between ‘this’ and ‘that.’ And at some point I realized, no that’s too narrow. The Middle Way is everything between ‘this’ and ‘that.’ I mean you embrace ‘this’ and you embrace ‘that’ completely, and then when…

Suffering … and Joy

One of the things that I think is so obvious, though it seems we miss it growing up, is that basically everything we do and every decision we’ve made is to protect ourself from pain. We distance ourself from pain, and this creates suffering for ourself and also for others. Seeking to protect ourself, we imprison ourself in painful conditions, all to avoid our pain, to avoid being our pain. This is the cause of suffering.

 

Our suffering is not caused by pain itself; it’s caused by our trying to avoid or escape from pain. That’s where the suffering comes into effect. So what Buddhism teaches is the cause of suffering is our self. We form this ego-self, this façade, in order to protect our self from our pain. What Zen says is, you don’t have to go through all these steps, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and so on; you can do it all suddenly, at one time. Be one, be one with your pain….

 

         Excerpt from a Workshop, August 2019

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