“This Day’s News”

Today the sun of our temple departs
And the small-eared one returns.
It is strange that I remembered that tall monk
As the shorter and younger of the two!
After four years he comes to us, aged and thin,
But older and wiser? Oh yes.
Let us become competent in quoting Dharma.
Let us embark on self-improvement
And the endless round of volunteerism
Until we are too tired to make distinctions.
Then we will bow before whoever comes before us
And put away those thoughts of true mind.
Rain did not arrive this morning,
But rain will come this evening or tonight
And dandelions bloom over the drought’s bald patches
Of the monastery lawns.

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Something New for the Links

A Complete Buddhist Sutra Collection
Well, this site begins with the jolly thought about the end of the kalpa and the return of Chaos. (We do know that this happens with just about everything, not just kalpas, don’t we?) Anyway, for the benefit of the completist, here are all the sutras…even the super long Avatamsaka Sutra, downloadable for your enjoyment.

Barbara O’Brian, About.Com, on Buddhism
I really want to recommend this highly accessible author. She has a whole series of articles here and taken all together they constitute a real Buddhist education for the Western layman. Like in the old Lay’s Potato Chip ad, betcha can’t read just one!

Shortly I’ll begin a retrospective on the 2015 Zen 7. (Of course, there’s the Scenarios essay, but maybe I have something a bit more realistic.)

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How could my friends be so, so wrong..?

The new ‘semester’ of Sutra A started yesterday, and due to an influx of new students from last year’s uncharacteristically huge and enthusiastic Level 3 class the rest of us* had to sit through the introductory lecture on sutra study, once again. Let’s see if I can sum it up for you without referring to the lecture recording: What is a sutra? How the Diamond Sutra was discovered. How important it is. That it is a Mahayana sutra, not a Theravada sutra. Who translated it into Chinese. Components of a sutra. Why each of these is important. How each of these relates to the Diamond Sutra. Finally, Q. & A.

Sound’s pretty okay…right? But not if you have to sit through it for the tenth time. Or probably even more times. And you have a head cold. And you are falling asleep at the table. And you’re dreaming every time you close your eyes by mistake.

So after class a friend says, ‘Susan, you look so much happier!’ And I, puzzled, think ‘Happier than what?’ Another chimes in ‘Yes, you do.’ And I just look at them–puzzled–and say ‘Sorry, you’re wrong. I have a cold and I’m dead tired and want to get home. And I just had to sit through that boring lecture yet again.’ So later, when rested up, I’m thinking, ‘What the hell was going on there? Why would they think I’m “happy” if all I wanted was for the hour to end and for me to get out of there as fast as possible?’ I looked in the mirror… Hair style? (I was rinsing it a slightly lighter color.) Clothing color? Retin-A application kicking in? (Yes, I did have that tight, smooth, almost pore-less appearance I get after about 2 weeks in.) I looked healthy! But I was sick! Didn’t they notice the nose blowing and repressed coughing?

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’ve been sick long enough. I’m going to do some outdoor work over at the monastery today. No more class for me until Saturday, and I don’t think I will attend the first lecture of Sutra B. Because…you figure it out.

*Shifu calls us the ‘old students’ (!!)

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2016 Blessing

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It’s that time again, boys & girls…

…time for Zen 7. I’m not so scared this time since I know about what to expect. Looking forward to total lack of talking & eye-contact with anyone for one solid week! Only possible problem: can’t fold that black robe. Well, I bet there will be a “class” or we’ll be able to see the instructional video. To sleep in a quiet room in 72 degree heat…such luxury. It means no stuffy nose at night. We sleep from 10:30 to 4:30, which is about my usual hour. And this time I remembered to bring my hair drier and a heavy coat & scarf. Will it rain? I have my umbrella!
I always wonder why participants torment their legs into full lotus for the whole time. Does that bring them closer to enlightenment? We’re on benches! You can put your legs down for a period or two. We’re in the USA!

P.S. This is interesting: my computer knows it’s Dec 24th, but WordPress seems to think it’s the 25th, so Merry Christmas to all!

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Merry Christmas to all!

Yes, I’m taking a day off Buddhism to share my favorite recipe. Watch out…you’ll be cutting hunks off it all day if you’re not mindful.

Christian Brothers Cake
(Bake in a Bundt pan.)

Preheat the oven to 350 deg.
One box of yellow or white cake mix
1 small box of Jello or Royal Instant Vanilla Pudding mix.
4 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 C cream sherry
3/4 C vegetable oil (Crisco or Wesson)

Whip it all up with a mixer. Bake for 45-50 min. until firm on top.
Turn out onto a plate. Sift powdered sugar over the top. Serve with coffee. Your guests will never know how easy this was to make.

….and to all a good night!

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In the Wake of Redecoration

I’m repainting a room in the house to match a newly purchased rug. In the process, I’m weeding our library of books no longer relevant to our lives and establishing some sort of order. True, I have an Amazon-book-addict in the other room, but…

Anyway, I came across a book of teishos by Eido Shimano, and reviewed what I had seen on the ‘net years ago. Shimano was a sex addict and psychopath, and he, Sherry Chayat and all his disciples were disqualified by his order as Zen teachers because of his repeated, unrepentant behavior. As a result, I’m removing the link to The Zen Studies Society (Chayat is Abbess there.) If you’re interested the ZSS you can find it easy enough, but I can’t link it on a site called Good Clean Zen. This letter might be of interest.

In my Books section I link A Rare and Precious Thing by John Kain. I highly recommend it. I have been blessed so many times over the years with extraordinary teachers, and I remember each of them with fondness.

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