Monthly Archives: January 2019

Muho’s talk on Dogen’s Gyoji chapter, January 31st 2019

Gudo Nishijima’s translation can be found here (scroll down to [225]):

Japanese original:

Antaiji on this day in 2011:

Eko’s talk on Sawaki Kodo’s “To you…”, January 29th 2019

16. To you who are impressed by scientific and cultural progress

We mustn’t forget that today’s science and culture have only developed out of the lowest levels of consciousness.
Everybody is talking about culture, but what is it besides a refinement of our illusions?
However much we iron out our drives, from a Buddhist standpoint, it’s got nothing to do with progress or civilization.
Everyone is talking these days about progress, but I wonder in which direction we’re actually progressing.
Everybody is talking about culture, but what kind of culture is it really? Lewd music, erotic dancing, pornographic literature – completely barbaric.
We stir up our own illusions and then complain about today’s youth and ask, “Who’s responsible for education these days?”
Faith means clarity and purity. It means settling down.
Everyone is talking about art, but what is it really? Men and women glued to each other. What is it besides stimulation for our sexual desires?
No animal is as dishonest as a human being. Humans eat their party snacks and dance in a circle; they do scientific research and drop hydrogen bombs on each other.
When you observe insects in a tank, you see how they bite into each other and hold on with all their might. It must be amusing to observe from another corner of the universe how humans stock up on atomic and hydrogen bombs.
Acting clever while at the same time being the biggest idiots – that’s human fate.
People love it when things are complicated. Though things are complicated enough – even when we try to keep them as simple as possible – there are still some who make an effort to be especially complicated in everything […]

Tenkyo’s talk on Sawaki Kodo’s “To you…”, January 28th 2019

9. To you who would like to slap your boss with a letter of resignation

As a human being, you can walk freely in any direction you choose.
As a human being, whatever you do, you should do it in a way that can’t be repeated a second time. What can be repeated is best left to the robots.
Life doesn’t run on tracks.
Birds don’t sing in major or minor. Bodhidharma’s teaching doesn’t fit on lined paper.
The buddha-dharma is wide and unlimited. When you try to hold it still, you’ve missed it. It isn’t dried cod, but a live fish. Living fish have no fixed form.
In the soldier’s handbook it says that in war you must be prepared for a thousand different possibilities. That doesn’t just go for war – there’s no rule book for life either. When you try to live your life according to a manual, you’re sure to fail.
For a court case as well, it goes without saying that you have to be on your guard when everything runs according to the book.
The wild geese leave no traces,
yet no matter where they fly, they never lose their way.

There are no footprints on the way of the bird. It’s not the same as a steam engine that runs on tracks or an ox’s well-worn path.
Don’t we live life from moment to moment? How could we possibly take life, analyze it, systematize it and file it away?
The sad thing about people is that they can’t stray even a single step away from their habits.
Those who do things according to the book are failures.
We constantly let ourselves be distracted by details, and […]

John’s talk on Sawaki Kodo’s “To you…”, January 27th 2019

1. To you who can’t stop worrying about how others see you

You can’t even trade a single fart with the next guy. Each and every one of us has to live out his own life. Don’t waste time thinking about who’s most talented.
The eyes don’t say, “Sure we’re lower, but we see more.”
The eyebrows don’t reply, “Sure we don’t see anything, but we are higher up.”
Living out the buddha-dharma means fulfilling your function completely without knowing that you’re doing it. A mountain doesn’t know it’s tall. The sea doesn’t know it’s wide and deep. Each and every thing in the universe is active without knowing it.
The bird’s singing and the flower’s laughter appear naturally,
completely independent from the person sitting in zazen at the foot of the cliff.

The bird doesn’t sing in honor of the person in zazen. The flower doesn’t blossom to amaze the person with her beauty. In exactly the same way, the person doesn’t sit in zazen in order to get satori. Every single being simply realizes the self, through the self, for the self.
Religion means living your own life, completely fresh and new, without being taken in by anyone.
Hey! What are you looking at? Don’t you see that it’s about you?
The asshole doesn’t need to be ashamed of being the asshole. The feet don’t have any reason to go on strike just because they’re only feet. The head isn’t the most important of all, and the navel doesn’t need to imagine he’s the father of all things.
It’s strange though that people look at the prime minister as an especially important person. The nose can’t replace the eyes, and the mouth can’t replace […]

Fabian’s talk on Sawaki Kodo’s “To you…”, January 26th 2019

29. To you who are pleased when someone compliments the depth of your faith

Many confuse faith with a type of intoxication. There’s a type of intoxication similar to awe that’s nothing but delusion. Faith means, however, just the opposite – complete sobriety from any form of intoxication.
When most people in the world talk about the mind of faith, they don’t think it’s anything more than kissing Buddha’s ass.
“Do what you like with the others, but at least give me a first-class ticket to paradise!” Prayers like that have got nothing to do with the mind of faith.
Faith means clarity and purity. Mind means the single mind that encompasses the three worlds. So having faith means clarifying and purifying the one mind of the three worlds. The mind of faith means truly becoming clear about your own mind.
Faith means being clear and pure. It means being at ease. But some people get confused about this as well and think faith is about getting worked up, so they try with all their might to do so. Until they realize that it’s not so easy to get truly worked-up. Then they just act as if they were.
In old times, people were swept up in awe when they heard that Amithaba Buddha would come to them in their last hour to pick them up. That!s the same as being misled by a fox.
Everyone wants to go to paradise, but have you ever really seen it? If you think you have, you must have been mistaken.
There are people who want to live as long as possible. Any religion that offers this will do. What they have to believe in doesn’t matter at all. […]

Around the hall, January 16th 2019

Around the hall, January 16th 2019

Zen for Nothing, U.S.A.

ZEN FOR NOTHING is directed by Werner Penzel and is a Zeitgeist Films release in association with Kino Lorber. It will open in theaters in early 2019. To book this film please contact Nancy Gerstman or Emily Russo or call 212-274-1989.