Search Results for 'Zen'

If you have a glass full of liquid you can discourse forever on its qualities, discuss whether it is cold, warm, whether it is really and truly composed of H2O, or even mineral water, or sake. Meditation is drinking it!

~ Taisen Deshimaru

Link: Wikiquote

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Buddhism · Zen

 Religions remain what they are. Zen is meditation. Meditation is the foundation of every religion. People today feel an intense need to go back to the source of religious life, to the pure essence in the depths of themselves which they can discover only through actually experiencing it. They also need to be able to concentrate their minds in order to find the highest wisdom and freedom, which is spiritual in nature, in their efforts to deal with the influences of every description imposed upon them by their environment. Human wisdom alone is not enough, it is not complete. Only universal truth can provide the highest wisdom. Take away the word Zen and put Truth or Order of the Universe in its place.

~ Taisen Deshimaru

Link: Wikiquote

Category: Quotations

Tradition: Buddhism

· meditation · Buddhism · Zen · truth · wisdom

Haiku writing

The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry which evolved out of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Traditional Japanese haiku have 17 syllables, but it has been suggested that English haiku should have more syllables, because English is a more long-winded language than Japanese, and you can pack a lot more concepts into 17 Japanese syllables than you can into 17 English syllables.

However, I tend to stick to the 17 syllable structure, divided into 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haiku also traditionally include a kireji, a ‘cutting word’. The cutting word divides the poem into two contrasting sections with imagery that adds a surprising twist or contrast to each other. It’s difficult to find ‘cutting words’ in English, so haiku writers in English use a dash to separate the two sections of the poem.

Haiku are essentially poems about Nature, so Japanese haiku also have a season word, to indicate in what season the action of the poem takes place. The season word does not have to be the name of the season; it can be something that is obviously associated with that season – for example, plum blossom would indicate that the poem was describing spring. The imagery of a haiku is simple and unpretentious, and generally does not use similes to achieve its effects. The natural phenomena described may very well be metaphors for something else, but the haiku may also be enjoyed for the images of natural beauty, and the human response to it, that it conjures up.

Haiku poets would often gather together to compose haiku on the spot. One poet would begin, and then another poet would respond with a haiku of their own, and in this way a series of linked haiku (known as haikai-renga) would be composed by the group.

Sometimes haiku would be combined with travel writing or other prose. The most famous example of this form is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Matsuo Basho, which describes Basho’s travels to the far north of Japan. The combined haiku and prose form is known as haibun.

Writing haiku teaches one to strip things back to the bare essentials, to distil experience into its pure form, and to observe Nature closely. It is a very satisfying process, because haiku are so short, and so complete in themselves.

 

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Buddhism

· Buddhist · everyday spirituality · haiku · Matsuo Basho · mindfulness · poetry · spiritual practices · Zen

What is flapping?

Four monks were meditating in a monastery. All of a sudden the prayer flag on the roof started flapping.

The younger monk came out of his meditation and said: "Flag is flapping."

A more experienced monk said: "Wind is flapping."

A third monk who had been there for more than 20 years said: "Mind is flapping."

The fourth monk, who was the eldest, said: "Mouths are flapping!"  

Link: FreeSangha Buddhist Forum

Category: Spirituality humour

Tradition: Buddhism

· humour · spirituality · Buddhism · meditation · Zen

What happens after death?

Student: What happens after death?
Master: I don’t know.
Student: How can you not know? You are a Zen master.
Master: Yes, but I’m not a dead one. 

Link: Sujato's blog

Category: Spirituality humour

Tradition: Buddhism

· humour · spirituality · Buddhism · Zen · death

Alan Watts - How We Define Ourselves

by Alan Watts

Link: YouTube

Category: Videos

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· Alan Watts · Zen · awareness · self-definition

Alan Watts - Conversation With Myself

by Alan Watts

Link: YouTube

Category: Videos

Tradition: Eclectic spirituality

· Alan Watts · Zen · awareness

A nice cup of tea and a sit down

The Japanese tea ceremony is the ultimate form of this spiritual practice; in it each movement is choreographed, and the tea is prepared and served mindfully and gracefully. The ritual has deep meaning and resonance for the participants.

However, the preparation and drinking of tea has a restorative effect on many people. The fragrance of the tea, the effect of drinking it, and the relaxation of sitting and being focused on the pleasure of tea, is all good for you. Its even better if it is accompanied by conversation with a friend.

The title of this article is taken from the excellent website entitled "A nice cup of tea and a sit down" which extols the pleasures of this activity, or should I say inactivity?

Details on the Japanese Tea Ceremony can be viewed here

by Yvonne Aburrow

Link: UK Spirituality blog

Category: Spiritual practices

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· a nice cup of tea and a sit down · Buddhist · everyday spirituality · mindfulness · spiritual practices · tea ceremony · Zen ·