Limitless – Kusen collaboration

John Fraser’s Kusen No. 197 “A teacher and his student were standing by the shore. In the distance was a boat. The teacher said to the student ‘forgetting about your mind for the moment, point to the boat’. The student pointed to the boat. The teacher then said ‘forgetting about the boat for the moment, …

Reworking Dogen’s white mountain poem from Sanshodoei

From the Sanshodoei poems, I have been working on the English translations with John Fraser – 我庵は こしのしらやま 冬ごもり 凍もゆきも くもかかりけり waga iho wa koshi no shirayama fuyugomori kouri mo yuki mo kumo kakari keri my hut in the white mountain of Koshi enclosed in winter’s ice and snow wrapped in cloud Eihei Dogen

Waves breaking through light – Kusen collaboration

John Fraser’s Kusen Master Dogen’s poem ‘Zazen Practice’: The moon mirroredBy a mind freeOf all distractions;Even the waves, breaking,Are reflecting its light We have a primitive idea what a symbol is. Usually, we think it’s like a code. So, in this case, ‘Moon’ will mean ‘Enlightenment’, or ‘Buddha Mind’, something like that. But a symbol …

Windswept Carn an Tuirc and Glas Maol

waga iho wakoshi no shirayamafuyugomorikouri mo yuki mokumo kakari keri my Koshiwhite mountaincozy winter denice and snowoverlaid by clouds Eihei Dogen The voice of the valley is endlessly preaching.The colour of the mountain is nothing but pure body.During the night, I heard eighty-four thousand verses.How shall I expound this to others? Su Dongpo, composed when …

Smeared Across Time – Kusen Collaboration with John Fraser

John’s Kusen Poetry Dogen’s ‘Everyday Life’ [adapted] On Unseen MountainA scarecrow isNot in vain Commentary: The scarecrow standing over a small rice paddy would often be dressed in black, like a monk. He protects that which feeds all beings. So, Dogen is talking about the practitioner and the dharma, and the relationship between them. Because …

Space, Earth and Sky – Kusen collaboration with John Fraser

John’s Kusen We can talk of our practice and life in terms of form and emptiness, or delusion and enlightenment. We can also talk of both in terms of ground and space, earth and sky, heaven and earth. In Inmo, Dogen comments on the phrase “Those that fall to the ground get up relying on …

Mountain Still Still – Kusen collaboration with John Fraser

John’s Kusen We are told that we should sit like a mountain. Zazen is described as the still-still state, the mountain – still state. The mountain is the ground made visible. Just because the mountain endures and accepts everything, we cannot say it has no feeling. Because it is the ground made visible, it is …

Myriad – Kusen collaboration with John Fraser

John’s Kusen A principal way in which we maintain ourselves in delusion is imagining that our life and practice should be something other than it is. We locate delusion in the wrong place. We imagine that our transient thoughts and emotions are obstacles, and if somehow we got rid of them, we wouldn’t be deluded …

A million fragments unfragmented – Zen Master Dogen’s mirror koan

Koan from The Shinji Shobogenzo, Book 3, Case 19When Master Kyozan Ejaku was master of Tohei Temple, Master Isan Reiyu sent him a letter along with a mirror. The package arrived at the temple and Master Kyozan took it with him to the Lecture Hall, held up the mirror and said to his assembly: Students, …