As we step into a new training period, Shugen Roshi reflects on “Manifesting Buddha,” the theme for this ango. He also talks about the work of confronting oppression, particularly the subtle kinds that we inflict upon those different from ourselves. This work is none other than the spiritual development of all buddhas and ancestors who sought to clarify their karma of negative emotions, self-grasping, and delusion.
A note about the below video: apologies for the low quality image at the start. It improves over the course of the talk.
In the case, four of Bodhidharma’s disciples express their understanding in their own ways, and each answer contains the teacher’s whole being. All perspectives necessary, and none superior nor inferior, this talk earnestly invites us to consider the case as related to the time and place of Bodhidharma’s teaching and successors, as well our own. Aspiring toward an enlightened society that extends beyond these lives in which we find ourselves currently practicing, how will we manifest Buddha, now and into the future?
What is giving? What is stealing? Within Buddhism there are many ways to understand this. Literally, on its face; with an openness, acknowledging that when rules are rigid they can result in less compassion than if the rules are not adhered to; and further, with respect to time, place, person and position.
In this question and answer teaching, the sangha and Shugen Roshi explore, together, what this precept is, its many meanings, and the sometimes complicated ways in which we can apply it and it affects our lives.
*Note: We experienced Technical Audio difficulties with this talk. There are some sections of the audio which we were unable to repair around 37:00-39:30, and 48:30. The second problem section included a lost question.
Exploring Yunmen’s reply to a monk in the case, “You’ve missed it,” what is the transcendent use of speech, and how does it open us to practicing what is real and what is true? Wishing for the gladness of all, how do we truly begin such a goal by working with ourself? Accepting that it is not easy, how can our lives become truly Alive?
*Note: We experienced Technical Audio difficulties with this talk. On 2/5 we replaced the audio file with an improvement. If you downloaded the old audio, you may wish to re-download this one. The audio gets better 5 minutes into this talk.
Seeking to be free of hiddenness, attachments, and partiality, Shugen Roshi inquires into this koan conversation as an example of how all aspects that feed into the student teacher relationship contribute to liberation. How do we encounter situations without getting stuck? How does living life as the larger body offer freedom, and also allow for beneficial use of those sense perceptions which previously perpetuated samsara?
How do we eliminate distance in understanding the basis of what is true? This case’s exchange between Liu Tiemo (Iron Gridstone) and her teacher Kuei Shan (Chinese pronunciation) offers insight into resting in Self-nature, empty and undivided.
Expounding the opening of Master Dogen’s Fukanzazengi, this talk encourages our trust in experience as practitioners of each moment, as it is — itself a manifestation of Buddha nature pervading the whole universe, existing here and now.
The student in this koan asks, “Do people these days need Enlightenment or not?” Working from the Book of Serenity and other texts, Shugen Roshi deeply investigates the many facets of this question. A true path, he says, acknowledges the painful reality of suffering but remains grounded in an unshakeable faith in the basic wholeness of every person.
Is there Buddhadharma in the new year? How could it be any different in the new year? Reflecting on the recent passing of his 91-year-old mother, Shugen Roshi speaks on how we prepare ourselves for transitions and what we can rely upon at moments of great change.
Because the self does not exclude anything, it’s boundless – this is non-greed. Based in this we can bring forth more naturally loving words and beneficial actions. By taking up this practice we begin to directly experience self and other merging and falling away.
Buddhism teaches that living a human life is both fragile and extremely powerful. What are the practices we, as aspiring bodhisattvas, can use to guide ourselves through this precious life? In the first of two talks by Shugen Roshi on Shantideva’s Four Methods of Guidance, he takes up generous giving and loving speech: practices of gentle attention to ourselves and others which have the power to transform our lives.
Until the end of his life, the Buddha continued to encounter Mara, the insidious voice which tries to undermine the faith of the practitioner. Here, Shugen Roshi speaks of the need to continually meet Mara’s voice with tenderness and courage, emphasizing that no length of practice or depth of realization silences Mara – nor should it.
In this talk, given following our annual vigil to celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment, Shugen Roshi evokes the Shakyamuni’s profound humanity and exceptional faith, emphasizing that we show our reverence for the Buddha and his teachings by actualizing them in our own place and time, our own bodies and minds.
Particularly during the holiday season, the virtue of generosity is frequently and casually invoked. But how do we actually practice true giving and true receiving? Shugen Roshi describes giving in harmony with receiving, not looking for something in return – a generosity which is deeply authentic even when only great effort can bring it forth.
In this talk, Shugen Roshi takes up the lines central to our Ango study of Buddha ancestors: “I am like this. You are like this. All the ancestors in India were like this.” Through the lens of Master Dongshan’s Five Ranks, he speaks of the importance of practicing, actualizing and transmitting that which is always present and cannot be taught.
“Concentration nurtured with virtue is of great fruit, great reward. Discernment nurtured with concentration is of great fruit, great reward. The mind nurtured with discernment is rightly released.” In this talk from November’s Shuso Hossen Sesshin, Shugen Roshi delves into this simple yet profound teaching from the Pali Canon. Ethical action, meditation and insight rely on and support each other, he notes, forming a unified path which can address the many aspects of our humanity.