The Zen teacher says, “The secret is in you.  You are the secret.” What does it mean? The truth offered in these two short sentences is cryptic, and almost tautological. The meaning of my search for truth is in me. If I have found myself, the secret is gone, because I have realized that it was in me all along. […]

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In his book, , written 1961, Thomas Merton describes the nature and essence of Zen, mostly in the first chapter. He also examines various Christian monastic traditions in order to show us the similarities and differences in the search for mystical experience across cultures and religions. The following comments, based on quotes from his book, illustrate that he […]

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Tomas Merton writes in the foreword to his book [amazon text=Zen and the Birds of Appetite&asin=081120104X], 1968, shortly before his own death: “Where there is carrion lying, meat-eating birds circle and descend. Life and death are two. The living attack the dead. to their own profit. The dead lose nothing by it. They gain too, by […]

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Even when confronted with poor ingredients, there is no negligence whatsoever; even when faced with scanty ingredients, one exerts oneself. Do not change your mind in accordance with things. Whoever changes his mind in accordance with things, or revises his words to suit the person [he is speaking to], is not a man of the way. That you still do not grasp the certainty of this principle is because your thinking scatters, like wild horses, and your emotions run wild, like monkeys in a forest.

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Dogen (1200-1253) is the founder of Soto Zen. He was a Japanese Zen monk and teacher, and he received his training in China from Rujing. The Life and Thought of Dogen (quoted from Prof. Masunaga: “Soto Approach to Zen,”  p. 203-214) “It was Dogen  who first brought Soto Zen to Japan. Keizan (1268-1325) made possible […]

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By Eihei Dogen Written in mid-autumn, 1233 Translated by Kosen Nishiyama and John Stevens (1975). When all things are the Buddha-dharma, there is enlightenment, illusion, practice, life, death, Buddhas, and sentient beings. When all things are seen not to have any substance, there is no illusion or enlightenment, no Buddhas or sentient beings, no birth, […]

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