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Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp – 2021 Talks

by tendo zenji

The Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School
by Zen Master Torei Enji
with Commentary by Master Daibi of Unman
Translated by Yoko Okuda
Download pdf: here
Purchase: here

Previous Talks

Part 1: Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp – Talks July-Oct. 2020

Part 2: Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp – Talks Oct/Nov 2020

Part 3: Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp – Talks Dec 2020

2021 Talks

22 ) January 10th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo visit
Continued Chapter 1 – Lineage part 36-37 p. 88
The Middle Way between asceticism and hedonism is still pretty ascetic. How much deprivation is necessary? The text begins to really talk in a terms of these monks really going all out and becoming very harsh in their training.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 22

23 ) February 9th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo visit
Continued Chapter 1 – Lineage part 38 p. 91-93
Toyo Eicho
Chan took on various Confucian and Taoist elements that the Japanese stripped out leading to a more simplified practice while adding in their own Shinto aspects. There also is a tendency toward order leading to a lack of flexibility and rigidity. In the west we also stripped out things and added our own character. These Japanese patriarchs were all about increasing the harshness and sacrificing our bodies. Contrasted this to Chan teachers where there was decades of innovation.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 23


24) March 9th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo visit
Continued Chapter 1 – Lineage part 39 and 40  p. 93-95
Taiga Tankyo, Koho Genkun, Sensho Zuisho
Transmission in China and how Japan codified and shifted the system: more ceremonial, more bureaucratic, more rigid.  The skillful means of kindness v. the “samurai zen” style of Rinzai Zen.  Noted that while more kindness could be apropos there is one kinds that is not: giving people a pass, “helping” or “pushing” them through koans, not holding them to standards.  This decreases the fidelity of transmission and you won’t even have “half a dharma heir” much less a full one.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 24

25) March 16th, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 1
Continued Chapter 1 – Lineage part 40 and 41  p. 95-98
Ian Chisatsu, Tozen Soshin, Yozan Keiyo, Gudo Toshoku
What should our orientation toward lineage, teachers, patriarchs, schools, form, etc be? Tools to be used and let go of; be wary of attachments in these areas! Quoted Krishnamurti on Truth is a Pathless land and Dahui on attaching to the sayings of the patriarchs.  Reading from the text there was talk of fidelity in transmission and the issue of teachers giving Inka to those not up to mettle. Teachers skill-in-means and style and finally our debt and gratitude toward teachers.  Avoid attachments but be thankful for the effort they put toward our training. This is how we should understand the lineage.
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Truth is a Pathless Land
Jeffery Broughton, The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue,  p. 64-65
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 25

26) March 17th, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 2
Chapter 1 – Lineage part 42, 43  p. 98-104
Shido Bunan, Shoju Rojin, Hakuin Ekaku, Torei Enji
Completed the Japanese lineage through Hakuin. All Rinzai Zen descends from Hakuin.  In this talk discussed all-at-once awakening and gradual refinement. which comes up throughout Torei and Daibi’s comments. Also Zongmi’s grounding things in the sutra’s, the multiple branches of Linji Chan, the Gozan School in Japan and the other 20 some lineages that died out. Hakuin stories and elucidations of Daibi’s comments. Ended with Not-knowing. Torei says he doesn’t know what is transmitted and of course this is because there is nothing to transmit. Nothing essential can be conceptualized or explained and thus in the end our practice is one of not-knowing.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 26


27) March 18th, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 3
Chapter 1 – Lineage Questions and Answers, part 48-50  p. 104-106
Considered the lineages in terms of societal impacts on Indian Buddhism as it transmitted: Chan being Chinese Buddhism, Zen being Japanese Chan. Read a quote from Harada Roshi on “Dojos” which talked about that Zen training monasteries are super rigid and the Japanese society informs that. On the text reading from the Q&A portion of chapter 1.  The question was on awakening and various barriers too same. Considered intellectual barriers and how the Chan approach is non-intellectual. Read from Dahui on intellectual barriers and how to practice. Talked of Gazing practices and taking the backward step.
Harada Roshi, On Dojos
Jeffery Broughton, The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue,  p. 64-65
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 27

28) March 19th, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 4
Chapter 1 – Lineage Questions and Answers, part 50-55  p. 106-110
Discussed how Zen Students in their more advanced practice needed to learn the sutra material. Note how it tallies with Chan teachings. Read from Zongmi’s Chan Prologmenon to this affect.
Jeffery Broughton, Zongmi on Chan
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 28


29) March 20th, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 5
Chapter 1 – Mantra school, part 56-63  p. 110-116
The Exoteric and Esoteric: there is nothing hidden in Chan or the Sutra schools. Related story of my learning Zazen thinking there was some secret to it, to be revealed at a temple. Not so. Western understandings of esotericism are as revealed word, secretive magic texts that can reveal it all. The Buddhist esoteric school is the Shingon sect, concluding with a comparison of Zen and the sutra schools noting that Zen teachings are indirect with layers of meaning. 
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 29


30) March 21st, 2021
Vernal Equinox Retreat day 6
Chapter 1 – Mantra school, part 63-64  p. 116-120
Nagarjuna, Huayan and Zen as the true Buddha way inlcluding a long digression of the mythical story of Nagarjuna receiving the Huayan scriptures with a look at this metaphorically.  I related this to the Diamond Sutra where there is great density and a lot to unpack. Layers of meaning and reference.  Daibi then considers this in Zen terms and this gets at the All at Once Awakening followed by Gradual Practice. Seeing into emptiness and then into form.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 30

31) April 10th, 2021
April Weekend Intensive
Chapter  1 – Mantra school, part 65-66  p. 121-123
Considered Rinzai Zen practice as engaged with right now. Differences between the Zen approach and the Sutra schools approach.  The essential aspect of seeing into ones own nature and the post awakening work. Becoming attached to the joy of awakening. Danger of post awakening reassertion  of self. Thus the gradual training though koans. See the moon directly.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 31


32) April 13th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter  1 – Zen  v. Sutra Schools, part 67-72  p. 123-130
More on the differences between the sutra schools and Zen. Zen is the path of seeing it directly, for yourself. The sutra schools are more religious, more ritual oriented, more indirect, they describe the waters qualities where zen just tastes the water. However the myriad paths fit different minds and so are necessary as a way in for all people. Metaphors from Torei about how one can talk about something versus actually having that thing.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 32


33) May 12th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter  1 – Zen  v. Sutra Schools, part 73-77  p. 130-134
Uses several analogies to expound on Flexibility,  responding to circumstances. This is the only way to be able to serve the multitude of differing beings.  This is difficult and we are always practicing and improving. The source is within.  Torei returns to Sutra Schools noting that while students in the past would also study Zen, now they are just mired in sectarianism. The sutra schools become corrupt and  lay people are more interested in practice than the  ordained.  But Lay people easily put on airs and to quickly think they are beyond where they are at. Not so different today!
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 33


34) May 29th, 2021
May Weekend Intensive Chapter  1 – Zen  v. Sutra Schools, part 78-83  p. 134-138
Some monks in sutra schools realized the “direct pointing”  and would practice Zen. Not anymore. People put on airs and think too much of little insight. You have to really do it go all the way. And Rinzai in the Hakuin style is all about breaking yourself at the wheel to do so. End of Chapter 1
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 34


35) June 8th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 84
Talked about Faith and that Trust is usually a better word. Talked a bit about ‘Great Faith, Great Determination, Great Doubt’. Read through the first part and discussed primarily the found erroneous views. Ultimately these all come down to mistaking ones own view for reality.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 35


36) June 8th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 85-87
Text was a long discourse on chiliocosms and other more abstract symbolic things from the Huayan sutra. I related this to our experience of time our relationship with infinities and seeing into emptyness and form.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 36


37) August 10th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 88-89
Talked about the connection between repentance and working on our conditioning, including societal and unconscious conditioning. I talked about Trust, Determination of Great Fury and Great Doubt. Primarily about Trust and Determination which the text covered.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 37


38) October 12th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 90-92
Talk on Faith, the text finally introduced faith.  Some reference to Great Trust, Great Determination, Great Doubt. Talk of the Xin Xin Ming, the Inscription on Faith in Mind.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 38

39) November 9th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 93
Sutra of Complete Enlightenment. All things express buddhahood. Seeking outside oneself. Following ones own path versus doing ones own thing.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 39


40) November 9th, 2021
Water Moon Dojo Visit
Chapter 2 – Faith and Training part 94  p.151-154
Trust in the process. Great Trust, Great Determination, Great Doubt. Prison Barrier. Daibi goes through 10 areas of trust.
Download talk: Discourse Talk part 40

References

1) The Discourse on the Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School
by Zen Master Torei Enji with Commentary by Master Daibi of Unman
Translated by Yoko Okuda
Tuttle Publishing (September 15, 1996)
ISBN: 0804830878
Download: here Purchase: here

2) The Letters of Chan Master Dahui Pujue
translated by Jeffery Broughton
Oxford University Press, 2017
ISBN: 0190664169

3) Zongmi on Chan
Jeffery Broughton
Columbia University Press
ISBN-10: ‎ 0231143923

4) Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings
Andy Ferguson.Wisdom Publications. Expanded edition (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780861716173

5) Shattering the Great Doubt: the Chan Practice of Huatou
Ch’an Master Sheng YenShambhala, 2009
ASIN: B00C5KK738

6) The Chan Whip : A companion to Zen Practice
Jeffery L. Broughton with Elise Yoko Watanabe
Oxford University Press 2015 New York, NY
ISBN: 0190200723


Mountains and Waters 2022 (3)

by tendo zenji

Looking East from Cuthroat Pass in the North Cascades

On Climbing the Highest Peak of Stone Gate


At dawn with staff in hand I climbed the crags,
At dusk I made my camp among the mountains.
Only a few peaks rise as high as this house,
Facing the crags, it overlooks winding streams.
In front of its gates a vast forest stretches,
While boulders are heaped round its very steps.
Hemmed in by mountains, there seems no way out,
The track gets lost among the thick bamboos.
My visitors can never find their way,
And when they leave, forget the path they took.
The raging torrents rush on through the dusk,
The monkeys clamour shrilly through the night.
Deep in meditation, how can I part from Truth?
I cherish the Way and never will swerve from it.
My heart is one with the trees of late autumn,
My eyes delight in the buds of early spring.
I dwell with my constant companions and wait for my end,
Content to find peace through accepting the flux of things.
I only regret that there is no kindred soul,
To climb with me this ladder to the clouds in the blue.


–Xie Lingyun
Translated by J. D. Frodsham in Zen Poems (Everyman’s Library)

Mountains and Waters 2022 (2)

by tendo zenji

Looking west from Easy Pass in the North Cascades

AFTER CLIMBING PA-LING MOUNTAIN, IN THE WEST HALL AT WAI-YDAN MONASTERY: OFFERED TO A MONK BEYOND THIS WORLD ON HENG MOUNTAIN


There’s a sage monk on Heng Mountain,
the beauty of five peaks his true bones,

autumn moon alight in a sea of water
revealing his ten-thousand-mile heart.

A guardian gone into southern darkness,
pilgrims of the Way all visit him there,

sweet dew sprinkling down, a language
clear and cool gracing flesh and hair.

Bright lake a mirror of fallen heaven,
scented hail a gate into all this silver:

come for the view, I feed on kind winds,
new blossoms teaching mind this vast.

–Li Po
Translated by David Hinton in The Selected poems of Li Po

Mountains and Waters 2022 (1)

by tendo zenji

Thornton Lake from Trappers Peak in the North Cascades

Climbing Long-View Mountain’s Highest Peak

Rivers and mountains beyond the form seen:
Hsiang-yang’s beauty brings them in reach,

and Long-View has the highest peak around.
Somehow I’d never climbed its cragged heights,

its rocky cliffs like walls hacked and scraped
and towering over mountains crowded near,

but today, skies so bright and clear, I set out.
Soon the far end of sight’s all boundless away,

Cloud-Dream southlands a trifle in the palm,
Warrior Knoll lost in that realm of blossoms.

And back on my horse, riding home at dusk,
a vine-sifted moon keeps the stream lit deep.

–Meng Hao-Jan
translated by David Hinton in The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan

by tendo zenji

Waiting for Wine that Doesn’t Come

Jade winejars tied in blue silk….
What’s taking that wineseller so long?

Mountain flowers smiling, taunting me,
it’s the perfect time to sip some wine,

ladle it out beneath my east window
at dusk, wandering orioles back again.

Spring breezes and their drunken guest:
today we were meant for each other.

Li Po, translated by David Hinton in The Selected poems of Li Po

Imagine

by tendo zenji

We’re cast into this human form, and it’s such happiness. This human form knows change, but the ten thousand things are utterly boundless. Who could calculate the joys they promise?

And so the sage wanders where nothing is hidden and everything is preserved. The sage calls dying young a blessing and living long a blessing. We might make such person our teacher, but there’s something the ten thousand things belong to, something all change depends upon–imagine making that your teacher!

Chuang Tzu translated by David Hinton in Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters

The Hongzhou School: Huangbo

by tendo zenji

Linage

Dajian Huineng (Sixth Patriarch)
Nanyue Huairang
Mazu Daoyi
Baizhang Huaihai
Huangbo Xiyun

Huangbo was the teacher of Linji from whence the dominate Linji school formed.

Huangbo in the Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

HUANGBO XIYUN (d. 850) was the disciple of Baizhang and the teacher of Linji Yixuan. He came from ancient Fuzhou. As a youth, he entered a monastery on Mt. Huangbo in his home province. Later, he traveled to the district of Gao’an where he resided at Mt. Huangbo (Xiyun renamed the mountain after his old mountain home in Fuzhou). Huangbo also traveled and lived at Mt. Tiantai, as well as the capital city of Changan, where he received instruction from National Teacher Nanyang Huizhong. Huangbo’s physical appearance was striking. He had a large protruding forehead that was whimsically described as a “large pearl.” Regarded as a teacher with simple methods and few words, Huangbo embodied Mahayana Buddhism’s bodhisattva ideal by adhering to the vow to defer the fruit of enlightenment until all other beings can first enjoy it. A famous legend about Huangbo provides a metaphorical teaching on this vow. – Andy Ferguson. Zen’s Chinese Heritage (p. 133)

House Tune

Huangbo was taking his leave of Nanquan. Nanquan accompanied Huangbo to the monastery gate. Lifting up Huangbo’s hat, Nanquan said, “Elder, your physical size is not large, but isn’t your hat too small?” Huangbo said, “Although that’s true, still the entire universe can fit inside it.” Nanquan said, “Teacher Wang!” Huangbo then put on his hat and left.- Andy Ferguson. Zen’s Chinese Heritage (p. 135)

If a monk asked Huangbo, “Why did the First Ancestor come from the west?” Huangbo would hit him. Through these and other methods, his students realized the highest function. Those of middling or inferior ability have never understood the master’s greatness. Huangbo passed away in [the year 850] on the mountain where he lived and taught. He received the posthumous name “Zen Master Removing Limits.” – Andy Ferguson. Zen’s Chinese Heritage (p. 138)

Bibliography

I
Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings
Andy Ferguson.
Wisdom Publications. Expanded edition (February 22, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9780861716173

II
Classics of Buddhism and Zen, Volume 1: The Collected Translations of Thomas Cleary
Thomas Cleary
Shambhala (April 12, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1590302184

III
The Zen Teachings of Huang Po: On the Transmission of Mind
Join Blofed
Grove Press (January 18, 1994)
ISBN-10: 0802150926

IV
A Bird in Flight Leaves No Trace: The Zen Teaching of Huangbo with a Modern Commentary
Seon Master Subul
Wisdom Publications (April 30, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1614295301

V
Ordinary Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism
by Mario Poceski
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 13, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0195319966

Winter Retreat 2022 Instructional Talks

by tendo zenji

During the February 2022 Winter Retreat held at Tahoma Zen Monastery there was a series of morning instructional talks, primarily on the Dream Mountain practices. Links to the video of these talks are made available here in order that this instruction be accessible throughout the retreat. The links take you to a page where you can watch the video.

The 2022 edition of the Outside Practices text can be found here: Outside Practices

Day 1: February 14th, 2022

Topics Covered
Introduction to the Winter Retreat
Purpose of the Instructional Talks
Cultivating the Still Pool
Zoom Video Recording

Day 2: February 15th, 2022

Topics Covered
Ten Breath Relaxation Method
Focus
Openness
Kinhin
Zoom Video Recording

Day 3: February 16th, 2022

Topics Covered
Sesshin practices: Chanting/Samu/Meals
Physical Practice
Gazing
Outside Practices
Zoom Video Recording

Day 4: February 17th, 2022

Topics Covered
Equanimity
Letting Go
Zoom Video Recording

Day 5: February 18th, 2022

Topics Covered
Immediacy
(Online text of the Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta)
Zoom Video Recording

Day 6: February 19th, 2022

Topics Covered
Immediacy Followup
Naturalness
Flexibility
Questions
Zoom Video Recording

Day 7: February 20th, 2022

Topics Covered
Continuous Practice
Closing Remarks
Zoom Video Recording

The Buddha on Solitude

by tendo zenji

Ānanda, a monk does not shine if he delights in company, enjoys company, is committed to delighting in company; if he delights in a group, enjoys a group, rejoices in a group. Indeed, Ānanda, it is impossible that a monk who delights in company, enjoys company, is committed to delighting in company; who delights in a group, enjoys a group, rejoices in a group, will obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening. But it is possible that a monk who lives alone, withdrawn from the group, can expect to obtain at will—without difficulty, without trouble—the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening.

Shakyamuni Buddha from The Greater Discourse on Emptiness (Mahā Suññata Sutta)

on teachers

by tendo zenji

“If you follow the realized mind you’ve happened into, making it your teacher, how could you be without a teacher? You don’t need to understand the realm of change: when mind turns to itself, you’ve found your teacher. Even a numbskull has mind for a teacher. Not to realize yourself in mind, and to insist on yes this and no that—it’s like leaving for Yueh when you’ve already arrived there. It’s like believing that what isn’t is. What isn’t is—even that great sage-emperor Yu couldn’t understand such things, so how could someone like me?”

Chuang Tzu, translated by David Hinton in Chuang Tzu: The Inner Chapters