a zen buddhist monk's blog about things almost zen and telling it the way it is - zen or not (yet)

November 30, 2009

Leaves fall - that's natural!

So the leaves are falling! Well they usually do around this time of year but THIS year they have hung on longer than usual. The weather has been unseasonably mild and the life-force even stronger than usual. The inevitable is inevitable but that doesn't stop us from hanging on like "grim death" - what an unusual saying; life hanging on like death!

Oh! how we hang on to things, any "thing"; possesions, feelings, fears even! Yes, even our fear of something must remain "ours"; it's our fear of flying or of small places, or of maybe having an attack of fear about being affraid! Hanging on somehow makes us comfortable, even if that means feeling comfortable about being uncomfortable! As long as we can identify these feelings as being "ours", we are OK.

Our ability to hang onto life no matter what; our desire to continue to live against all odds like the trees around me now, is why we are the dominent animal on this watery planet, but...

Couldn't we do things a little differently comme mème? Couldn't we learn to let go of some things? Do we really need to hang on to anger, greed, jealousy, and our ignorance of how our neighbour feels or in what they believe?

"Difficult", you say, "that's how we're made", you repeat like a mantra (hanging on to our platitudes). Well, NO, that's not how we're made but I believe for most of us that it is difficult. However, we must try to return to how we WERE made; return to our original self; our original nature without predjudice and with just enough fear to keep us safe from any "real" dangers and not those we create in our heads! Sometimes our leaves need to fall, it's natural and after all, they're not really ours anyway, but simply lent to us for a while. Hanging on to stuff just increases our fears; fears that things are changing, and, we don't like that! But nothing is more natural, nothing is more "true" than that everything changes - stop hanging on!

- seiun hosei joza

November 01, 2009


I've just has one of those days when you say; "you wouldn't believe the day I've had!" - and you wouldn't, trust me. So bad I'm not even going to bore you with the details!

But...in boring my wife with the details she said to me " Well it's over now and you'll never have to live it again." How wise is that?

Bad days, bad weeks, bad months, bad years - once they're over, they're over! Ooof! But that's not the problem is it? The problem is staying positive as we are living through these bad times. Buddha taught us that ignorance of our true self is the root of our suffering and that the root of our ignorance is our mind's habitual tendancy to distraction. Always looking for something to do, to fill the quiet moments; making sure it is never on it's own! To calm this habitual tendancy we need to bring the mind to it's natural place, it's home. The best. way to do this is through meditation, but, beware!

When we face 'ourselves', when we momentarily remove all the distraction and noise, all the visual and auditory stimuli, we are left with ourselves! Attention, this can be a frightening experience! To paraphrase Sogyal Rinpoche; for the most part, we waste our lives, we fritter/twitter it away with banalities and our constant desire to be distracted and entertained. So, when we sit quietly and all those distractions cease, all we're left with is what we have in our heads. For some people this is enlightening, for most; a challenge and for a very few amongst us it can prove to be too much to take. Please sit meditation with a group, a master if posible, but at least a friend until you're ready to try it on your own. Allow all the noise of our daily lives to slowly quieten down and alow your thoughts to carry on on their way; don't hang on to them, don't try to figure them out. Eventually, negativity in your thoughts will diminish; negativity in your life will diminish.

- seiun hosei joza