Zen Buddhism is non-theistic, so its emphasis is on realizing our Buddha Nature, the nature of the self. Therefore, all of Zen's rituals point to the oneness of the self and the ten thousand things. Zen liturgy is upaya,- skillful means. Like meditation and all the areas of zen training, it functions as a way of uncovering the truth which is the life of each one of us.
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation, are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path; a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddhahood. An enlightened being sees the nature of reality absolutely clearly, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.
Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshipping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion in the Western sense. The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. So, Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, caste, sexuality, or gender. It teaches practical methods which enable people to realise and use its teachings in order to transform their experience, and instead of being a victim or blaming, to be fully responsible for their lives.
Posted by Thich nu Tinh Quang at 11/17/2011 03:56:00 PM
February 19: WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
Wear loose, clean clothing, something that is comfortable and allows you to stretch. Sweat pants and shirt are fine; shorts not so much. Avoid bright colours. Shirts with logos and writing can be distracting to a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. Please wear socks. Warm socks are a good idea in the winter, as you will be asked to remove your shoes at the door. Perfume and jewellery are not worn in the meditation room.
(for those who have taken Five Precepts)
Important: Be seated 10 minutes before the beginning of the Bell Gatha.
Please confirm attendance 24 hours in advance.
The Uposatha is a time to intensify one's own meditation and Dharma practice, for instance, meditating an extra session or for a longer time, reading or chanting special Buddhist texts, recollecting or giving in some special way.
One can observe Uposatha on the days of half-moon, new moon, and full moon of each lunar month. Traditionally, the Uposatha days are observed ten times a month, on the 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and final three days of each lunar month.
On each Uposatha Day, devout Upāsaka and Upāsikā (those who have taken lay-precepts) practice the Eight Precepts, perhaps echoing the Buddha's teaching that laypeople should "imitate" arhats on Uposatha days.
For lay practitioners, the Uposatha is a time to intensify one's meditation and Dharma practice. For example, meditating for an extra session or a longer time, reading or chanting special sutras, eating only vegetarian, and practicing Dana.
- I undertake to abstain from causing harm and taking life (both human and non-human), and to abstain from eating meat.
- I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given (for example stealing, displacements that may cause misunderstandings).
- I undertake to abstain from sexual activity.
- I undertake to abstain from wrong speech: telling lies, deceiving others, manipulating others, using hurtful words.
- I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs, which lead to carelessness.
- I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is after sunrise, before noon).
- I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories).
- I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep.
Registration is required for all programmes, except Sunday morning sesshins. Please email to the address indicated in the programme outline on this site, with the following information.
- Register by emailing sistertinhquang (at) yahoo (dot) ca. (one registration per Contact).
- Full Name (Dharma name if you have taken Refuge)
- Address, including postal code
- Day & Evening telephone numbers
- Email address
- The programme in which you are interested, including dates.
Space is limited ... register early! Registrations must be received no later than 5 days before the intended programme.
Your registration will be confirmed by email.
Your Dana helps a lot. All Dana is suggested only. There is no wish to deprive anyone of the opportunity to attend a workshop or other sessions because of financial inability. Place Dana in an envelope and hand it directly to the teacher. An alternative is to bring a non-perishable food item.
But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.
The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbollized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.
When at last the Buddha came to his follower Mahakasyapa, the disciple suddenly understood. He smiled and began to laugh. Buddha handed the lotus to Mahakasyapa and began to speak.
“What can be said I have said to you,” smiled the Buddha, “and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa.”
Mahakashyapa became Buddha’s successor from that day forward.
The Flower Sutra is a sutra in the Zen (or Chan) tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. It's earliest versions date from the 11th century. Zen Buddhism stresses wordless insight more than most other types of Buddhism. This sutra exemplifies that very well.
In many versions of this sutra the Buddha doesn't walk around, he merely holds up the Lotus, roots and all, to a group of disciples. Most disciples are confused.
To Zen Buddhists this sutra shows the origins of the wordless teachings of Zen - its history started with the Buddha himself.
Zen Buddhism was founded by the South Indian Tamil Pallava prince- turned monk, Bodhidharma, who went to China during the rise of Tamil Buddhism to teach a "special transmission outside the scriptures, not founded on words or letters."
Rising out of the wisdom of China, Vietnam, India, and Japan, Zen became an influential movement to explore the lesser-known reaches of the human mind. Today we are reviving modern significance in its ancient insights. This course is an endeavour to meet Zen in its purest form, by returning to its famous, legendary Teachers.
This course presents a treasury of Zen tradition: Meditation, teachings, anecdotes, stories, legends, sayings, and wisdom culled from the classic texts of Chinese Chan, Vietnamese Thiền, Korean Seon, Japanese Zen and even Tibetan Zen.
Suggested Dana: $20/class
To Register: Email - sistertinhquang (at) yahoo.ca with full name and telephone number. Space is limited, so register early.
Verses on the Faith Mind by The 3rd Zen Patriarch, Seng-ts'anThe Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space when nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.
Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.
Do not remain in the dualistic state -- avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, nothing in the world can offend, and when such a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist in the old way.
When no discriminating thoughts arise, the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.
Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object).
Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute; the faster they hurry, the slower they go, and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way and there will be neither coming nor going.
Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?
If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself.
There is one Dharma, not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.
Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams or flowers in air: foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong: such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.
If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.
For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind's power.
Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
In this world of suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, 'Not two.'
In this 'not two' nothing is separate, nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.
Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small; no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and Non-Being.
Don't waste time with doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.
One thing, all things: move among and intermingle, without distinction.
To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.
To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language, for in it there is
Free. Dana if able.
When we respond to social problems, there is no need to think that we are involved in such activities because we are Buddhist. We do them because we are responding compassionately to the situation, as should anyone who is sensitive to what that situation calls for.
The Little Heron Zen Hermitage is re-launching a food bank collection. So, I'm asking all of you to please donate non-perishable food items to the drop-off box at the front door. The food will alternately be delivered to Neighbour to Neighbour and to The Good Shepherd. In lieu of Dana for the Hermitage, if you cannot afford it, please consider bringing a canned good for the food bank.
Volunteers would be appreciated to help deliver the boxes, when they are full. This is a great opportunity to introduce your children or grandchildren to the importance of volunteerism.
While fresh foods are an important part of anyone's diet, non-perishables are also a vital resource . You can make the most of your non-perishable food donation when you consider three things: nutrition, usefulness, and quality vs. quantity.
Most needed items include:
- whole grain foods, pastas, rice, cereal
- baking goods, sugar, salt, flour
- canned beans, vegetable soup/noodles, fruits, and vegetables
- lentils and beans
Posted by Thich nu Tinh Quang at 4/02/2011 12:23:00 PM
In celebration of the Year of the Rooster, or (Tet/Chinese New Year),
chanting and celebrating at Chua Huong Dam Temple,
are invited to join us for a late vegetarian dinner at
After dinner, we will all leave for Chua Huong Dam Temple
for New Year's chanting and celebrating.
IMPORTANT - RSVP: 905-575-5976 with name and phone number,no later than January 15.