Tag Archives: Zen Bones

Centering (from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones/ Paul Reps)

I said I’d find it! I love this. It was my favorite part of the Paul Reps book, ZF,ZB. I started studying and practicing it when I was 9 years old. I had many wonderful experiences. Plus I became an even weirder kid than before.

(I did not find the section “10 Bulls”…maybe next time.)

here is the first part, followed by download for the whole thing.

(for the rest of this book see https://rickpdx.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/zen-flesh-zen-bones-101-zen-stories/)

Centering Practices:

112 ways to open the invisible door of consciousness.

Transcribed by Paul Reps.
From Zen Flesh, Zen Bones*


Zen is nothing new, neither is it anything old. Long before Buddha was born the search was on in India, as the present work shows.

Long after man has forgotten such words as Zen and Buddha, satori and koan, China and Japan and America – still the search will go on, still Zen will be seen even in flower, and grass-blade, before the sun.

The following is adapted from the preface to the first version in English of this ancient work.

Wandering in the ineffable beauty of Kashmir, above Srinagar I come upon the hermitage of Lakshmanjoo.

It overlooks green rice fields, the garden, of Shalimar and Nishat Bagh, lakes fringed with lotus. Water streams down from a mountaintop.

Here Lakshmanjoo – tall, full bodied, shining – welcomes me. He shares with me this ancient teaching from the Vigyan Bhairava and Sochanda Tantra, both written about four thousand years ago, and from Malini Vijaya Tantra, probably another thousand years older yet. It is an ancient teaching, copied and recopied countless times, and from it Lakshmanjoo has made the beginning of an English version. I transcribe it eleven more times to get it into the form given here.

Shiva first chanted it to his consort Devi in a language of love we have yet to learn. It is about the Immanent experience. It presents 112 ways to open the invisible door of consciousness. I see Lakshmanjoo gives his life to its practicing.

Some of the ways may appear redundant, yet each differs from any other. Some may seem simple, yet any one requires constant dedication even to test it.

Machines, ledgers, dancers, athletes balance. Just as centering or balance augments various skills, so it may awareness. As an experiment, try standing equally on both feet; then imagine you are shifting your balance slightly from foot to foot: just as balance centers, do you.

If we are conscious in part, this implies more inclusive consciousness. Have you a hand? Yes. That you know without doubt. But until asked the question were you cognizant of the hand apart?

Surely men as inspiritors, known and unknown to the world, have shared a common uncommon discovery. The Tao of Lao-tse, Nirvana of Buddha, Jehovah of Moses, the Father of Jesus, the Allah of Mohammed — all point to the experience.

No-thing-ness, spirit – once touched, the whole life clears.


DEVI SAYS:

O Shiva, what is your reality?
What is this wonder-filled universe?
What constitutes seed?
Who centers the universal wheel?
What is tbis life beyond form pervading forms?
How may we enter it fully, above space and
time, names and descriptions?
Let my doubts be cleared!

SHIVA REPLIES

[Devi, though already enlightened, has asked the foregoing questions so others through the universe might receive Shiva’s instructions. Now follow Shiva’s reply, giving the 112 ways.]

1. Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) — the beneficence.

2. As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down—through both these turns, realize.

3. Or, whenever inbreath and outbreath fuse, at this instant touch the energyless energy-filled center.

4. Or, when breath is all out (up) and stopped of itself, or all in (down) and stopped—in such universal pause, one’s small self vanishes. This is difficult only for the impure.

5. Consider your essence as light rays rising from center to center up the vertebrae, and so rises livingness in you.

6. Or in the spaces between, feel this as lightning.

7. Devi, imagine the Sanskrit letters in these honey-filled foci of awareness, first as letters, then more subtly as sounds, then as most subtle feeling. Then, leaving them aside, be free.

8. Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath-essence to the top of the head, and there shower as light.

9. Or, imagine the five-colored circles of the peacock tail to be your five senses in illimitable space. Now let their beauty melt within. Similarly, at any point in space or on a wall — until the point dissolves. Then your wish for another comes true.

10. Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus see your true nature.

Here’s the download file:

centering-practices-paulreps

For the sake of dragging in a few more folks, here is some other stuff-

Poetry by Du Fu

a famous 4 part work with literal and literate translations.

Wikipedia has this to say in introduction to Du Fu:

This is a Chinese name; the family name is 杜 (Dù).
Du Fu (杜甫)

There are no contemporaneous portraits of Du Fu; this is a later artist’s impression
Born 712
Died 770
Occupation Poet

Du Fu (Chinese: 杜甫; pinyin: Dù Fǔ; Wade-Giles: Tu Fu, 712770) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Po), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets.[1] His own greatest ambition was to help his country by becoming a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and the last 15 years of his life were a time of almost constant unrest.

Initially little known, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems written by Du Fu have been handed down over the ages. He has been called Poet-Historian and the Poet-Sage by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as “the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo or Baudelaire“.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (1)
Du Fu

Heart at water essence land
Clothes wet spring rain time
Penetrate gate utmost beyond step
Deep court really tranquil appointment
Reach door open again close
Hit bell vegetarian meal at here
Cream enhance develop nature
Diet give support decline
Hold arm be many days
Open heart without shame evasion
Golden oriole pass structure
Purple dove descend lattice screen
Humble think reach place suit
Flower beside go self slow
Tangxiu raise me sickness
Smile ask write poem
My heart is in a world of water and crystal,
My clothes are damp in this time of spring rains.
Through the gates I walk on to the end,
The inner court the appointed tranquil space.
I reach the doors- they open and shut again,
Now strikes the bell- the meal time has arrived.
This cream will help one’s nature strengthen and grow,
The diet gives support in my decline.
We’ve grasped each other’s arms so many days,
And opened our hearts without shame or evasion.
Golden orioles flit across the beams,
Purple doves descend from lattice screens.
Myself, I think I’ve found a place that suits,
I walk by flowers at my own slow pace.
Tangxiu lifts me from my sickly state,
And smiling, asks me to write a poem.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (2)

Thin soft green silk shoe
Shine bright white cotton scarf
Deep store for old elder
Fetch use for my body
Self look change without interest
Friendship how still new
Daolin talent not age
Huiyuan virtue surpass man
Rain pour dusk eaves bamboo
Wind blow green well celery
Heaven dark face picture
Most feel moist dragon scale
Fine green silk shoes,
Bright white cotton scarves,
Deep in storage for the elders,
Fetched to wear upon my body.
I see myself as old and dull,
How can our friendship stay so fresh?
Daolin’s talents exceed the age,
Huiyuan’s virtue’s superhuman.
Rain-drenched bamboo by the eaves at dusk;
Wind in green celery at the well;
The sky dark, I face a mural,
Most feeling the damp of the dragon’s scales.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (3)

Lamplight shine without sleep
Heart clear smell wonderful incense
Night deep hall sudden lofty
Wind move gold clank clank
Sky black obstruct spring court
Earth clear dwell secret fragrance
Jade rope revolve cut sever
Iron phoenix dark soar
Sanskrit release sometimes out temple
Bell remnant remain thunder bed
Tomorrow at fertile field
Bitter see dirt sand yellow
The lamplight shines on my sleeplessness,
My mind clear, I smell the splendid incense.
Deep in the night, the hall rears up high,
The wind stirs, and gold is heard to clank.
The black sky masks the springtime court,
To the pure earth clings a hidden fragrance.
The Jade Rope wheels round and is cut,
The iron phoenix seems about to soar.
Sanskrit sometimes flows out from the temple,
The lingering bells still thunder round my bed.
Tomorrow morning in the fertile field,
I’ll bitterly behold the yellow dirt.

In Abbot Zan’s Room at Dayun Temple: Four Poems (4)

Boy draw water well shining
Agile container rise hand
Wet sprinkle not soak earth
Sweep surpass like without broom
Bright rosy clouds shining again pavilion
Clear mist lift high window
Lean fill cover path flower
Sheet shake end steps willow
Difficulty world affair compel
Hide away right time after
Meet talk agree deep heart
How can all restrain mouth
Offer goodbye return cane riding crop
Temporary part end turn head
Vast expanse mud defile person
Listen country many dogs
Although not free yoke
Sometimes come rest rush about
Near you like white snow
Grasp hot upset how be
The boy draws shining water from the well,
He nimbly lifts the bucket to his hand.
He sprinkles water without soaking the earth,
And sweeps so well as if without a broom.
The rosy dawn again lights the pagoda,
The clearing mist lifts from the higher windows.
Leaning blossoms cover over the path,
Swaying willow leaves reach down to the steps.
I’m driven by these troublesome affairs,
Retirement from the world must be put off.
We’ve met and talked, our deepest hearts agreeing,
How can our mouths be forced completely shut?
I say goodbye and fetch my riding crop,
Parting for now, I turn my head at the last.
There’s so much mud that can defile a man,
Just listen to all the dogs throughout the land.
Although I cannot get free from this yoke,
I’ll sometimes come to rest from all the bustle.
Your presence, Abbot, acts just like white snow,
How can I be upset to grasp what’s hot?

Not enough? Wait! There’s more!

Silly pictures:

and this-

(click for full size)

or maybe…

Halloween costume for your baby:

Ah, but that’s not all! Newly recorded song I’ve posted before but hopefully this is better- it will also go on to the new music page (soon). The song- On the Wind, was conceived as God’s part of a dialogue with me regarding prayer/ meditation.

Lyrics? Chords?

Here-

On the Wind

D       Em—7   A
Reach up,       open your eyes,
Em–7                      A
feel the sky as a wheel that is turning
Em—-7               A                              Em—7                  A
Look out, see the world you have made before your eyes is burning
G                               D                            Em—7
Breathe it in slowly and breathe it out slowly again
D                              G                   A                   D
Sometimes all you can do is cast your heart upon the wind

You can cover your tracks as fine as you please
Throw out all of the things that remind you
Turn away from the heartache you fear; In the blink of an eye it will find you
Or unlock your door and just walk to the light streaming in
Release your song and let it dance upon the wind

***
G                    A                      D
You don’t even know who cares about you
G                           A                            D
The one who stands beside you night and day
G      A         D
It’s so easy to love you
G                       A                          D
and it’s so hard to watch you live this way

***

You can sit down by me; I have always been here
I have waited like the starry night
I know you aren’t ready to stay but I will hold you in the light
And I won’t hold you back, I know that’s just the place you are in
Before you go just button up your coat against the wind

The song download:

p-onthewind91208

That should cover most bases for today.

See you Sunday(or First Day, as the Friends say).

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Filed under buddhism, Chinese poetry, comedy relief, Free Music, mp3, Music, Mystic Poetry, new music, pictures, poetry, silly, Spirituality

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones- 101 Zen Stories

When I was about 8 I started reading everything I could find in the religion section at the downtown Multnomah County library. I was looking for explanations for things I was experiencing and for tools for greater understanding. The first Buddhist oriented book I read was the Dhammapada, which is kind of like the “Dick & Jane” of the Pali Canon. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, compiled by Paul Reps, was one of my first non-scriptural Buddhist texts I encountered and had a profound influence on my thinking as a kid-adult.

ZFZB is actually 4 books- My favorite section is and was the one titled “Centering” which I haven’t been able to find yet on the net. So, my second choice must be the best- 101 Zen Stories. I’ve posted the first 10 here and made a link at the end where you can download the whole thing (this section, anyway). As an added bonus, I’ve added The Gateless Gate- Zen Koans used for meditation. When I find a web copy of Centering, I’ll share it, too.

101 Zen Stories

A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912) received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in saved tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’ ‘Like this cup,’ Nan-in said. ‘You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup? ‘

2. Finding a Diamond on a Muddy Road
Gudo was the emperor’s teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used to travel done as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his way to Edo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he approached a little village mad Takenaka. It was evening and a heavy rain was falling. Gudo was thoroughly wet. His straw sandals were in pieces. At a farmhouse near the village he noticed four or five pairs of sandals in the window and decided to buy some dry ones. The woman who offered him the sandals seeing how wet he was invited him to remain for the night in her home. Gudo accepted, thanking her. He entered and recited a sutra before the family shrine. He then was introduced to the woman’s mother, and to her children. Observing that the entire family was depressed Gudo asked what was wrong.

‘My husband is a gambler and a drunkard,’ the housewife told him. ‘When he happens to win he drinks and becomes abusive. When he losses he borrows money from others. Sometimes when becomes thoroughly drunk he does not come home at all. What can I do? ‘I will help him,’ said Gudo. ‘Here is some money. Get me a gallon of fine wine and something good to eat. Then you may retire. I will meditate before the shrine.’ When the man of the house returned about midnight, quite drunk; he bellowed: ‘Hey, wife I am home. Have you something for me eat?’ I have something for you: said Gudo. ‘I happened to be caught in the rain and your wife kindly asked me to remain here for the night. In return I have bought some wine and fish. You might as well have them.’ The man was delighted. He drank the wine at once and laid himself down on the floor. Gudo sat in mediation beside him. In the morning when the husband awoke he had forgotten about the previous night. ‘Who are you? Where do yon come from?’ he asked Gudo, who still was meditating. ‘I am Gudo of Kyoto and I am going on to Edo,’ replied the Zen master. The man was utterly ashamed He apologized profusely to the teacher of his emperor. Gudo smiled. ‘Everything in this life is impermanent’ he explained. ‘Life is very brief. If you keep on gambling and drinking yon will have no time left to accomplish anything else, and you will cause your family to suffer too.’ The perception of the husband awoke as if from a dream. ‘You are right,’ he declared. ‘How can I ever repay you for this wonderful teaching! Let me see you off and carry your things a little way.’ ‘If you wish,’ assented Gudo. The two started out. After they had gone three miles Gudo told him to return. ‘Just another five miles,’ he begged Gudo. They continued on. You may return now,’ suggested Gudo.

‘After another ten miles,’ the man replied. ‘Return now,’ said Gudo, when the ten miles had been passed. ‘I am going to follow you all the rest of my life,’ declared the man. Modern Zen teachers in Japan spring from the lineage of a famous master who was the successor of Gudo. His name was Mu-nan, the man who never returned back.

3. Is That So?
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning her parents discovered she was with child. This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin. In great anger the parents went to the master. ‘Is that so?’ was all he would say. After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed. A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fish market. The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again. Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was, ‘Is that so?’

4. Obedience
The master Bankei’s talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras nor indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead his words were spoken directly from his heart to the harts of his listeners. His large audiences angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The selfcentered Nichiren priest came to the temple determined to debate with Bankei. ‘Hey, Zen teacher,’ he called out. ‘Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey yon?’ ‘Come up beside me and I will show you,’ said Bankei. Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher. Bankei smiled. ‘Come over to my left side.’ The priest obeyed. ‘No,’ said Bankei, ‘we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here.’ The priest proudly stepped over to the right. ‘You see,’ observed Bankei, ‘you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen.’

5. If You Love, Love Openly
Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master. Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain. Several monks secretly fell in love with her.

One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting. Eshun did not reply. The following day the master gave a lecture to the group, and when it was over, Eshun arose. Addressing the one who had written her, she said: ‘If you really love me so much, come and embrace me now.’

6. No Loving-Kindness
There was an old woman in China who had supported a monk for over twenty years. She had built a little hut for him and fed him while he was meditating. Finally she wondered just what progress he had made in all this time. To find out, she obtained the help of a girl rich in desire. ‘Go and embrace him,’ she told her;’ and then ask him suddenly: “What now?” The girl called upon the monk and without much ado caressed him, asking him what he was going to do about it. ‘An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter,’ replied the monk somewhat poetically. ‘Nowhere is there any warmth.’ The girl returned and related what he had said. ‘To think I fed that fellow for twenty years!’ exclaimed the old woman in anger.’ He showed no consideration for your need, no disposition to explain your condition. He need not have responded to passion, but at last he should have evidenced some compassion.’ She at once went to the hut of the monk and burned it down.

7. Announcement
Tanzan wrote sixty postal cards on the last day of his life, and asked an attendant to mail them. Then he passed away. The cards read:

I am departing from this world. This is my last announcement. Tanzan 27 July 1892.

8. Great Waves
In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well-known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves. O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him. O-nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble. ‘Great Waves is your name,’ the teacher advised,’ so stay in this temple tonight. Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallowing all in their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land.’ The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feelings of the waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea. In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestlers shoulder. ‘Now nothing can disturb you.’ he said. ‘You are the waves. You will sweep everything before you.’ The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.

9. The Moon cannot be Stolen
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to stea1. Ryokan returned and caught him. ‘You may have come a long way to visit me,’ he told the prowler, ‘and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.’ The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. ‘Poor fellow,’ he mused, ‘I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.’

10. The Last Poem of Hoshin
The Zen master Hoshin lived in China many years. Then he returned to the northeastern part of Japan, where he taught his disciples. When he was getting very old, he told them a story he had heard in China. This is the story: One year on the twenty-fifth of December, Tokufu, who was very old, said to his disciples: I am not going to-be alive next year so you fellows should treat me well this year.’ The pupils thought he was joking, but since he was a great-hearted teacher each of them in turn treated him to a feast on succeeding days of the departing year. On the eve of the New Year, Tokufu concluded: ‘You have been good to me. I shall leave you tomorrow afternoon when the snow has stopped.’ The disciples laughed, thinking he was aging and talking nonsense since the night was clear and without snow. But at midnight snow began to fall, and the next day they did not find their teacher about. They went to the meditation hall.

There he had passed on. Hoshin, who related this story, told his disciples: ‘It is not necessary for a Zen master to predict his passing, but if he really wishes to do so, he can.’ ‘Can you?’ someone asked. ‘Yes,’ answered Hoshin. ‘I will show you what I can do seven days from now. None of the disciple’s believed him, and most of them had even forgotten the conversation when Hoshin next called them together. ‘Seven days ago,’ he remarked, ‘I said I was going to leave you. It is customary to write a farewell poem, but I am neither poet nor calligrapher. Let one of you inscribe my last words.’ His followers thought he was joking, but one of them started to write. ‘Are you ready?’ Hoshin asked. ‘Yes, sir,’ replied the writer. Then Hoshin dictated: I came from brilliancy And return to brilliancy. What is this? The poem was one line short of the customary four, so, the disciple said: ‘Master, we are one line short.’ Hoshin, with the roar of a conquering lion, shouted ‘Kaa!’ and was gone.

Download 101 Zen Stories with forward:

101zensories-wforwardbypaulreps

Download The Gateless Gate:

the-gateless-gate

Let’s not forget this version (click for full size):

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Filed under buddhism, pictures, silly, Spirituality