County Lines by Bob
A Zen Trip From A To Z
Ashram - A spiritual retreat or community, where a typical day
begins several hours before dawn with meditation and the chanting
of Prajana Paramita Hridaya. The theme of this heart sutra is: "Form
is no other than emptiness. Emptiness is no other than form."
By relying on this intuitive wisdom, your sight extends beyond what
Bodhisattva - An enlightened being whose life is dedicated to helping
humanity. Former President Jimmy Carter exemplifies a Western-world
Cloud-Water - A symbol signifying a Zen principle. Clouds move
freely, forming and reforming to conditions. Obstacles cannot restrain
clouds. Clouds conquer by yielding. Water conquers by yielding.
Water extinguishes fire and escapes as steam. Water flows around
rocks. Water never attacks but always wins. What doesn't bend will
Dharma - What occurs naturally. The matrix of Buddhism. The mother
of Buddhahood. A harbor light in a sea of multiple existences.
Ego - The big "I." The illusion that we are separate
from all that surrounds us. Grasping at anything to increase its
power, ego always leads to suffering.
Four Vows - Recited three times in succession after sitting meditation
in a Zen temple. "I vow to liberate all beings, without number.
I vow to uproot endless blind passion. I vow to penetrate Dharma's
gate. I vow to attain the Great Way, the way of Buddha."
Gassho - A greeting gesture of raising the hands palm to palm to
the face and bowing the head to indicate reverence for the indwelling
divine that connects each of us to one another.
Hell - The delusion of feeling separate from all that surrounds
you. The result of ego.
Ikkyu - A Zen master who asked a dying monk, "Shall I lead
you on?" "I came here alone and I go alone," the
monk replied. "What help could you be for me?" "If
you think you come and go," Ikkyu answered, "that is your
delusion. Let me show you a path on which there is no coming and
no going." Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that the
monk smiled and passed away.
Joriki - More than simple concentration, this dynamic force, resulting
from continued meditation, enables one to respond suddenly and correctly
in unexpected situations. At this level of consciousness, the mind
is clear, like pure water.
Karma - Action and reaction. The continuing process of cause and
effect. Present actions determine future results. The Judeo-Christian
Bible describes karma as reaping what you sow.
Love - In a karmic sense, the love you take is equal to the love
Maya - The illusion of form mistakenly perceived as unchanging.
Not seeing that a new car will one day be old and worn out is an
example of maya.
Nirvana - The extinction of ignorance and desire. An awakening
of inner peace and freedom. A state of being, not a physical place.
Om - The principle mantra of Buddhism. Chanting this sacred word
can reveal a myriad of worlds beyond this one.
Precepts - The precepts of Zen Buddhism include refraining from
taking life, from theft, from lying, from selling or buying alcoholic
beverages, from speaking of the shortcomings of others, from praising
oneself and reviling others, from giving spiritual or material aid
grudgingly, and from anger.
Quiescence - State of quiet stillness as expressed in a stanza
written by Zen Master Nagarjuna: "Bliss consists in the cessation
of all thought, in the quiescence of plurality. No separate reality
was preached at all, nowhere and none by the great Buddha."
Roshi - A title describing an esteemed teacher of Zen who guides
and inspires students on the path to enlightenment.
Six Realms of Existence - Human beings in these unenlightened realms
are trapped in a ceaseless round of birth-and-death, set in motion
by the craving of physical pleasures. Refusing to let go of these
desires keeps the wheel turning, resulting in the cycle of births,
deaths, and rebirths.
Tosui - While hanging a picture of Buddha on a wall in his hut,
this Zen master said, "Mr. Buddha, this room is quite narrow.
I can let you remain as a transient. But don't think I am asking
you to help me be reborn in paradise."
Upanishads - When this sacred text of ancient India is understood,
you realize you've always had what you've been looking for.
Variochana - This non-historical Buddha symbolizes cosmic consciousness.
Wheel of Life - Keeps turning from past to present to future and
back again. You've been where you are. Unless this cycle is broken
by enlightenment, you will return there again and again.
Xanadu - A mythical paradise in the poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Coleridge.
His concept of paradise was based on Shambhala, a Zen utopia.
Yaza - Sitting meditation done after 9 p.m., the usual bedtime
hour in a Buddhist monastery. The Zen practice of early to bed and
early to rise was recommended by Benjamin Franklin, another example
of a Western-world Bodhisattva.
Zen - "This great path has no gates. Thousands of roads enter
it. Those who pass through this gateless gate walk freely between
heaven and earth."
Overton County News
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Livingston, Tennessee 38570