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Archives 2001 08-01-2001

North County Lines by Bob

An Award Winning Column

For comments or questions contact Bob at bobncl@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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 is seen.

Bodhisattva - An enlightened being whose life is dedicated to helping humanity. Former President Jimmy Carter exemplifies a Western-world Bodhisattva.

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 surely break.

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 you make.

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
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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