Zen in the Clouds

30 09 2007

I just returned from a business trip to Nashville, Tenn. I had the chance to read two interesting books during my travel time. That is the nice thing about flying, that and the speed.

The Zen Creativity : Cultivating your Artistic life

Not just a book on the ideals and practice of Zen. This book is for the Artist and those those strive to be one. Although we are all artist in some form. This book is written by a Photographer who went on to become a Zen priest and setup a Zen center. He speaks on the our universal connection with all things. How we can tap into that chi and make a direct link with all things. In his case using that to do photos. The subject “told” him when to take the picture, once he had connected with it. How it is the same as in flower arranging, archery, painting, making music. It, the picture, the song, the painting, is waiting, we just need to connect with it. He speaks alot of using chi to reach out and make this connection, the subject’s chi with ours, blending. He gives a few drills on quieting the mind, and learning to concentrate. What I found most interesting was how his journey to make better photos, was his path to Zen. How once on the path he found fullness not just on a spiritual level but also on a artistic level beyond just taking good photos.

 

The next book:

Being Black: Zen and the art of living Fearlessness & Grace

This book is written by a Black woman who being came a Zen priest. It tells of her journey to this path, and what she found here. It tells how it made everything come together for her. Although this book is written by a Black woman from her view and experiences it is relevant for all people of color here in the States. We all face the same issues, perhaps on different levels, different intensities, but it is there, sometimes on the surface in your face, other times, laying low, covert, there is no duality. It is worthwhile to read even just from the point of understanding another’s path. trails, challenges, achievements. Walking in their shoes as it is said. This book, covers the all basics of Buddhism, as well as how she learned about herself and life while learning the Zen Tao.

______

Flying…traveling is interesting, observing all the peoples. I found it interesting how many many people as soon as the plane lands are on their cell phones. Makes you wonder how we lived without them. Another interesting thing is how as soon as the plane stops everyone stands and grabs their, or tries to grab their bags, but because everyone is doing it, only half can get their things, and still EVERYONE has to wait, now standing, crowed in the walkway until the doors open. This is usually 5 min or more later. All that rushing , standing, crowding, half standing, got them where? People are funny…

There is a time for rushing and movement, and a time for stillness. Being one with that time, that flow of time, makes travel less stressful.





Sup!?

26 09 2007

rezenting

Ohmmmm…

So what is doing , up coming, happening…

Life goes on and there is always something happening…whether it is worth writing about hmmm…unknown. I guess more properly, who is reading, again unknown,

but all you spammers for real it does not matter does it! You just want a place to pedal your junk, which no-one reads or will see here. What a waste…. I use to be naive enough to think these people from far off places that log on here were interested in reading what I had to say, I could not figure why. I though to see how weird some Americans are, maybe, but no, they are just spammers.

sumimasen, I digress…

My mother-in-law is visiting from Nihon the next two weeks. It is her first visit. She is very pleased, as are we. She never got to travel when her husband was alive. It is good for her to get out into the world while she still has her health. Health and Love are the real treasures of this life, ne!

I’m off on a business trip, my first for the new company, to Nashville,Tenn. Not my favorite, but one must be open…

After I return it is a bit of the tour guide stuff with the family, it should be fun. A sail is planned in there for Sunday. Once mother goes back, I am off to So Cal for my first conference with the company for 4 days in Long Beach. I’ll be hotel bound for the duration, but I have a lot of reading I can catch up on. I have come across some interesting books as of late.

The Shaolin Grandmaster text

EveryDay Zen(just finished it, great book!!)

The Zen Creativity : Cultivating your Artistic life

Being Black: Zen and the art of living Fearlessness & Grace

Nine nights with a Taoist master

Once back, I’m thinking of a weekend sail trip, the only one this year, with being so busy. I met up with a bunch of folks last weekend with the same make boat as mine, & they are having and event, and I have an extra day off that weekend…

They follow weekend I’m back to So. Cal. for the seminar Tai Chi Seminar I postponed due to my leg problem, it is on for the end of the month. Good timing as my car repairs will take all of that money plus 😦

Nov. maybe starting with a half day Ch’an retreat with my group in Fremont. That will be good for my spirit and Zen (Ch’an) growth.

A couple of weeks later, back to LA, this time for a Kung Fu brother’s school banquet and a visit to the Ch’an group in LA.

I was thinking the other day I did not have much to post about for awhile. However writing all this, I guess I am/will be pretty busy.





bluZen

21 09 2007

Ok, soooo remember the TV spot gig with The Xpress…

I really need to practice more. It is hard to hear sometimes when you are doing it. The link below is a good song though, there is another that hurt my ears listening to myself.

Hehahah, everybody sucks sometimes…it’s that yin / yang thang 🙂

Sometimes I should NOT play and give it ( the harp) UP… other times…I

Got My Mojo Working

This has to be my favorite. I get to switchup and do some flute. Kind of Jazzy BluZen

Boggie thang





Shaolin Ch’an

16 09 2007

shaolin zen

All my seeking and investagation, and there it was right in front of me. Well of sort. I did not know what I was looking for until I found it. er, well or where to find it…anyway…For all 3 or 4 of you who read and care about my minor mussing about Martial Arts and Shaolin & Ch’an, & you have some spiritual leanings as well, you will also find this interesting. I came across this while looking for something else A support for my findings, path and past sense of lack…

This is an interesting article written by some person I have no idea of his background. However I am grateful for the pointer to the book. click —>

click —> Shaolin Ch’an





Snowflakes of Enlightenment

14 09 2007

Lotus ChanOnce while in Japan I had the opportunity to have tea with a Zen Master. Not only was he a Zen master but a sailor, so we hada connection , I had looked forward to speaking with him. He was listed as being from the Renzi (sp) sect. However when I asked him about that he said, the branches of the river are not the whole river. His master did not teach from the branches but from the source. Names are not important, the teachings are important. Which I took to mean as, Branches are like fingers pointing to the moon. He went further to say many come to Zen to seek enlightenment. However once you set your goal/mind to seeking enlightenment, you already are off the path and have lost it. He said, that his master said, you can not have enlightenment in this lifetime, once you die, you will have enlightenment. Hmmm, I am not in agreement with that. I think there are forms, er… levels of enlightenment, they come when we are open to receiving them. I think you can have enlightenment one moment, on one thing, then be clueless on another. It comes like a ray of light through dark skys and lights up a flower, then goes away like a snowflake on the water, temporary like cherry blossums in the spring, easily blown by the wind. It cannot be held in the hand, but only in the memory. It is lived anew on a daily basis for those who are open, respective to the voice of the universe. It is not a robe that you buy and it is always yours, it is like breathing, every moment you must refresh, you can not hold one breath for long and live.Of course, this is just my youthful opinion, perhaps when I get enlighten I will know better…hmmm, Isn’t knowing you are not enlightened, a form of enlightenment…so that brings me back to, what I said first, there forms, degrees of enlightenment…at least I feel so, I could be incorrect, I’m still a child learning…
Is that enlightenment or just another finger -)





Reflections on the Tao

5 09 2007

Now that it is over the weekend seems to have gone by so fast. It is said, good times go quickly. Thisshaolin chan past weekend was a delightful spiritual journey for me. After many years and many footsteps at the gate of many paths & thoughts, I feel I have found my spiritual path and family. That is a pretty strong statement when I read it. However looking inside myself I feel it is on target. I have been a disciple of the Shaolin Path for many many years. I have learned, and been told that fighting is just a small part of the Path. There is healing, nutrition, poetry, music, compassion to all life, meditation. I have been taught mostly from the Yang side of this path, the motion side , eg: forms, healing, things that can be touched and seen. There have been some brushes with the yin side, but not a full study. I have now found the yin balance to that, the spiritual side of Shaolin via, Shao Lin Chan, (Zen) aka Heart Zen.

It gives me what I stated I was seeking in an earlier post about finding, my path. The added balance to my Kung Fu. Something more than just Physical, Mental Training.

This weekend, in itself was nothing remarkable, but the people involved in it at the retreat were remarkable. The open compassion and caring were sincere and heartfelt. No matter what race or creed or color, we as humans, seek balance and our connection with a higher source or universal connection. No matter what we name that source, God, Buddha, Allah, The Force, The Great Spirit, most want, need to be connected. More than ever now a day, as the world gets more and more out of balance, there are those that seek balance.

zen group 07

I will be digesting things, ways, ideas, teachings for a long time. Working on my spiritual growth and goals is the most important, because only the spirit is lasting. I see now how to bring that into my Kung Fu teachings for a higher level of training beyond, combat and physical health. I have a long way to go, but at least I can see the path up the mountain. It is not just about sitting and meditating, or reading sutras, but making your life style consistent with your Meditation practice and your Physical/Mental practice.

The Zen path is striving for freedom from the 5 poisons:

Craving, Anger, Arrogance, Attachment and Suspicion

To achieve:

Purity, Wisdom, Consummation, Enlightenment

benchs

 

 

 

 

The Heart Zen/Shaolin Connection:

as Posted by JMJM of the American Zen Assoc. a sub-Chapter of the Taiwan Zen Buddhist Association

As you may know, Shao Lin was the first temple Bodhi Darhma (Da Mo) visited and stayed
in a cave for nine years until the Second Patriarch showed up. Many of the Shao Lin martial arts still retained his name. Yet Shao Lin martial arts is really and originally Motion Chan.

After the communists took over, they vacated the Sitting Chan practices and therefore this practice islost in Shao Lin.

For the last 10-15 years, Shao Lin (temple) has asked repeatedly our Teacher, Chan Master Miao Tian, to bring it back to Shao Lin. Finally He agreed to bring it back on October 13, 2007. This is a historical event.

Yet why us? Why Heart Chan? Since the Sixth Patriarch, five out-of-home schools
were branched into along with one at-home practice. Heart Chan is the at-home
practice. We do not shave heads nor wear robes. We have no temple and no
formalities. Our practice is quite simple and I guess it was identified as originally Shao Lin.

Head Master of Shaolin has visited us many times in Taiwan and expressed the
importance to bring it back. China is filled with riches now, but the spirits are empty.

_____________

What is most interesting about this to me is, this is just what I wanted to on a personal level in my study of Chan (zen). I had no idea at the time that this was being done on a major level with the Abbot of Shaolin and Chan Master Miao Tian, Shifu.

Omoshiroii ne!!!

(Interesting or what!!…)

Tao





Final day

4 09 2007

The final day came quickly. Even through there were parts of the session that were challengingly painful. But that was do to my injury that made it a drag… it was still good. I am back now and digesting things, before a final post on this.

This is how it went on the last day ..

I got up at 6:15 so I could be out on the field by 6:30. it went just that way… I was expecting 3 people maybe to show up fro the Tai Chi session, it turn into about 10 !! I was surprised. I went through just a few basics with them and then a few moves about 5 or so. There was not much time for anything else we only had about 20 min of time, before the Motion Zen session started. Everyone was very pleased with the brief intro and were grateful. I was pleased. I would not mind doing it for them if asked at the next retreat over the course of the full session.

After Chi Gong, then off to breakfast…next to the cliff house for our final day. ..

We started again with a DVD lecture from the Sifu. It was about 1 hour long. I made it through most of it, before having to move because of leg pain. However it was better than the day before. Next a very short break then some guidance on some new mudras ( hand positions) and another chakara meditation from elder sister. That was very interesting. It was a brief touch into another level of meditation.


Next it was a break, then we divided into two group, one for the Chinese speakers, one for English speakers. We asked questions, and shared answers among ourselves from our own experience and from Elder brother, JMJM

birdland

The final part of the formal session was from the two main elders, a short film from senior brother and a short talk from Senior Sister. after this, We were told, there would be some things handed out, to a few, and it tended to be a very emotional event. I’m thinking , why?? just a few awards for helping… It should not be that be of a deal. The first of the gifts we Red Envelopes for those who help put the whole things together. Those of you familiar with Chinese customs know about that. I will not go into it. Next some pins, were given out to the new members of the family as a welcome, which were blessed from the Sifu. A few names were called, then mine, not really a surprise since I was new, although this whole part was unexpected. What really was a shocker was that after I accepted the pin, and sat down, I became over whelmed with emotion. I was very close to tears. I did not expect that!! My cousin also said the same. It was weird. Not like a sad emotion at all, but joyous emotion when really touched by some kindness given to you. It was a strange feeling to just come out of the blue like that.

zenbeach II

A final post …Reflections… and clean up over the next couple days..





zi jing ben yi…

3 09 2007

Reach our inner selves…Avoid all evils…Practice all goodness. ( zen goals)

Today was day two, for me of the retreat. I got up at 6:30 and went outside and did Taiji. The group was suppose to meet @ 7:00am to do “motion zen”, which is really a form of “Chi Gong”. So I got my Tai Chi practice in first, then over to do Chi Gong with the group.

motion chan

Next breakfast. Same as yesterday, I had me fruit and cereal with soy milk and a muffin. Prefect amount! with a glass of juice. Eating correctly is also part of the Zen path. Next we went off to the cabin. It is really a nice having the place right next to the ocean.

the place

 

clifside

I got to stretch a bit before we started our session. Today was started with some talk on chakara path and breath from the eldest sister who started the Shao lin Zen path in this country.

group day 2

After the lecture, part II of the DVD lecture from the Sifu in Taiwan was shown, then it was practice time. Then Q&A and break for lunch.

No deep conversation today at lunch, just some eating and bit if chat, some stretching by the cliff edge and then listening to elder brother talk of misc subject around the table. I took a short walk to grab some photos. I did get to talk with a young couple who wanted to know about the Kung Fu life style and how it worked with Chan (Zen) It was a relaxed morning.

the birds

After lunch we watched a movie called the Little Buddha. It was a bit of the life of the Buddha plus about these 3 kids who the Tibetan Monks felt were their master’s reincarnation. It was interesting. Next tea time and a break. it was good, to have it, i and others were starting to nod off during the movie.

The last section of the day, due to more or less request, everyone stood and introduced themselves and told of how they came to this path and or if they had some change in their life because of the practice. Some of the stories we really touching and some got very emotional. It was interesting hear the different things, yet in ways similar thing that brought us to this Chan (Zen) path.

I find out today that the guy I am sharing a room with spent 4 years in Japan, in Osaka! Small world. I had elder Brother ask if I spoke to this guy in Japanese, I said no, I was not sure at the time who he was talking about. Interesting enough it was my roomy. Dhrama..

After it all it was dinner time, we packed up and head out again. Dinner was good. Chinese food again, ok with me, I had a good tofu dinner with some rice. Afterward some of the group, played pool, and other played ping pong.

I found a piano in a side room and played quietly a bit before head back to the room for a shower and some chill out time.

I’m up again at 6:30 on Monday for Tai Chi, a couple said they would join me…





We are but leaves on a tree…

2 09 2007

That was one the sayings for the day’s morning talk, by elder brother… but first lets back up to the begining.

For now I’m just going to post a short overview and fill in stuff later with picture, so check back. It has been a long day and I’m running out of stream…

My Cuz picked me up from the train station and we got to the University Campus where we were staying in time for the group breakfast. We missed the Motion Zen warm ups, but that was ok. We made breakfast. I checked in, and met a few people, got organized and afterwards we headed off to the meeting place. We drove for a way further on campus, but back toward the water and off on to a dirt road. We drove past a low marsh land creek and bunches of birds. I wished I had brought my big camera…

birdland

We keep going til the end of the road, then got and an walked a bit. We had a hall that was right on a cliff over looking the ocean! Wow every one was pleased and surprised as we all went outside to look at the view, before starting.

checking things out

It was a nice location, no was around but us a first and we could hear the surf. Nice.

Zen beach

Our session for the day went like this:

lecture on the Basics and linage of Heart Zen aka Shao lin Chan ( new official name from China). We went over the principals of the training. Then a break. Nice , my leg was hurting. By day two alot of people were using Liniment on their legs.

Next another short lecture on the basic chakara breathing practice. Then lunch. I got to chat with a few people and met one of the top people here in the states brother JMJM’s 1st teacher. A very pleasant peaceful person to be around.

The most in depth conversation and surprising, was with a young lady who was planning on becoming a Christian, but was concerned about saying anything to anyone there about it and had some inner conflict about wanting to do Zen and being a Christian. We had a long discussion. She said she was glad to talk with me…it ended with, your beliefs are between you and God. If you prayed, for an answer, it will come, if you are open to it. … Later when people were speaking on their Zen practice and what it has done for them. One lady stood up and said, I am a Christian I have found no conflict with being here. I am thankful to God for leading me here and to be part of this! This was someone neither of us knew about. Wow! Talk about God answering a question…

session

Anyway, more lecture, practice, a lecture on DVD from the Shifu, another break. A short talk on Chan (Zen) & Science, then on Chan and everyday life. Next some outside Meditation then, Cleanup and back to the main campus for dinner. We had lots of food, for everyone, even me and the other Veggies. It was a long day. I’m in the dorm now writing this. I was going to go back out and do some Tai Chi, but, I think it is just a shower then to bed. I can get up early and do some Tai Chi before everyone comes out for Motion Chan practice. At least that is the Plan…





Train, Bus, Fireworks & Police

2 09 2007

Date line Aug 31. it is 8:30 pm on Fri. I head off to the train station with the Lady Z. It is a fairly warm evening in the East Bay. I am heading to Santa Barbara for the Zen retreat weekend. I am looking forward to the session but not the trip. I have to take the train then change to a bus for a 8 hours drive UGGH! Ok, I wanted this so, I’ll make the best of it.

The train ride was nice. Comfortable, not too crowded it was a nice 1 hour ride to Oakland, then things went down hill…

I asked the conductor guy once we stop and everyone was getting off where was the bus. He pointed to the bus sitting at the urb…all dark. People were waiting I figured the driver was on break so I headed inside the station to use the loo. Once inside, I find one needs a token to get in, doh! 😦

There is a line at the counter, I go back outside. After a few minutes I figure no driver so go back inside and get a token. Ok that went fairly well. I head back to the curb to wait now about 25 min has passed. After another few minutes another bus pulls up and they say over the speaker this is the bus I want. So I just happened to be in a location that I can be the first in line so I head over and I am. Bamm I think. The driver gets off, with a smug look and says, there is no rush, we are not going anywhere for 45 min. There is a delay with the Bay Bridge closed we have to wait for another load of people. Then just walks off. Every goes WTF ( what the fudge )!??!?

There is a lot to write about this whole thing, which I do not feel like doing so I’ll do the short version…

The bus driver does not let us on for a long time. Another worker driving a load of packages, yells rudely about how we are blocking her way by lining up for the bus, which the driver will not let us on!!! There are a bunch of ghetto, loud folks yelling all over the place, the driver finally comes back, does a bunch of stuff, then starts letting us on. I’m still in the front of the line, and he says something, off the wall to me about looking unhappy!! I did not go off on him!! I said something similar to WTF? and got on the bus. I get to pick my seat as I was first. Yeah Sweet. So finally we get going, the bus is not full …yet. We get out on the hwy-way and see the last 5 min of a fantastic fireworks show!! Wow nice!!

Next stop, San Jose, it is a fast trip, but get ugly shortly after. We pick up a lot of travelers. the bus is not crowded. I did luck out and got a cute girl ( I think) next to me, in these small seats, not a stinky guy of which there were a lot of getting on. We take off and notice there are police cars everywhere, also traffic everywhere and I hear someone say something about a helicopter! The next hour we spend trying to move 1 block. Finally the bus driver get to the corner, gets out of line, make a few Big A Treeturns which for the most part puts us back where we started, then he does some more turns and we end up on the freeway. I’m Surprised! The rest of the trip is uneventful, just long, I twist , and turn but manage to get a little sleep. after a few stops, next thing it is 6:30 am on Sat. and we are pulling into Santa Barbara train station, end of the line for me. Yeah!!!. Other than the bus stinking from the toilet, crowded, small seats and a long long ride, it was not too bad. Not something I would want to do on a regular basis, but now that it was over, not so bad. I let it go and call my Cuz, to pick me up, and it’s on to the Zen session.

This tree was the first things I saw when I arrived at the Santa Barbara Train station after a stressfully interesting pilgramige. I saw this tree and thought it was amazing. So much so that as soon as I got off the bus, I went an took this picture. I am not sure what kind of tree it is.

Later the next day I find that Buddha, meditated to enlightment under a tree (Bodji Tree) that looks very similar to this. Interesting that I should happen across it the first day of my Zen retreat after the suffering of the journey…