Fall 2004
North Carolina Zen Center                                             919-542-7411
390 Ironwood Road                                                         http://www.nczencenter.org/
Pittsboro, NC 27312-6754                                             info@nczencenter.org

A Talk on Case 18 of the Mumonkan.
A monk asked Tozan, "What is Buddha?"  Tozan replied, "Three pounds of flax!"  At this point Sandy carefully brought three double handfuls, one after the next, from his side to in front of him, piling them carefully on the floor.
If you truly grasp Tozan's answer here, you will know that Buddhism and Zen are nothing but huge piles of human excrement.  You will also know the true nature of human compassion and friendliness.
Anyway, don't take the words Three pounds of flax as a statement of the ultimate truth. They are Tozan's example of how to demonstrate a completely seamless relationship, destroying the barrier between self and other.  
Here's another example: Joshu visited Rinzai, who at the time was washing his feet.  Joshu asked, "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?" This is the same question as What is Buddha, the same as What is the essential principle of Buddhism? Rinzai replied, "I am washing my feet!"  Sandy too, leaned back and brought his bare left foot from under his robe and carefully began to work loose the dirt from between his toes.
Moment after moment new situations arise.  At this point there was the loud bark of Sandy's dog from the zendo porch. Sandy said, "When the dog barked, we were all inundated by the sound in seamless relationship!"
Later he added: "We don't need any isms to live our lives as true and compassionate persons.  The isms can be helpful guides.  But the main necessity is to enter into seamless relationship with our environment and the people we meet.
Nowadays, many persons are feeling hopeless.  There is an awful war in Iraq.  Many people are dying in the Sudan and other places.  What can we do?"

"My suggestion is to follow the examples of Tozan and Rinzai.  Discard preconceptions and meet life with compassion, courage and honesty."

Leaves falling easily from the trees
create huge piles that the dogs delight in
and the worms turn to succulent feasts
for the trees' Spring feast.

 Zazenkai at Brooks Branch - January 12 19, 2005. Please send a deposit to the center or call for more information.

  Last summer after the Southern Dharma retreat Sandy and several of his students and one of their wives went to the Mountain View prison for an all day sit. It was a powerful experience and one of the results was a small donation of books to the group there. In a thank you letter Sam Dubois, one of the inmates wrote:
  "It is interesting that we sit for and with all beings.  We pray for the well being of all beings and say we will remain in the practice until all beings know enlightenment. Then when I am face to face with someone or hear/read about someone with whom I disagree, well, I forget that this is who I am sitting and praying with; that this is my precious teacher if I will only allow them to be.
  Then things happen to bring us back to our true nature, to remind us how very fortunate we are, how precious our human life and how vast the opportunities we have.
 ...to remember that no one can practice for us, but it is such a joy to practice with others..."

 The fall weekend was attended by sixteen sitters. We were grateful to have Roxanne Henderson who, as tenzo, no matter the numbers appearing for any meal, was able to adapt and feed us all deliciously. The other officers were Matt and Kim Young, Be Gardiner, Barbara Gordon and, of course, Sandy served us all as osho.
   As well as offering interview opportunities he lectured on the 16th case of the Mumonkan in which Ummon asks, "The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your kesa at the sound of the bell?" Sandy linked this koan to the question of why, being already enlightened, we practice.

  We are in the process of completely revamping our address lists.
  Some of you may have received an e-mail request  to respond if you wished to continue receiving the Kaihan electronically. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing who failed to respond because they no longer wanted to be included and those who never received the message. So, for those of you who didn't respond we are sending this newsletter to your physical address if we have one.  If you want off our lists altogether, please let ambez@fastransit.net know, or send a note to the center.
  If you are receiving this by surface mail and would like to get it electronically, again, make ambez@fastransit.net  aware of your choice.
 Thanks for your patience and help with this.

  Workers have been Michael Brown, Matt Young, Anna Madden, Be Gardiner, Roswitha Bauer, Bill Stephens, Jennifer Armstrong, John Iler, Jason Dowdle, Alan Haskins, Pam Berger, Chen Elder, Brad Page, and Linda Campany.
   The following have contributed to the general fund: Roxanne Henderson, Shawn and Anna Madden, Melody Ivins, Jennifer Armstrong, Be Gardiner, Linda Campany, Andy Bell, John Iler, BJ O'Brien, Catherine Boston, Barbara Gordon, Brad Page, Roswitha Brauer, Chen Elder, Christine Nelson, Jason Dowdle, Matt and Kim Young
   While contributors to the matching funds for the building fund include Tom Dow, Stefano Ponte and Lisa Richey, Barbara Gordon, David Dyer, Richard Kelley, Be Gardiner, Shawn and Anna Madden, Roswitha Brauer, John Iler, Maureen Myoko Vivino, Virginia Hill, Beverly Brown, Philip Castevens, Carter and Madelyn Smith, Gerald Bolas, Heidi Saugen, Andy and Jennifer Angyal, Bill Mayhew, Penny Rauckis, Aline Kala,  Julian Sikes, Jim Barefoot, Caroline Gardiner, Robert Winot, Kirsten & Jay Coghan, Michael Miciak, Pam Berger, Nancy and David Mullins, Judith Ferster, Preston Boggess, Cardinal Brook Trust, Daphne Jones, Barry Snyder, Imogen Ulrich, Edye Groseclose, Chizo Wagner, Edgar and Rita Kann, Jeff Duffey, Roman Loewen, Robert Walker, Linda Campany, BJ and Dina O'Brien, and Anne Animus.
  Material donations came from Amelia Bare, John Iler, and Alan Haskins.
  Currently we have met the matching monies goal for the initial $7,500 offer and have also received enough to match a third of the second offer. This means that currently we need another $5,000 to meet both matches and finish the two buildings now underway.

Back to Kaihan List  |  Summer 04  |  Winter 05  |  Home  |  Welcome