His Holiness the Dalai Lama says that one day there will be world peace through inner peace. Our beloved Zen Master, Seung Sahn told us that the meaning of life is to attain a clear mind and then help save all beings from suffering. Right now, world wide many people are attached to their little “I” which focuses only on I, my, me. This “I”, run by the ego, causes people to compare themselves to others. This little “I” can be consumed by suffering, envy, anger, hatred, ignorance and greed. Throughout history, many humans have only known their little ego “I”. Therefore, we have a world that is desperate, a world of greed, inequality and war. Through the way of Zen, we meditate on the Big “I”. This practice slowly brings feelings of completeness without needing comparison to anyone. Eventually, your mind will hear the cries of the world, and only want to help. To your partner, your family, your work colleagues, your community, county and the world your mind will ask “how may I help you?” Start very small, and most of all, start with yourself. Heal yourself from your childhood trauma, your life disappointments, betrayals and failures. Then you are ready to use that inner peace to make a real change in your country and the world. Begin now, time is getting late. Yours in the Dharma with Love, Joyce
“Moment by moment, I make the choice to either hook into my neuro-circuitry or move back into the present moment, allowing my triggered reaction to melt away into a fleeting response.” By Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD.
I would like to praise Dr. Taylor’s book “My Stroke of Insight”. In Chapter 17 she speaks of owning her own power to choose to attach to thoughts or to let them go. This brain specialist speaks of the insights she gained from having a debilitating Left brain stroke in 1996, then slowly making a full recovery over the next eight years. Since she specialized in the study of the brain, she says that her stroke was the best thing that ever happened to her! After recovering she offers wonderful discoveries about the way our brains work in her book and via a Ted talk. One fact coming from scientific brain studies is that we all contain certain emotional programs (in our limbic system) that can be automatically triggered. Lets say an angry response is triggered, it releases a chemical response which surges through the body and leaves within 90 seconds. If I am angry for more than 90 seconds it is because I have chosen to let that circuit continue to run (remember the old advice to count slowly to ten, before expressing anger?). In Zen, if we remain angry, we call that attaching to a fleeting thought. Dr. Taylor comes to so many conclusions about how the brain works, that to me, it scientifically validates what the Buddha learned about the mind, over 2500 years ago. Truly amazing!!! Through Zen meditation, we can slowly but deeply study our own brain. Then we can choose to release thoughts including painful, angry, jealous thoughts and engage completely in the moment. We can even choose to engage with kindness and compassion. As our beloved Zen Master Seung Sahn said so often, “clear your mind and then help save all beings from suffering”. Wishing you continued blessings on your Zen journey. Yours in the Dharma with Love, Joyce
“Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking. sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen”. By Bodhidharma
For me, some thirty years ago, this concept opened up a whole new world. I had thought that most people had clear minds that didn’t chatter and ruminate on all manner of things. When I learned that this mental chatter is a universal human function, that fact alone was life changing. But by learning to ignore my “monkey mind’s” chatter and focus on the present moment, each day became more completely lived. What a true blessing!!! Yours in the Dharma, with love, Joyce
“Zen explains nothing, and analyses nothing. It simply aims backwards, pointing directly at our mind, so that we can awaken!” By Zen Master Seung Sahn
What is more important than knowing our self? As the new year begins, I recommit myself to sit quietly everyday. But also, I commit again to returning to the present moment throughout my waking hours: moment by moment. In this way I hope to be able to help save sentient beings from suffering. Wishing a great year to all. Yours in the Dharma with Love, Joyce
A great Zen Master and 28th patriarch of Buddhism is named Bodhidharma. It is said that he traveled from India to the Port of Canton in southern China around the year 500 AD. He sat solo in the Shaolin Caves for nine years. After this experience he proclaimed “Mind makes everything”. Zen Master Seung Sahn said “if you don’t make anything, you get everything.” As this year ends and 2019 begins, lets all recommit to discovering the inner workings of our own minds through meditation. This way, we can increasingly be able to save all beings from suffering, starting with ourselves. Yours in the Dharma with love, Joyce
Around 500 BC the Chinese Philosopher Loa Tzu said “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things everyday”.
I recently stumbled upon a book written by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor entitled “My Stroke of Insight”. Amazingly, she recounts that in 1996 after having a ATV stroke, she lost the use of her left brain. She fully recovered about eight years later. In her 2007 book, she recounts how she was unable to understand words or talk, walk, read or write, or recall any part of her life history. She also lost her orientation to time and her proprioception (body position in space including the awareness of her physical boundaries). Of this experience she says: “The essence of your energy expands as it blends with the energy around you, and you sense you are as big as the universe. Those little voices in your head, reminding you of who you are and where you live become silent. You loose the memory connection to your old emotional ‘self’ and the richness of this moment, right here and right now, captivates your perception. By stepping to the right of our left brains, we can all uncover the feelings of peace and well-being that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter.” Dr. Taylor was convinced that her stroke was the best thing that could have ever happened to her.
Amazingly enough, those who have cultivated a strong and deep meditation practice can also experience this wonderful sense of universal connection and sense of well-being. Overtime, science is proving that one can rewire their brain, to not attach to one’s ignorance, anger and greed. This allows one to be present moment to moment, with a sense of the miraculous , and a desire to be helpful rather than bitter and angry in this very lifetime. Dr. Taylor’s anecdotal story illustrates the wisdom that can come either from a certain type of stroke or meditation. I am so glad that I didn’t wait until a stroke might have changed my life. Blessings to all those searching for a better frame of reference during this brief lifetime. Yours in the Dharma, Joyce
A Zen teaching of Huang-Po: “There is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings. But sentient beings are attached to name and form, so they seek externally for Buddha-hood.”
A Buddha and a Bodhisattva lives within each of us. To discover this, we need to learn how to put down our “I, my, me” and not attach to our ego monkey mind. Then our own Buddha and Bodhisattva will be appear.
We can find everything we need only on the inside. Some people want unconditional love from others and then they believe they will feel complete. But you may have to wait a long time to get true unconditional love from the outside (with maybe the exception of a mother, father or a good dog). And even if you get that unconditional love, there is little hope it will make you feel totally complete. It’s been my experience that you can first find unconditional love living within yourself. After you find that, you will feel complete and then you will be able to give it to your partner, family, friends and even the whole world.
Best wishes on the Zen practice journey. Yours in the Dharma with love, Joyce