Posts Tagged ‘contemplation’

Zen practice

January 22, 2010

Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.

— Sheng-yen (1931- )

Taken from Zen, a beautifully illustrated book of Zen writings.

For my lovely friend Sian.

Also see

Like the Flowing River

Four haiku by Basho

January 21, 2010

Autumn –
Even the birds
and clouds look old.

Year’s end,
all corners
of this floating world, swept.

Cormorant fishing:
how stirring,
how saddening.

Not last night,
not this morning;
melon flowers bloomed.

Haiku taken from Zen, a beautifully illustrated book of Zen writings.

Haiku is a minimalist form of only seventeen syllables. Like koans, they give an insight.

An excellent guide to the work of Japanese Zen master and poet Basho (1644-1894) is A Zen Wave by Robert Aitkin.

For Sian to whom I read these four haiku one evening.

Meeting a man of Tao on the way

January 19, 2010

Goso said: ‘If you meet a man of Tao on the way, greet him neither with words nor with silence. Now tell me, how will you greet him?’

Commentary by Mumon

If you can give an apt answer to the question, it certainly is a matter for congratulation. If you are not yet able to give one, be alert in every aspect of your life.

Poetry by Mumon

If you meet a man of Tao on the way,
greet him neither with words nor silence.
I’ll give him with my fist the hardest blow I can –
get it at once, get it immediately.

‘Meeting a man of Tao on the way’ is taken from The Gateless Gate, a collection of koans by Zen master Wu-men Hui-Kai (1185-1260), a Zen monk and master of the Rinzai school.

The Gateless Gate is reproduced in Zen, a beautifully illustrated guide to Zen.

Koans are an aid to meditation or contemplation. They are paradoxical and enigmatic, for example the classic ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’

Also see

Manual of the Warrior of Light

Gospel of Thomas


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