September 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Bamboo 0048

Smoke from a pipe drifts in the September air.

All about, monks are engaged in rigorous training.

For some time a servant in the temple has been neglecting his main job of preparing meals.  He’s been doing zazen.

Some days ago he entered a deep Samadhi.  Other monks kept an eye on him until finally, after three days; he got up from his zazen cushion.

“He had penetrated the heart and marrow of the Dharma,” writes Hakuin in a 1734 letter.  “And had attained an ability to clearly see the karma of his previous lives.”

He went to the head priest but before he could set forth his entire realization the priest said, “Stop!  Stop!  The rest is something I have yet to experience.  If you explain it to me, I’m afraid it might obstruct my own entrance into enlightenment.”


Hsiang-yen was quite learned in the Buddhist sutras but for years he made little headway in his meditations.  He made up his mind to leave the temple and take up residence in a solitary hermitage.  When he left, his teacher Kuei-shan didn’t even look at him.

One day a tile picked up by the broom hit a bamboo stalk and Hsiang-yen was immediately enlightened.  After this he said, “It is not my late teacher’s religious virtue I revere.  I revere the fact that he never once explained everything to me.”


It is with these events in mind that I pray the blunderings written here in “August Meditations” not lead you off the path.


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