Roots
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
5M ago
Painting: “Roots” Tripdych by Roshi Robert Althouse (www.althouseart.com) From “Diary of a Hungry Ghost” by Robert Joshin Althouse From the still silence of a single, small seed, come plants, trees, humans, and animals. From a plant seed first comes a tap root, reaching down into the cool dark earth. Here the root gathers water and nutrients to sustain the plants growth upwards towards the sun. The leaves of the plant in return help strengthen the roots to grow further. Did you know that the roots of a cereal rye plant grow 3 miles of roots a day in good soil? In a single season it grows 387 m ..read more
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The Conversation Doesn’t Take Place
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
8M ago
There is a famous koan in our Zen tradition about Bodhidharma meeting Emperor Wu. This strange fellow from India blows in on a large Dharmakaya wind and presents himself at court. He must have cut an odd figure in his ragged robes and sandals amidst the formality and finery of the Emperor’s palace. The Emperor was a devout Buddhist and had used his power and wealth to build many Buddhist institutions such as monasteries and temples. The Emperor asks Bodhidharma what is the essential teachings of Chan (Zen), and Bodhidharma replies, “Vast emptiness, no holiness.” In one version of the story the ..read more
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First Noble Truth
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
8M ago
The first teaching Buddha gave after his enlightenment was the four noble truths. He gave a new meaning to the word “noble”. Until that point this word had been used to describe the upper-caste Brahmins in India’s caste system. So Buddha was suggesting someone was noble, not because of their social standing, but because they could open to the truth of suffering. He was suggesting that nobility came from within your own broken heart. He called this truth “dukkha” which literally means a hole in the wheel where the axil goes that is off center. So it’s a bumpy ride. If our suffering is noble, th ..read more
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Shambhala Warrior Prophecy
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
9M ago
This version of the prophecy comes from a twelve-centuries old text from the Kalachaka Tantra in Tibet. The Shambhala Warrior is a metaphor for what we call the “Bodhisattva” in our tradition. “There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. At that time great powers have arisen, barbarian powers, and although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common. Among the things these barbarians have in common are weapons of unfathomable devastation and death and technologies that lay waste to the world. And it is just at this point in our history ..read more
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Congratulations to Genshin and Ungo
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
9M ago
Congratulations to Jacquelyn Genshin Weiner-O’Shea and Patrick Ungo O’Shea on their Jukai ceremony, on Sunday, September 24, 2023 at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago. Genshin means “Source of Truth” and Ungo means “Cloud Abode”. It was such a wonderful and joyous occasion to have these two dedicated practitioners take these Bodhisattva vows together in this rich Jukai ceremony ..read more
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A Marvelous Victory
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
10M ago
“We don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human being should live in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory”. ~ Howard Zinn ..read more
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Gratitude and Living a Life of Openness
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
10M ago
Our Foundation of Mindfulness classes start soon, offering a comprehensive set of teachings on mindfulness and how to begin living a Zen-inspired life that leads to a deeper love and resilience based on joy and compassion. In these classes you will discover that meditation may not be easy to do. It requires patience. And patience is based on trust. To find the deeper truth and love of who you really are, requires letting go and trusting that life is enough. Your life is a seed that will flower if you take good care of it. Practicing mindfulness and meditation is how you can take good care of y ..read more
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Be a person who knows love
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by June Tanoue
10M ago
Kama ‘ia ke aloha a pa’a I loko  Bind love that it may remain fast within  Be a person who knows love.   ‘Olelo No’eau by Mary Kawena Pukui #1452, Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings    Maui has been on my mind. Wild hurricane winds combined with Lahaina’s bone dry ‘aina was primed for a spark maybe from a downed electric pole that caused a horrifying conflagration. The death toll continues to rise (115 at this writing) and the number of missing continues to fluctuate. Many of the dead were burned alive as they could not get away from the fire ..read more
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Memorial Service for Maui
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
11M ago
We will hold a special Memorial Service on Sunday, August 20, 2023 for all those who died in the fires on Maui. We will attempt to collect as many names as possible and read them out loud during the service. Service will begin at 8:15 AM, at the Zen Center. We are also collection financial donations for the Maui Relief effort. Once we have collected funds, we will send one check to a relief organization working on Maui. As we get more information on this, we will fill in the specifics. To make a donation, please send a check or use our donate button on this website, and make a note with your c ..read more
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Restoration of the World
Zen Life & Meditation Center Blog
by Robert Althouse
11M ago
I remember this story I heard, and I’m not sure who told it to me. It could have been Bernie Roshi or perhaps it was Rabbi Singer. In any case, it’s a Jewish teaching called the Tikkun Olam in Hebrew, about the restoration or repairing of the world. It goes something like this. In the beginning, there was just darkness. It was the source of life, known as the Ein Sof. Our world was created from this sacred darkness. It emerged out of this darkness as the ten thousand things, as a great ray of light. But then, there was an accident. The vessel containing this light broke, and the wholeness of t ..read more
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