Kusen on The song of the Grass-roof hut by Sekito
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1M ago
Richard Reishin Collins Spring “Cicada” Sesshin, 24-26 May 2024 Stone Nest Dojo, Sewanee The Spring Sesshin at Stone Nest Dojo of Sewanee Zen took place near the end of May, with a small group of practitioners, some who had practiced some ten or twenty years, some fewer, and one who had never practiced zazen at all. Over the course of three days of intimate and intense practice, sitting, working, and eating together, the Abbot gave a series of kusen (talks during zazen) on Sekito’s “Song of the Grass-Roof Hut.” This is a transcription of the talks that were recorded and a reconstruction of th ..read more
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Kusen on The song of the Grass-roof hut by Sekito
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1M ago
Richard Reishin Collins Spring “Cicada” Sesshin, 24-26 May 2024 Stone Nest Dojo, Sewanee The Spring Sesshin at Stone Nest Dojo of Sewanee Zen took place near the end of May, with a small group of practitioners, some who had practiced some ten or twenty years, some fewer, and one who had never practiced zazen at all. Over the course of three days of intimate and intense practice, sitting, working, and eating together, the Abbot gave a series of kusen (talks during zazen) on Sekito’s “Song of the Grass-Roof Hut.” This is a transcription of the talks that were recorded and a reconstruction of th ..read more
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THE YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO: ICHI-GO, ICHI-E
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1M ago
Richard Reishin Collins, Abbot Kusen, Stone Nest Dojo, 19 May 2024 Yesterday, as I was reading in my study, I heard a thump against the glass of the outside doors. When I looked to see what had caused the noise, I saw a bird twitching on the bricks, but it didn’t twitch for long. It was a yellow-billed cuckoo, its long tail-feathers beautifully dappled, as though a painter had taken pains with each stroke. It was still warm with recent life and pliant, draped across my palm, head hanging down, and its white breast was plush and soft and still, its eyes black as glass beads and dead. Sometim ..read more
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A GLIMPSE OF IT
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
11M ago
Zen poetry comes in many forms. There are the essential ancient wisdom poems by masters, like the Shodoka, the Shinjinmei, and the Hokyo Zanmai. There are koan poems and poems that comment on koans. There are poetry contests, like the one described in the Platform Sutra. There are satori poems and death poems. There are philosophical waka and lightbulb haiku. What they all have in common is that they give “a glimpse of it.” Early on in my Zen practice I published a series of 52 poems, one for each week of that first year of practice, that became the series Bodhidharma’s Eyelids, published in t ..read more
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Integrity
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
A talk given at Stone Nest Dojo by Richard Collins, 28 May 2023 An integer is a positive natural number or a negative number, with no fractional part, and includes zero. One thing that we see in the Zen masters whom we read about from long ago is that they had integrity. This doesn’t mean that they were perfect, or morally upright, certainly not confined by some rigid ethical code. On the contrary. It means that they were wholly themselves, authentic, vivid, unique, unpredictable, possibly eccentric.  The root of the word integrity is integer, from the Latin, which means “intact,” who ..read more
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DECIDE!
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
A talk given at the sesshin, 13 May 2023, New Orleans Zen Temple, by Richard Reishin Collins, Abbot Sometimes we have to be a sangha of one. We hear all the time about the Three Treasures: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. These can be very abstract terms, however, so I always encourage you to nail those down to concrete, recognizable examples in your life, anchoring these abstractions in your experience. For example: Buddha is the posture; Dharma is breathing; Sangha, attitude of mind. We can find buddhas everywhere, all around us, if we just pay attention. It doesn’t have to be something on an alta ..read more
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Direction without Goals
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
Most people’s direction is determined by their goals. In Zen our goals are determined by our direction. Twenty years ago, almost to the day, I attended my first sesshin. It was also the sesshin when I was ordained, 30 September 2001. I was just forty-nine, but I remember it was very painful for my aging bones -- my knees blew up like overripe melons. Still, it was exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be. No, not “wanted” exactly, but rather where I knew I belonged. It was not long after 9/11 and my wife was pregnant with our daughter Isabel. I was pregnant too. Sometime ..read more
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Fathers and Fathers
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
It’s Father’s Day. Maybe a good time to consider the lineage and some of the implications of patriarchy, fatherhood, responsibility. There is the koan that asks: what is your original face before your parents were born? Some people will take this as an invitation to think about an essential spirit or soul, like Wordsworth in his poem about “intimations of immortality'', where he says that the child before birth comes “not in entire forgetfulness” but somewhat ready-made and “trailing clouds of glory” before he or she is incarnated. But this is not what we mean at all. This would assume that we ..read more
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No-Self Portraiture
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
In zazen we are all nude models for ourselves. Concentrate! Stretch the backbone. Head presses the sky. When we say “concentrate,” this has nothing to do with thinking. It is not like studying for an exam. It is more like making a fist, except that it is effortless. It is more like a yawn or a sneeze or laughter: whole-hearted, spontaneous, yet silent and invisible. Mind is concentrated in the body like tea in hot water, infused. Last night I was reading Notes of a Nude Model. The author talks about the amateurs, those models who don’t last, the ones who are self-conscious, who have an infla ..read more
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SEWANEE SANGHA
New Orleans Zen Temple
by Richard Collins
1y ago
For the past couple of months I have been practicing with the Sewanee Sangha, a student-led sitting group at the University of the South. Sam Kearley leads the group with great commitment, and the university has been very supportive, dedicating space in the Meditation Chapel of the beautiful All Saints’ Chapel. We sit for only a half-hour, but I have to say that it is a bright beginning to my day, starting with the drive to campus through the burning reds and oranges of the falling leaves, with sightings of deer and the occasional red fox on the way. Then the short walk through the crisp autum ..read more
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