TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 6
INTRODUCTION 10

COMING ALIVE


1. ONE INCH SITTING, ONEINCH BUDDHA 19
2. FROST GATHERING ON SNOW 26
3. HALF MOON MAKES FULL HALO 30
4. THE ART OF RECEIVING 32
5. RENUNCIATION 37
6. BUDDHA’S LIFE-GIVING PRECEPTS 43
7. YOUR TEACHER IS FOUND IN YOUR PRACTICE 45
8. SPIRIT OF COOKING 53
9. BREAKING THE SKIN BORN OF MOTHER 56
10. TWO SCHOOLS, ONE SAMADHI 65
11. THE SOUND OF THE BELL 71
12. CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ORIGINAL NATURE 75
13. LIFE OF VOW: GOING STRAIGHT
ON A 99 MILE CURVE 84
14. LEAVES FALL 93

THE TREASURE


15. INTIMATE STUDY 100
16. TAKING THE BACKWARD STEP 108
17. ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN LOSS 118
18. DIAMOND AND COAL, THE PURE HEART
OF PRACTICE 128
19. YOU CAN’T GET OFF THE TRAIN 138
20. THE RIVER LONGS TO RETURN TO THE OCEAN 150
21. FINDING OURSELVES JUST AS WE ARE 157
22. DOING FOR THE THING ITSELF 163

AS IT IS

23. SONOMAMA 172
24. A LOTUS IN YOUR GARDEN 179
25. THINGS AS IT IS 182
26. THE DEAD FAWN 190
27. SHIKAN TAZA: SITTING QUIETLY AND DOING NOTHING 194
28. PLUM BLOSSOMS 207
29. THE WORDLESS PROCLAMATION 214
30. TURNING YOUR RADIANCE INWARD 222
Appendix 237

ONE INCH SITTING, ONE INCH BUDDHA

When the sun first comes up and shines on you, he said, your shadow is big behind you. But as you continue to sit, your shadow gets smaller and smaller, until finally it's just Buddha sitting there.

In the early sixties, at the Zen Center in San Francisco which was also known as Soko-ji, there was a Buddhist priest from Japan who became discouraged because he couldn't speak English very well. He felt so badly about this that he was thinking of giving up and returning to his country. He told this to Suzuki-roshi who responded by inviting the priest to a talk he was giving the next day. But during his lecture Suzuki-roshi only used a total of about twelve English words. He started off with something like, "Today is today." And then he said something in Japanese. Then he said, "Today is not tomorrow." And he followed that with something in Japanese again. Then he said, "Today is absolutely today." And so on. But all the time he was expressing himself with complete confidence from a presence that's beyond our thinking, conceptually-limited mind...

INTIMATE STUDY

Intimacy itself is at the heart of all of Zen. When we are intimate with anything, or with everything, we are simultaneously being intimate with ourselves.

An important part of Zen practice is study. Of course, we study the self through meditation and other activities, but we also study the world, as well as some of the abundant and profound literature that has come out of Zen practice. In each of these ways we are always studying the self. It is a big mistake to think that when we read writings on the lives of some of our ancestors we’re studying about someone besides ourselves because each phrase, letter, and even the space between the letters, is actually pointing toward ourselves. This is the underlying meaning of what we call intimate study. Actually, we might say that intimacy itself is at the heart of all of Zen. When we are intimate with anything, or with everything, we are simultaneously being intimate with ourselves...

SONOMAMA

When you give yourself to practice through and through, which means through and beyond feelings and thoughts, little by little you begin to allow something great to surface, something without beginning or end. That’s “as it is!”

There is some history to the word sonomama I’d like to share with you. During the early eighties I was corresponding with an American monk who was studying with a Zen master off the coast of the Yellow Sea, near Eiheiji. In one of his letters he mentioned the word sonomama because it was similar to the name of our temple and also because it means as it is! (The characters for this word and our temple here on Sonoma Mountain are as follows: So – ancestors; No – capable; Ma – grind and polish; and then we add San – mountain. These characters are very common and capture the same feeling as our Asian temples.) When I read part of his letter it unknowingly planted a seed in my mind which was to grow in the coming seasons...


LINKS

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center 6367 Sonoma Mountain Road, Santa Rosa CA 95404 (707).545.8105
smzc@smzc.net