Tag Archive: zen


Zen-kus

Zen haikus from this amazing Tumblelog Terrace museTerrace muse

Cold mountain – Han Shan

Zen poetry at its finest…..Nature – best teacher

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good is it to brood over the past and fret about the future? Dwell in the simplicity of the present moment. ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche ~ Sojourners Path

via Dwell on the simplicity of the moment — Zen Flash

Zen design

3 Modern living roomMinimalistic lines are the obvious influence of traditional Japanese interiors on contemporary spaces.Balance is key in a zen style home.Simplicity. Clutter is not part of the zen philosophy.This is Rurikou-in temple, KyotoSoftness underfoot creates relaxation in a zen room.Ideally, a zen room would be free from peace disturbing electronic devices.This up to date play on zen styles out each simplistic element.Zen dining areas can be formal too.Keep any accent colors uplifting.If you don't have an outdoor garden, you could always incorporate the zen garden ideal within your interior room, using twisted trees and pebbles.minimalist dining tableSliding doors allow the exterior and interior of this Japanese city loft to organically meld one into the other.Bare essential furnishings keep this living space from feeling cramped or cluttered letting the beauty of its wood and white elements reflect and bounce the natural light.Zen meditation room.The backs on these floor seats are a welcome addition.This window seat complete with tea kettle is a zen box.Natural materials are key.Paper paneled doors never fail to evoke an oriental look, install in doubles for balance.A zen room is a place of harmony.Play with natural light.Zen living room

Free from desire

Zen Flash


Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

–Tao Te Ching-

 

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Excerpts from :- How Meditation Can Help You Get Calm, Relaxed, Healthy & Happy.    http://www.thedailyzen.org/2012/02/4-informal-ways-to-meditate.html

1. By cultivating awareness, meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.  
In some forms of meditation, you practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment by bringing your attention to the cycles of your breath. This centers you in the present moment whenever your mind wanders into the past or the future. By learning to keep the mind’s temporal pendulum in the center, you become mindful in every moment, even when you’re under pressure. Anxieties and traumas from the past begin to fade as you become more involved in the present and less fixated on the story of how you got here. Experiences that previously appeared dull and bland become textured and nuanced leading you to be more involved and interested in your life.
2. By bringing your mind into sharp focus, meditation can help you be your best.
In these forms of meditation, you keep yourself focused on a visualization, a chant, music, a person’s voice, a prayer, or some other object of attention. You may be instructed to imagine a desired future or re-contextualize past experiences.  After a short period of time you’ll, find yourself drawn into your focus and you’ll be effortlessly attentive. This state is very similar to a trance and is extremely useful for achieving specific goals like overcoming fears, becoming more productive, or letting go of dependencies. Many athletes and business-people practice this form of meditation without even realizing that they’re meditating. It can also be of great benefit for spiritual growth such as gaining greater compassion, acceptance, and universal love.
3. When you transcend your ego, meditation helps you discover yourself.
In these forms of meditation, the ideal outcome is to transcend the ego and intellect and directly experience a deeper, unbounded aspect of the self. …………………..Most techniques in this category use mantras (simple repetitive sounds), chosen for their calming effect and sometimes specifically tailored for the individual. Unlike the focus techniques, though, you’re not supposed to keep your mind fixated on the mantra, but rather go through a cycle of repeating it and letting it go; allowing the mind to follow the mantra into quieter states of consciousness.
4. When you control your breath, meditation energizes your body.
You may be surprised to know that some forms of meditation are supposed to energize the body and mind rather than calm it. When you hear someone say “exercise is my meditation,” this is what they are talking about. The runner’s high is a well known experience in which inner calm is combined with maximum performance. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience runner’s high and athletes could benefit greatly from refining it. The most common techniques for energizing the body revolve around breath control. In India, the subtle energy flow from the breath is called “prana.” In China, it’s referred to as “chi,” but whatever you call it the result is the same. The nervous system is stimulated and balanced leading to a feeling of flow. In this state, you feel tapped into a deeper source of energy; you’ll be less prone to injuries when you run and you’ll be able to move deeper into your yoga poses.

4 Informal Ways to Meditate

We sometimes think of meditation as being this rigid activity that must be performed under such and such circumstances.  Seated Zen practice is the ideal, but not the only option.  Meditation isn’t about sitting there and thinking you’re doing something important; it’s about detaching from thought and existing as purely as one can in the present moment.  

As you can imagine, this can be achieved in many activities.  In Zen monasteries, every menial day-to-day activities are attended to as means of meditation.  Monks ritually clean the floors, do their dishes, trim the bushes outside and rake the gardens.  There are a remarkable amount of meditative activities.  Here’s a very short list…

1.  Do the dishes.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou to teach him. Zhaozhou asked, “Have you eaten your meal?” The monk replied, “Yes, I have.” “Then go wash your bowl”, said Zhaozhou.  At that moment, the monk was enlightened.”

Living in a basic utilitarian apartment without space for a fancy dishwasher, my roommates and I share the responsibility of dish-washing.  I often find myself doing them as a form of meditation.  The repetition of an activity like cleaning a bowl or a utensil (which pile up to incredible heights over time, might I add) serves a similar purpose to counting the breath or repeating a mantra.  The whole point is just to practice mindfulness.  

2.  Walk.
Walking is akin to sitting with your eyes closed.  That sounds ridiculous, right? Not at all.  It’s been said that closed eyes are like a ‘movie screen for the ego’.  When you close your eyes and try to meditate for the first time, thoughts bombard you from every which way.  

Walking involves a similar level of constant stimulation.  As you walk, your field of view is constantly changing, and you have no choice but to pay attention to it.  Meditative walking involves treating the sights you come across as one treats thoughts in meditation.  Just let them pass naturally and don’t dwell.

3.  Clean your desk.
This is another highly productive meditative task.  Throw things away.  Sort papers.  Clean your keyboard.  Do some dusting.  Before long, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in these activities.  Your desk will also end up pretty damn clean.  

4.  Eat
I’ve discussed this before here.  Fully involve yourself with your food.  Stare at it.  Smell it.  Savor each bite.  This is preferably done in private, since you don’t want to be the strange person at the restaurant who looks like he’s about to make passionate love to his food.  

Modern culture teaches us to wolf food down in mass quantities without any appreciation or acknowledgement of what we’re eating.  Take a minute and meditate on the act of eating.  You’ll enjoy your food more, eat less compulsively, and find mindful tranquility in the process.

When you are grateful, you are happy

mindfulness…………gratitude

Zen Flash

“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Spiritual Ecology

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Zen Flash

The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves "inside the skin" of the other. We "go inside" their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering. </p><p>Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another's suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, "to suffer with.</p><p>So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.</p><p>Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha.</p><p>~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
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The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other. We “go inside” their body, feelings, and mental formations, and witness for ourselves their suffering.Shallow observation as an outsider is not enough to see their suffering. We must become one with the subject of our observation. When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means, literally, “to suffer with.So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.

Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not…

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Zen Flash

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked. “Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

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Do not try to become anything

Zen Flash

  • Let go (zenflash.wordpress.com)

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Nothing ever goes away

Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?

Excerpts from     Does Mindfulness Stress You Out?.

What Is Mindfulness?

………….“We are not trying to actively achieve a state of deep relaxation or any other state for that matter, while practicing mindfulness… But increasingly, by opening to an awareness of how things actually are in the present moment, we often taste very deep states of relaxation and well-being-of both body and mind.”

Perhaps it’s helpful to list a few terms that point to the essence of mindfulness:

  • Awareness
  • Presence
  • “Being” rather than “doing”
  • Quieting the mind
  • Stillness
  • Attentiveness
  • Non-judgmental noticing

Mindfulness is not a modern spiritual movement. It’s not a new-age fad. It’s simply you at your most natural state of being. It’s a practical everyday phenomenon that you’ve already experienced without even labeling it. Have you ever just stared into the flame of a flickering candle? Or the intricate petals of a flower? Have you watched the twitching nose of a sleeping puppy? That was mindfulness. It required nothing of you other than to be there.

Then Why Does The Concept Stress Me Out?

There’s a lot of pressure to be perfectionist in our pursuits. Perhaps you’ve read a book or watched the news and internalized someone else’s idea of what it means to be mindful. Maybe you tried it a few times and determined that your experience didn’t match up with their description of what it should feel like. So you got frustrated and you quit. “It’s too hard.” “I’m terrible at it.”

I’m here to say that you’re not terrible at it. You don’t have to subscribe to a method, you don’t have to attend a retreat, you don’t have to spend any money, and you don’t have to expect a certain outcome. That statement will threaten a lot of people- the money makers, the retreat schedulers, the devout practitioners of a certain faith. Frankly, I don’t care. I’m not a shareholder.

So How Should I Approach It?

Like I mentioned earlier, try staring into a gently flickering flame. Pick a flower and explore its perfect imperfections. Engage your senses by smelling the flower, feeling its petals, noticing how your feet come into contact with the floor, the entire experience of just being in that moment.

………….Your mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be involved with right or wrong. It doesn’t have to feel a certain way or produce a certain result. Maybe it will have certain results – and you can simply notice those as they arise. In that moment.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

A solemn traditional Japanese tea ceremony conducted with deliberateness.

Beautiful kimono. Oh and, for you all who don’t see the reason for going through “all that trouble,” the tea ceremony is about more than the drinking of tea — and at the same time, it is about less. More about being quiet and meditative, thoughtful and deliberate, graceful and simple. It is about entering a calm, meditative state of mind and momentarily slipping into a more intimate relationship with those present. Not about guzzling tea. Though the tea does have meaning itself. Look it up.