Sesshin Thursday 26th 6pm – Thurs 2nd August 3pm 2018, check the events page
For more details about our retreat and photos see
Der Friends a poems for or grief at the loss of our great trees.This week at DZG we explored this feeling, the loss of ourselves uprooted and smashed. Also touching into the mystery emptiness and of nature and the impermanence of all things and the preciousness of this moment. Thank you to all who participated and love to everyone
When Great Trees Fall A poem by Maya Angelou
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
Koan on the worldly winds:
The wordly winds feature in a famous poem by Su Tung P'o: "The eight winds blow, upright I sit in a purple-gold lotus." Su Tung P'o sent his poem to the Great Master Fo Yin who in reply criticized him saying, "fart, fart". As soon as Su Tung P'o saw these words, he could not put them down, and went off to find the Great Master Fo Yin to chastise him. He wanted to tell the Master that he had written an enlightened poem:
I bow to the god among gods;
His hair-light illumines the world.
Unmoved when the eight winds blow,
Upright I sit in a purple-gold lotus.
How could he possibly reply "fart, fart"?
When the Great Master Fo Yin criticized him, not only did Su Tung P’o fart, but he blazed, and wanted to scorch Fo Yin to death. So he ran from south of the Yangtze River to north of the Yangtze to scold this Dharma Master Fo Yin. When he arrived he burst into the Master’s quarters without ceremony. “Oh, how can you possibly scold a Bodhisattva like that, and slander him like that saying, fart, fart?”
"Sit quietly then", Fo Yin the Great Master said, "Who was I slandering? You said that you were unmoved by the winds of the eight directions, but just let go two small farts and you're blown all the way from south of the Yangtze to north of the Yangtze. You still say that the winds of the eight directions don't move you? Don't say eight winds, it is but my two farts that have bounced you all the way up here."
For Dharma Friends post cyclone marcus clean up the Buddha's teachings on the Worldly Winds that blow us off course:
These conditions among human beings
subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don't charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming & rebelling are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Other Shore.
From the Lokavipatti Sutta
At DZG retreats we offer mindful body practice including conscious movement with Jenny Devlin. See stills from conscious movement video installation set in the bush by Amy Amos Gebhardt. (dzg not usually nude!)
Recently enjoyed the art gallery SA biennial. Quite a few zen themes to enjoy.
? Hungry ghosts from a painting by Guan Wei part of a series he painted whilst working in remote communities in NT.
A koan for cyclone marcus in Darwin Cat 2
From the Blue Cliff Record collection of koans case 27
A student asked the Zen Master Yunmen, “When the tree withers and the leaves fall what then?
Yunmen replied, “Golden wind manifesting itself.”
Much love Justine
This months koan for our dharma talk and zazenkai
CASE 38. WU-TSU’S BUFFALO PASSES THROUGH THE WINDOW.
The zen guide or teacher Wu-tsu said to his dharma friends, “It is like a buffalo that passes through a latticed window. It’s head, horns and four legs all pass through. Why can’t its tail pass through as well?
If you can get upside down with this one, discern it clearly, and give a turning word to it, then you can meet the Four Obligations above and give comfort to the Three Existences below. But if it is not clear, pay close attention to the tail and you will resolve it at last.
Passing through, falling in a ditch;
Turning beyond all is lost.
This tiny little tail –
What a wonderful thing it is!
Taken from the 13thC collection of koans the Gateless Barrier compiled by Wumen.
Thank you for all those supporting DZG over Dec and Jan so far. Please enjoy this months koan to contemplate from the Gateless Barrier Collecton of Koans compiled by Wumen in 13thC China and I look forward to Simply Being with you again:
CASE 44. PA-CHIAO’S STAFF.
The Zen teacher Pa-chiao said to his assembly: If you have a staff, I will give you a staff. If you have no staff, I will take a staff from you.”
The later zen guide WU-MEN wrote the COMMENT.
It helps you to cross the stream when the bridge is down. It guides you back to the village on a moonless night. If you call it a staff, you enter hell like an arrow.
And WU-MEN’S VERSE pointing to the answer to this koan
The depths and shallows of the world
Are all in his grasp;
It supports the heavens and sustains the earth –
Everywhere it enhances the doctrine.
HAPPY NEW YEAR DZG FRIENDS! We don't usually chant this version of the Heart Sutra but it is in our sutra books. Looking forward to Simply Being with you love justine
This Wed our festive gathering after the weekly zazen. Please bring a plate to share. DZG will continue with koans and inquiry towards the end of January. enjoy the festive season. A season beyond ying and yang.
MAKING THE WHOLE WORLD WHOLE AND COMPLETE AGAIN: Case 87 from the Blue Cliff Record Collection
Yunmen said to the assembly, ‘Medicine and sickness mutually correspond to each other. The whole universe is medicine. What is the self?'
The whole world is medicine:
Why have the Ancients been so mistaken?
I don’t make the carriage behind closed doors –
The road is naturally quiet and empty.
Though they be as high as the sky, your nostrils have still been pierced.
DZG Bodhisattvas at Climate Action Darwin campaign to Stop Adani Mine
Next weeks talk on the koan from the Gateless Barrier Collection of Koans compiled by the Zen Master Wumen. We look forward to seeing you then. love justine
CASE 22. MAHAKASYAPA’S FLAGPOLE.
Ananda (The Buddha's younger relative) asked Mahakasyapa (the Buddha's Dharma Heir),
“The World-Honoured One transmitted the robe of gold brocade to you. What else did he transmit to you?”
Mahakasyapa said, “Ananda!”
Ananda answered, “Yes!”
Mahakasyapa said, “Knock down the flagpole at the gate.”
The later teacher WU-MEN’s COMMENT:
If you can give a turning word that is intimate with the case, then you will see that the meeting at Mount Grdhrakuta is still vigorously in session. If you cannot, then the first ancient Buddha, who has been striving from earliest times has not yet attained true subtlety.
“The call is good, the answer is intimate”-
How many discuss this with glaring eyes.(wisdom eyes -ie have had their eyes opened.)
Elder brother calls, younger brother answers- the family disgrace;
There is a spring that does not belong to Yin and Yang.
NT BAN FRACKING RALLY bringing together Aboriginal communities, farmers, those concerned wth the environment, climate change and wildlife. One Heart-Mind to protect our water and land.
Like other DZG friends we call for an end to human rights abuses on Manus
The Teacher in Everything:
In taking up Zen Buddhism, we find that the life of the Buddha is our own life. Not only Shakyamuni’s life, but the lives of all the succeeding teachers in our lineage are our own lives. As Wu-men Hui-k’ai has said, in true Zen practice our very eyebrows are tangled with those of our ancestral teachers, and we see with their eyes and hear with their ears. This is not because we copy them, or change to be like them. I might explain Wu-men’s words by saying that in finding our own true nature, we find the true nature of all things, which the old teachers so clearly showed in their words and actions. But the authentic experience of identity is intimate beyond explanation. And it’s not only with old teachers that we find complete intimacy. The Chinese thrush sings in my heart and gray clouds gather in the empty sky of my mind. All things are my teacher.
On the Zen path, we seek for ourselves the experience of Shakyamuni. However, we do not owe fundamental allegiance to him, but to ourselves and to our environment. If it could be shown that Shakyamuni never lived, the myth of his life would be our guide. In fact it is better to acknowledge at the outset that myths and religious archetypes guide us, just as they do every religious person. The myth of the Buddha is my own myth.
Thus, it is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself. In this spirit, you invest yourself in your practice, confident of your heritage, and train earnestly side by side with your sisters and brothers. It is this engagement that brings peace and realization.
Robert Aitken (my teacher Subhana's teacher)
DZG retreat/sesshin 2018 Thursday 26th July 6pm until Thursday 2nd August includes Friday 27th Show Day Weekend.
PLEASE PLAN YOUR LEAVE. IT IS UNLIKELY THAT WE WILL OFFER PART-TIME PLACES NEXT YEAR
For more information please email@example.com
The koan form our zazenaki as requested: CASE 45 from the Gateless Barrier Collection, WU-TSU: “WHO IS THAT OTHER?”
The teacher or guide Wu-tsu said, “Sakyamuni and Maitreya are servants of another. Tell me who is that other?”
The later guide WU-MEN wrote the COMMENT.
If you can see this other and distinguish him or her clearly, then it is like encountering your parent at the crossroads. You will not need to ask somebody whether or not you’re right.
WU-MEN wrote a VERSE on this koan.
Don’t draw another’s bow;
Don’t ride another’s horse;
Don’t discuss another’s faults;
Don’t explore another’s affairs.
Thank you to all those who contributed to our wonderful zazenkai. We missed all our friends who attended our recent sesshin but weren't able to be with us....resting in not knowing:
T. S. Eliot. In his Four Quartets, puts it this way
You say I am repeating
Something I have said before.
I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again?
In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are,
to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way
which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way
in which you are not.
And what you do not know
is the only thing you know
And what you own
is what you do not own
And where you are
is where you are not
The Gate by Marie Howe
I had no idea that the gate I would step throught to finally enter this world
would be the space my brothers body made. He was a little taller than me: a young man
but grown, himself by then
done at twenty eight, having folded every sheet,
rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
and running water.
This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
And I'd say, What?
And he'd say, This - holding up my cheese and mustard sandwhich.
And I'd say, What?
And he'd say, This, sort of looking around.