Moment of Zen

1***Sun Oct 6
Your Moment of Zen: Mutually Dependent Arising When Raven was living near Jackrabbit Roshi, she visited him frequently to inquire about the Way. One day she asked, "I hear that Buddha Macaw looked up from the branch of her Jobo tree and saw the morning star and announced her realization. I get the feeling that something is missing from the story. What happened when she saw the star?"...READ MORE

2***Sun Oct 13
Your Moment of Zen: Metaphysics: Oneness Raven went to see Prairie Dog Roshi. When she announced herself, Prairie Dog poked her head out of her burrow and blinked in the bright sunshine. Raven said, "I hear that Buddha Macaw looked up from the branch of her Jobo tree and saw the morning star and announced her realization. I get the feeling that something is missing from the story. I went to see...READ MORE

3***Sun Oct 20
Your Moment of Zen: Delicious Raven went to see Moose Roshi.
She found him feeding on waterweed in the creek at Cedarford. Perching herself on a rock, she croaked for the Roshi's attention. When Moose looked up, Raven said, "I hear that Buddha Macaw looked up from the branch of her Jobo tree and saw the morning star and announced her realization. I get the feeling that something is missing...READ MORE

4***Sun Oct 27
Your Moment of Zen: Something Still Missing Raven went to see Brown Bear Roshi. Announcing herself, she stood and waited outside the den. Brown Bear eventually emerged and squatted silently on her haunches. Raven said, "I hear that Buddha Macaw looked up from the branch of her Jobo tree and saw the morning star and announced her realization. I get the feeling that something is missing from...READ MORE

5***Sun Nov 3
Your Moment of Zen: Metaphor As they got better acquainted, Raven would ride on Brown Bear's back as Brown Bear foraged for food. When they were setting out one day, Raven asked, "Do you teach exclusively with metaphor?" Brown Bear said, "The robin sings in the oak tree; the finch sings in the madrone." Raven asked, "What do they stand for?" Brown Bear turned her head to look at Raven and...READ MORE

6***Sun Nov 10
Your Moment of Zen: Faith One morning after a round of zazen, Raven asked Brown Bear, "Does faith have a role in practice?" Brown Bear said, "Great faith." Raven asked, "How should I direct it?" Brown Bear said, "One, two, three." READ MORE

7***Sun Nov 17
Your Moment of Zen: The Unborn Relaxing with Brown Bear under the night sky, Raven asked, "What is the unborn?" Brown Bear said, "Awesome." Raven asked, "Is it the same thing as the void?" Brown Bear asked, "Where does all this come from?" READ MORE

8***Sun Nov 24
Your Moment of Zen: Turning Points Raven sat with Brown Bear at zazen early one morning, and afterward she asked, "Why don't we study turning points that are relevant for the forest today?" Brown Bear said, "Ask me a relevant question." Raven asked, "Does the bear hunter have Buddha-nature?" Brown Bear growled, "Mu." "There you go," Raven said. "Mu is an old Asian word." Brown Bear said, "That's the...READ MORE

9***Sun Dec 1
Your Moment of Zen: Character One evening, in a discussion of her personal problems, Raven asked Brown Bear, "What is the role of character in the practice?" Brown Bear said, "I try to keep my promises." Raven said, "I try to keep my promises, too, but I'm easily distracted." Brown Bear said, "The cold wind reminds me." READ MORE

10***Sun Dec 8
Your Moment of Zen: Birth and Death One evening after chanting sutras, Raven said, "Over at Jackrabbit Roshi's community, we were taught that we should be free from birth and death. I've never known how to go about this." Brown Bear said, "That's because it isn't possible." Raven said, "There was a clear implication that it is." Brown Bear lunged at Raven with a horrific snarl. Raven let out a croak and flew to a gray...READ MORE

11***Sun Dec 15
Your Moment of Zen: Thoroughgoing Raven came to Brown Bear's den and walked right into her lair. "Time for me to be moving on," she announced. Brown Bear asked, "What will you say about your study here?" Raven said, "Brown Bear is quite thoroughgoing." Brown Bear said, "Try camping out for a while." READ MORE

12***Sun Dec 22
Your Moment of Zen: Early Students Raven took Brown Bear's instruction, "Try camping out for a while," to heart. She wandered a long time, from forests to upland meadows to icy lakes. Finally, with pinfeathers under her beak getting sparse, she found an abandoned place in a tall spruce tree. She fixed it up, and students began to gather, including Porcupine, who had studied with Coyote Roshi. Other early students...READ MORE

13***Sun Dec 29
Your Moment of Zen: The Dream One fine day Raven took her perch and said to the assembly: "We are children in the dream of the Buddha Macaw. She points to the center of our circle, and the Monarch of the Gods sticks a blade of grass in the ground where she points. Our temple is established, and the Buddha Macaw smiles. The bedrock heaved up from beneath the turf there on the far edge of our circle is her...READ MORE

14***Sun Jan 5
Your Moment of Zen: The Pivot After zazen one evening Porcupine asked, "We examine turning points as our practice. What is the pivot on which this study turns?" Raven said, "The large intestine." Porcupine asked, "So, it's all physical?" Raven said, "All physical, all mental, all moral, all spiritual, all void, all material." Porcupine thought about this and finally asked, "What's the upshot?" Raven said, "Trout in the pool...READ MORE

15***Sun Jan 12
Your Moment of Zen: Ego During one of the early gatherings at Tallspruce, Badger asked Raven, "How can I get rid of my ego?" Raven said, "It's not strong enough." "But I'm greedy," Badger said insistently. "I'm self-centered and I tend to push other folks around." Raven said, "Like I said." READ MORE

16***Sun Jan 19
Your Moment of Zen: The Spirit of Practice Relaxing with the others after zazen one evening, Owl asked, “What is the spirit of practice?” Raven said, “Inquiry.” Owl cocked his head and asked, “What do I inquire about?” Raven said, “Good start.” READ MORE

17***Sun Jan 26
Your Moment of Zen: A Key Issue Woodpecker appeared in the circle one warm summer evening with a guest. "This is mole," she said. "He has life questions but is very timid about coming to meetings. He wants assurances that he is safe," and she cast a look at Badger and Owl.
Raven said, "Well, I'm a predator myself. It's good that we face this issue early." Addressing mole, she said, "This is the Buddha...READ MORE

18***Sun Feb 2
Your Moment of Zen: Timid and Truthful Mole had just arrived at Tallspruce. Raven said, "Was there something you wanted to ask?" Mole cleared his throat and asked, "Should I always tell the truth? Sometimes it does more harm than good." Raven said, "then it's not the truth." Mole sighed and was silent. Owl spoke up and asked, "Then should I lie at such a time?" Raven said, "Tell the truth." READ MORE

19***Sun Feb 9
Your Moment of Zen: Essential Nature Early one morning Woodpecker flew in for a special meeting with Raven and asked, "I've heard about essential nature, but I'm not sure what it is. Is it something that can be destroyed?" Raven said, "That's really a presumptuous question."
Woodpecker ruffled her feathers a little and asked, "You mean I shouldn't question the matter?" Raven said, "You presume there is...READ MORE

20***Sun Feb 16
Your Moment of Zen: Bedrock Buddha Once a disciple of Yogi Rhino sent Raven a message, saying, "You just have a stone outcropping to represent the Buddha Macaw. You should come over here and meet a living Buddha." Raven mentioned this in a talk and said, "If that disciple stays on with Yogi Rhino, she might realize that living Buddhas are all over the place, and yet our bedrock stands forth alone." READ MORE

21***Sun Feb 23
Your Moment of Zen: Inspiration Raven took her perch on the Assembly Oak and said: "Some folks say that you must find your inspiration in your own heart. In a way that's true; you must find the place of peace and rest and carry out your life on that ground. It is also true that inspiration comes from somewhere else. The Buddha Macaw looked up from the branch of her Jobo tree and noticed the morning...READ MORE

22***Sun Mar 1
Your Moment of Zen: Karma One evening Gray Wolf appeared in the Tallspruce circle for the first time. After she had introduced herself (and acknowledged the covenant to abstain from predating in the circle), she said, "Is it all right to ask a question?" Raven said, "Not only all right." "Thank you," said Gray Wolf. "Maybe it's obvious to everyone else, but I don't understand the notion of karma. Could you explain it...READ MORE

23***Sun Mar 8
Your Moment of Zen: Propinquity The same evening that Gray Wolf appeared was also Cougar's first time at Tallspruce circle. Mole stayed underground throughout the zazen period that day, but poked his nose out for the discussion of karma. After Raven's final response to Gray Wolf, Cougar asked, "Then is karma just cause and effect?" Raven said, "Propinquity propinks." Couger shook his head vigorously...READ MORE

24***Sun Mar 15
Your Moment of Zen: The Purpose of Practice Badger attended the circle irregularly because of family responsibilities. One evening he was able to come for zazen and questions. He asked, "What is the purpose of the practice after all?" Raven asked, "Do you have an inkling?" Badger hesitated, "I'm not sure," he said. Raven said, "Doubts dig up the whole Blue Planet." READ MORE

25***Sun Mar 22
Your Moment of Zen: Brown Bear's Purpose Badger's question about the purpose of practice was followed up with a question from Porcupine: "What did Brown Bear have in mind when she took up her role as teacher?" Raven said, "To make little boys ask questions." Porcupine said, "Don't patronize me, Roshi. My question is: What did Brown Bear have in mind when she took up the role of teacher? Raven...READ MORE

26***Sun Mar 29
Your Moment of Zen: Buddhist Terms After zazen one evening Woodpecker asked, "I'd like to understand basic Buddhist terms, but I'm not sure that would help my practice. What do you think?" Raven said, "They help us sort out our vows." Woodpecker asked, "Then they're a kind of appropriate means?" Raven said, "Like the rain." READ MORE

27***Sun Apr 5
Your Moment of Zen: Maintenance Mallard attended meetings for a while before asking her first question: "Aren't we wasting time just sitting here while the Blue Planet goes to hell?" Raven asked, "Do you waste your time eating?" "Is that all it is," Mallard asked, "Just personal maintenance?"
Raven said, "Mallard maintenance, lake maintenance, juniper maintenance, deer maintenance." READ MORE

28***Sun Apr 12
Your Moment of Zen: Mistakes Grouse said, "I feel very nervous when I lead our recitation of the sutras."
Raven said, "Mistakes are part of the ritual." READ MORE

29***Sun Apr 19
Moment of Zen: The Moral Basis Porcupine came by for another special meeting with Raven and asked, "Does Zen have a moral basis?" Raven said, "None whatsoever." Porcupine exclaimed, "Empty! Empty!" Raven said, "That's not what Magpie would say." Porcupine bowed down and touched his face to the ground. Raven asked, "Why do you bow?" Porcupine said, "Magpie is bowing." Raven put her beak... READ MORE

30***Sun Apr 26
Moment of Zen: Vast Indeed Porcupine came to see Raven after the talk that night and said, "The Blue Planet is immensely vast, isn't it!" Raven said, "It doesn't stop there." Porcupine wept. Raven said, "Vast indeed. Vast indeed." READ MORE

31***Sun May 3
Moment of Zen: Where Are They? One evening Owl said, "When Brown Bear visited us, Gray Wolf asked her about the dedication of our sutras to the enlightenment of bushes and grasses. Brown Bear said, 'They are very patient.' I've been musing about this for a long time, and I still don't know what to make of it." Raven asked, "Where are they?" Owl said, "Bushes and grasses? All around." Raven said, "Like the READ MORE

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