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ZEN NOTES, 1961

January, 1961

January, 1961

  • An Outline of Zen, by Zenkei Shibayama, chief abbot of Nanzenji. This is a translation of a lecture given at the Kyoto branch of the Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai. It is a brief, compressed discussion of Zen Buddhism, and includes references to Satori, Mukai Kono, some zen poems, the Rinzai Roku, Daito Kokushi, Monju and Fuken and Rinzai.

February, 1961

February, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: At Noon. This is a discussion of calmness and controlling one's mind, begging Bhikshus and meditating monks, and the fact that many people do not want to be calm and quiet.
  • Editor's Notes: Various notes on William Shakespeare, courses in Zen Buddhism for Japanese bus and truck drivers and the 6th Patriarch's Koan: flag moving, wind moving or mind moving.

March, 1961

March, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: The Individual and the Group Soul. Buddha is common to all sentient beings.
  • The Knower, the God of Buddhism: The God of Buddhism is the God of Wisdom. Christians say that Buddhism is not a religion...
  • Letter from Kyoto, by Eryu, (Ruth Sasaki), Ryosen-an, 1961. "What Zen Is," includes discussions of Satori and Zen compared to mystical religious traditions.
  • Poem and calligraphy: "From this time forth..."

April, 1961

April, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: Dhyana Raja Yoga Samadhi. The Avatamsaka Sutra gives many different definitions of Samadhi. This lecture includes references to Taigado, Kama, Rupadhadu, and Arupadhatu.
  • Confession: Monks' confession happens on the evening of the full moon. This is a discussion of Monks' confession, Sanzen, and the fact that from a Japanese man's perspective, American men appear to "Worship" their wives!

May, 1961

May, 1961

  • Cover: Calligraphy and translation of The Three Refuges
  • Sokei-an Says: The Three Refuges: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. This talk includes a comparison of Christian attitudes toward God and Buddhist attitudes toward Universal Wisdom.

June, 1961

June, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: The Buddha in the Shala Grove. Young prince Siddhartha sees an insect eat a smaller insect, a bird eat the larger insect, and a larger bird eat the smaller bird. This is followed by a discussion of the Shakyas and their relationship to their larger neighbors, such as the state of Magadha. Then follows a story of Shakyamuni meditating under a Shala tree. Reconstructed by Mary Farkas.
  • On another Sunday in 1935 -- Sokei-an gives a different lecture on the Shala trees.
  • Drawings--Trees, by Vanessa Coward
  • Editor's Note: Sokei-an must have enjoyed telling this story of the Shala trees.

July, 1961

July, 1961

  • Cover: Dragon drawing by Vanessa Coward
  • Sokei-an Says: The Fox in the Well. This is a commentary on one of the Agamas, the oldest sutras of primitive Buddhism. It includes a discussion of the five supernatural powers, and the stories of the Messenger from Hell and the Fox in the Well.
  • Editor's Notes: Two corrections from the last issue.

August, 1961

August, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: The Fox Crying in the Night. This is a commentary on one of the Agamas, a two-paragraph sutra of primitive Buddhism. Sokei-an's commentary includes a comparision of Mahayana sutras and Hinayana sutras. It touches on the Karanda Venuvana, and references King Bimbisara of Magadha, and the Buddha's disciples Ananda, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. Sokei-an mentions Coyotes howling in the night during his stay in Montana. The Fox is a metaphor for the Mind.
  • Calligraphy and Poem: "At death I take off my summer gown, At birth I don my winter robe." Zokudento roku.

September, 1961

September, 1961

  • Stephen Tichachek Obituary, by Mary Farkas. Stephen Tichachek was a strong, enthusiastic student of Zen Buddhism
  • Sokei-an Says: The Idiot and the Fox. The Buddha makes the analogy between an idiot and a Fox crying in the night. This talk includes references to Alaya consciousness, Citta, Akasha, and insentient consciousness. The Buddha appears to be addressing his talk to a young monk. Reconstructed by Brian Heald.
  • Letter from Kyoto, by Ruth Sasaki: Hot summer days and warm evenings in Kyoto, with a discussion of the three "booms" -- the leisure boom, luxury boom and instanto boom. Japan has higher wages, more free time, crowded beaches and crowded hiking trails. Also radios, electric iceboxes, electric fans and vacuum cleaners, canned goods and Japanese supermarkets. This account ends with a stop at Shoren-in, a Tendai Sect temple.

October, 1961

October, 1961

  • Obituary: Neville Dennan Fowler. George Fowler's son Neville died in an Air France jetliner crash in Rabat Morocco. He had been a fine young man and had followed in his father's footsteps to become a Navy officer.
  • Sokei-an Says: Compensation -- The Zen Eye on the Agamas. Sokei-an discusses requiting the dharma. Take the goodness done to you and pass it on to someone else. This talk includes references to the Sutra of Perfect Awakening, the "purpose of Bodhidharma coming from the West", and kindnesses received by Sokei-an during his stay in America. Reconstructed by Brian Heald.
  • Waverly Place: Our last Wednesday evening at 156 Waverly place will be October 11, 1961. Afterwards, we move to Murray Hill.

  • The Adventure of the Mind: Enlightenment and interpersonal relationships, by Arthur Sitzman.

November, 1961

November, 1961

  • Sokei-an Says: The Goldsmith -- The Zen Eye on the Agamas. Buddhism has 250 different sects and 5,048 volumes of scriptures. This lecture mentions the Dhyana vehicle and primitive Buddhism, before King Ashoka. Annihilating afflictions from one's mind is like a goldsmith refining the impurities out of gold. References are made to dharma, samadhi, ashrava and the four stages of dhyana.

December, 1961

December, 1961

  • Cover: Tiger, by Vanessa Coward
  • The Key: Shakyamuni left home in order to attain enlightenment and did not return. This lecture includes a comparison of Christian love and Buddhist wisdom, primitive Buddhism and Greek philosophy. The Key with two names is love and non-ego.
  • Letter from Kyoto, by Ruth Sasaki. Ruth has reached the age of 69, near the "maximum" age of 70. This letter includes a discussion of the September Typhoon and Ruth's translation work. There are references to Ryosen-an, Dr. Watson from Columbia University, Philip Yampolsky, Professor Kanetsuki of Osaka University, Gary Snyder, Miura Roshi, Zuiun-ken, Bill Laws, Nakagawa Soyen, Mr. Hungerlieder, Teisan and the Engaku-ji Sodo.

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