Dongshan’s teachings on suchness


This talk was largely unrehearsed but I did have a list of poems and koan cases to refer to. Perhaps later I (or someone!) can gather these materials but for now here’s a bit of a table of contents if you want to look up this material.

The teachings on suchness are a really important part of our feeling of practice but it’s a hard one to explain. Our important Chinese Zen ancestor Dongshan had various poetic (and cryptic!) ways of illuminating this teaching of the possibility of settling deeply into things-as-they-are.

Opening poem: Mary Oliver, Summer’s Day

Ryokān poems from Kaz Tanahashi’s wonderful new book:

Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan by Kazuaki Tanahashi

I used poems on pages 108, 156, 113

Book of Serenity case 49

Blue Cliff Record, case 43 (and read Dogen’s commentary in his fascile ____ )

Book of Serenity, case 89

And two more Dongshan cases in Dogen’s Mana Shobogenzo were on deck but I didn’t get to them, cases 98 and 93 (and highlight to our fans of Zen sewing, case 93 is about sewing!). Translation is entitled The True Dharma Eye, Zen Master Dōgen’s Three Hundred Koans. Trans Kazuaki Tanahashi & John Diado Loori

About Nomon Tim Burnett

Spiritual Director and Zen priest Nomon Tim Burnett has been a student of Zoketsu Norman Fischer since 1987 when he was a resident at San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm. After sitting practice periods at Green Gulch and Tassajara Zen Monastery, Tim helped found the Bellingham Zen Practice Group in 1991. Tim was ordained as a Zen Priest by Norman in 2000 and received Dharma Transmission in July, 2011. A person of wide-ranging professional interests, Tim has been a botanist, carpenter, elementary school teacher, writer, and computer programmer. In addition to his work at the Spiritual Director of Red Cedar Zen Community, Tim is Executive Director of Mindfulness Northwest.
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