(Follow this link to see the March 2021 Priory Newsletter where this was published.)
The rarely seen (at the temple) winter blooming camellia. It made a brief showing just before the recent snow and ice. It looks like there are still more blossoms on the way, despite the cold!
Recently I found myself laughing at the thought that, again, it was just not going to be how I wanted it. I can’t even remember what “it” was that I thought I wanted; maybe it was just for things to go “my way” for a bit, but it was clear that things were not going to break my way.
Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett taught that that line, “The physical world is not answerable to my personal will,” was a law of the universe: wherever we go in the whole of existence, we will not be able to control circumstances. When we hold onto wanting to have “what we want, when we want it, the way we want it,” there is inevitably going to be suffering.
It is true that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes that might even be a good thing. But it is also true that we just can’t expect to control things Continue reading →
(Follow this link to see the February 2021 Priory Newsletter where this was published.)
Avalokiteshvara: Observing ease and listening to the sounds of the world. In this posture, the Bodhisattva calmly accepts the suffering of the world and is ready to respond as needed.
It is said the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara was first a fully enlightened Buddha (called the Tathagata of the Brightness of the Right Dharma); when she saw that it would be a help to beings, she took the form of a Celestial Bodhisattva. While this has many implications, the one I am thinking of lately is that Avalokiteshvara, in her own right, knows the complete wisdom of the Buddha. That She knows the wisdom of the Buddha, means that She sees to the heart of why suffering arises and can act accordingly to help to alleviate it. The real cause of a suffering can be different than the apparent or surface cause.
For instance, if there is a small child who conceives a desire to have a piece of candy and throws a tantrum when the candy is not forthcoming, the wise parent will make sure the child has plenty of food, but will say no to the candy. (And, I am not saying here, that candy or treats should never be given; just it is helpful to learn that we can forego satisfying our desires and we can learn to be fine with that.)
The parent says no to the candy recognizing that the real cause of the suffering – the craving that causes the tantrum – is the mistaken view, on the child’s part, that they will only be happy when they get what they want. We say no, realizing that if the desire and the mistaken view are indulged, it will set up a pattern of suffering that is difficult for the child to unlearn as it grows into adulthood. An unwise or worldly compassion will just give the child the candy to satisfy the desire.
(Follow this link to see the January 2021 Priory Newsletter where this was published.)
(The other day a Dharma friend mentioned that he found that the most difficult things for him to look at were often the most important things for him to look at. As we make choices as to how we might spend our time in the coming year, I hope that I will be able to make the choice to devote a little time to doing some sitting meditation. I hope that I will not avoid the looking and seeing, even though it is difficult and I offer this article as an encouragement in that direction. LK)
Rev. Master Rokuzan Kroenke
— Columbia Zen Buddhist Priory, Columbia, SC – USA —
In our training, we have the choice to see our suffering as an opportunity to train or something to be run away from, to be solved, to be relieved. On some level, we all believe that happiness is our due. We believe that if we get everything right, we will be happy. This is a delusion. Happiness is Continue reading →