Core Values

07/13/2010 § Leave a comment


1. essential part: the central or most important part of something
the core of the argument


Definition:  regard somebody or something highly: to regard somebody or something as important or useful
1. monetary worth: an amount expressed in money or another medium of exchange that is thought to be a fair exchange for something
2. full recovered worth: the adequate or satisfactory return on or recompense for something
3. worth or importance: the worth, importance, or usefulness of something to somebody

[14th century. < Old French< valoir“be worth” < Latin valere “be powerful”]

Ordinary Being

In Zen, we can see that on some levels a chair is not at all a chair. We can do that. However, we just say a chair is a chair. It is trivial to us that a chair is a field or just waves or whatever but Zen is about higher realization of the ordinary – which is extraordinary.

Subjective consciousness experiencing a chair – this is cosmic! It is quantum! It is miraculous!

In Silent Temple Zen we as ordinary beings directly encounter the ordinary as something wonderful. We do not need to use our heads to make something wonderful. Chair is wonderful. Seeing chair is wonderful. Realizing chair and self and non-self as one non-thing is wonderful!

Not a thought!

Many people look for miracles. I don’t look for them because emptiness is a twenty-four/seven miracle! My eyes are open as not a thought!

When we experience suchness, cogitating stops. Why does it stop? It stops because there is absolutely no need to think. We are not thinking chair or ambiguous particle/wave or string theory or anything. No need.

If someone sees us lying on the ground and we are suchness or in bliss, and then we get up, and they ask what happened, we just say, “I was lying down.” So, when we say a chair is a chair, our chair is much different from most other peoples’ chairs. This is because it is so ordinary – so miraculous! “I was just lying down” is Buddha-Heart-Mind.

Not a thought!

Zen is not easy because it is so effortless. In Zen, we don’t think, and everything is alright – completely wonderful. No one believes this. It is simply too difficult to grasp because there is no difficulty associated with it whatsoever. This is why I like to say, “Logic has nothing at all to do with it.”

We be. It is absolutely incomprehensible that we be but it is nevertheless effortless. Are you trying to be now? No, I don’t think so … I hope not …

Effortless chair. Effortless emptiness. Effortless suchness. Effortless being. Effortless interbeing. It is all just like that – EFFORTLESS.

Quantum Mechanics is fun but it will not help you to be kind and to be happy. For kindness and happiness, a chair is needed. If you understand this, you are a zen master.

The Realization is ordinary being. Ordinary being is extraordinary. The non-Realization is extraordinary being. Extraordinary being is ordinary. Logic has nothing at all to do with it.

You know, I just write these talks without stopping or worrying about what I convey. It is effortless because non-I has transcended contradiction and egoistic worry. Non-I is not trapped in the “objective world.”

Not thinking,

white snow







When has this zendo




Looking for logic, your being is dying. Confusing logic with realization, your being is dying.

Stepping into the zendo,

sound of bell;

incense pervading;

not a thought will do.

Ordinary being is not taught or thought, but it can be taken away.

When the last crow flew,

Oh, my soul



Seeing the crow, watching the snows come and go – they are one non-thing as “you” as universe.

Being the subjective,

writing poems that are not poems,

just releasing –

I deeply touch you,

and a chair






One lump or two?

Nothing to be gained; nothing to lose. Nothing to do.

Upon your death-bed,

Your life shall flash before you,

all five minutes of it.

Our life at three and our life at 80 are the same length of time … but maybe the three year old is wiser …

You cannot increase this moment

but awareness

is another



It is the fear. It is the fear of being shamed. The fear of not being loved. The fear of failing. The fear of being left to die. All such things keep us from ordinary being and ordinary goodness.

Being shamed,

not being loved,

failing miserably,

and one step from oblivion,

Not thinking,

white snow







When has this zendo




The above is ordinary being – fully being – being fully human. Get it?

It is not that we eliminate suffering. We just transcend it and take it under our wing.

I cannot remember where but I once read about a Tibetan master who died on the road traveling with his fellow monks. His teacher came to him, and seeing he was indeed dead, told him to wakeup, which he did, both men looking into each others eyes and laughing, and then he died – again.

Within you is such a beautiful force as ordinary being. Please cultivate that.

Don’t worry about being fancy or a success or a this or a that. Just smell the good sweetness. Sit in your favorite chair. Watch the pretty black crows move across the gray sky.

My mother-in-law just came to visit. We are so lucky! Maybe she will stay forever! I think she is about 80 but I am not sure. On the way home from the airport through the snow she said she told the woman next to her on the plane she was going to make a snow angel. That is ordinary being. Making that snow angel, she will have lived for about five good minutes.

The woman who had sat next to her owned an oil company. She was rich. At the luggage pickup, she did ballet moves for me. That is ordinary being.

Don’t worry!

This life, all five minutes of it – it is not going to get longer or shorter. Yes?

Please be kind to yourself. Start throwing out nearly everything you have been forced to think and believe – even the stuff you think you have not been forced to think and believe.

Step into the miracle.

Much happiness to you!

Please practice kindness.

Silent Temple

What we do?

When we are detached, it is easier to practice kindness consistently. When we are attached, it is harder to practice kindness consistently.

When we say detached, we do not mean disassociated. We mean we are autonomous and fully engaged as selfless kindness.

When we say attached, we do not mean interdependent. We mean we are clingy and needy in a self-oriented way.

Perhaps you have always been a sensitive spiritual being but have experienced life in a society whose center of psychic gravity is disassociation and attachment. It is strange to think that disassociation can go with anything but it goes with nearly anything pathological. And if you are naturally detached, autonomous and fully engaged as selfless kindness, life within such a developmentally arrested society can be absolutely life-taking. What to do?

One reason the spiritual journey has been so difficult for so many sensitive people throughout history is precisely because of ubiquitous social attachment and disassociation. Radically reduce these negative conditions, and many Buddha would arise without much difficulty.

So, how do we manifest the Buddhas within us, the Buddhas we really are naturally, despite our largely unenlightened societies and families?

What we need to do is transform attachment into detachment, as well as clinging into autonomy. It is very difficult.

It is very difficult because we almost always have to do this completely alone, through a process of trail-and-error, and without any role models outside of books and stories by or about the masters. Walking into the zendos, you will see many hungry ghosts. Walking into the churches, you will see many hungry ghosts. Walking into the temples, you will see many hungry ghosts. Walking into the synagogues, you will see many hungry ghosts. It’s ubiquitous.

Disassociation and attachment being ubiquitous, we must first accept the reality of our aloneness on our spiritual journey. Seeing this reality as it is, this is actually our first lesson in detachment. The seed of detachment being watered within us through our awareness of things as it is.

So, at first we say, “I am completely alone except for the spiritual icons within me.” This is a very difficult thing to admit and do because we want tangible icons around us, not insubstantial icons as ideas. Yes? So, we are very alone except for abstract thoughts at this stage of our journey.

Internalizing our aloneness, allowing ourselves to deeply feel it, we unexpectedly start meeting the Buddha within us … the one we buried long ago in our innocence simply because s(he) was so devastatingly alone. Remember?

Seeing our pure nature as the potential it was, it radically starts growing once again but there are still things that interfere. At this point, if we are lucky, we find vehicles of transformation and healing. These vehicles can be such things as … psychological regression, gestalt, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and various other practices. Over time, we develop a complex of practices that form a single evolving practice.

The acid test of our level of development is kindness. This entails not only expressing kindness but also deeply feeling it. As we progress, kindness increases. This is another difficult thing to admit and accomplish.

Growing in aloneness, autonomy, and detachment, our loneliness diminishes because of growing autonomy and detachment. And rather than internally and externally seeking a master or teacher, we become the icon itself as something containing what it is pointing to – suchness: emptiness beholding and knowing its non-self.

This entire journey to enlightenment is strange because through most of it we are blind while seeing. Also, we seek and too often grovel to externally acquire what has always been there from the beginning as our self-non-self: sacred heart-Mind.

Slowly removing the barriers around us and the rubble within us, we evolve rather effortlessly, and transformation takes place as a series of mindfully and slowly acquired quantum leaps.

To arrive at kindness, we must also arrive at happiness, deep happiness – happiness that is there regardless of good or bad conditions.

Monk Bob recently wrote about sun-faced Buddha; moon-faced Buddha. We can think of sun-faced Buddha as being long-lived, healthy, and not burdened, and we can think of moon-faced-Buddha as being short-lived, unhealthy, and burdened, but both of them are Buddha and as such can be happy on a depth level independent of conditions. Happy sun-faced Buddha and happy moon-faced Buddha is one non-thing as active detachment and autonomy.

There is much confusion about what a master is. We have been conditioned to think that a good maser acquires many disciples and students. I no longer think this. I feel a good master nurtures many masters. There is a single line entering a door in the master’s room and leaving through another door at the same time.

To produce disciples, to produce followers – how life-taking!

Embracing our aloneness, deeply feeling it – now we are on the Journey! Subtracting, subtracting – taking away the rubble – autonomy and detachment arise. Practicing kindness – happiness is. Happiness is; icon is. Icon is – behold the master!

Much love to all of you!

Silent Temple

No Becomes Yes!

Much negation is not negation … when … we are realized.

If someone tells us we are a big nobody, they are correct. We are happily a big nobody.

Authentically nobody, we are not falsely somebody of “importance.”

Not being very good at anything, I am nevertheless authentic. My heart is in the not-being-so-good of non-it.

Something matters to me. “It” is purity.

Without purity, we cannot “bring the withered trees to bloom!”

If someone is king or queen of something-or-other or even everything but they are not pure, should they invite me to lunch, I will be busy. Countless Buddha-flowers need attending.

To be negated as a self – to realized non-self nature is good.

Once we become universe beholding universe – once we become suchness – self becomes radically decentralized as identity. Non-identity becomes true “identity.” No becomes YES!

I cannot control anything. It is a good thing, too! No becomes YES!

I am a loser, a nobody. It is a good thing, too! No becomes YES!

I cannot heal the world. It is a good thing, too! No becomes YES!

Sitting here, I am Buddha.

In Christianity, they say God is Divinely Indifferent. In Buddhism they talk about detachment.

I am detached from control, divinely indifferent. I am detached from being a nobody, divinely indifferent. I am detached from not being able to save anyone, divinely indifferent.

Sitting here, I know Buddha and Jesus. They know me, too.

Are you seeing what I am pointing to?

Everything we have been taught is important is very unimportant.

Everything we have been taught is unimportant is very important.

We are changing no to yes.

It is a yes-to-no illusion. It is a no-to-yes REALITY.

Don’t you see? … We wait and wait but there is nothing to wait for. We are what we have been waiting for all along as non-I, as non-it – as no to YES.

In the Western world, everyone wants to be happy. So, unhappy successful Western people write books for the unhappy unsuccessful Western people to read. They never work.

Poor people in poor countries are the happiest people in the world but no one is looking.

Stop listening to the successful. Start listening to nobody. That would be you – Buddha! You are all over the world.

Who was it that told us we must follow? What a crime! Buddha never said that. He said to find out for ourselves.

Finding out for our selves did not mean finding Buddha’s reality to Buddha. This point needs to be made. Nearly everyone has missed it.

When I say you are Buddha, I don’t mean the old one; I mean the new one.

The old one is dead. Be the new one.

Finding out for our selves as new Buddhas is the natural way. Listening to some authority, being told what such and such is – that is unnatural because it impedes nature.

If we are temples, even a ruined one like I am … if we are spacious temples, we offer scared space for others to dance in when they enter into our presences. We offer Buddha to Buddha. Do you see?

When you come to me, I try to offer you you. Maybe I fail but that is OK.

The unenlightened, always they are offering their selves to others – offering their ideas and gods – when all people need is room to breathe, room to weep, room to celebrate, and room to be heard within our spaciousness.

We need to practice spaciousness. We need to practice turning no to yes.

When we were kids, seeing a big empty room – we ran into it delighted. See?

No became yes.

It is not so much what you know or what you have to convey as it is the freedom of your spaciousness as freedom you offer. No becomes yes.

In nothingness, sometimes there is great freedom .. great liberation … great healing … great somethingness.

Thank you for opening your doors to me. Thank you for letting me GET to dance my crazy dance within you as Silent Temple.


“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be
happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my
own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the
happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.
Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts
the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may
have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter.
It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely
material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for
happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner
peace.” – Dalai Lama


more at The Light Forum


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