Gateless Gate

Gateless Gate

Generally speaking, religion is often tied to some discrete past event: a miracle, the manifestation of a deity,  or the enlightenment experience of the Buddha.
On the other hand, science, technology and art are based on an evolving understanding. For instance, the union of human and machine thinking and the exploration of our universe and extraterrestrial life may radically alter our idea of the possibilities inherent in the self and reality are.
Although science, technology and art are not religious approaches, they include a limitless spirituality as we uncover an endless and ungraspable reality.
Rather than the religious approach, Lost Coin is based on this spiritual dimension.
It does not mean we are discarding the past but hoping to “stand on its shoulders.”
Zen’s past does not address psychology, cognitive science or questions of evolution and intelligence. We are beginning to incorporate all this in order to develop a practice that is more objective and based not on what the lineage was but on the integrity of how it manifests through its participants now.
It is easy to see what is necessary if we are willing to look. Although we can see realization as an incredible foundation, our clarity and action need to continuously to evolve. 
For some, this approach may be disturbing, We often desire  fixed answers and stances. We take comfort in foregone conclusions.
This is also true  on the level of our daily practice. Clinging to the known, feeling that all answers come from the past, wanting pat solutions are the result of fear and self protection. This limits our lives and our practice.
Maezumi Roshi often told me that he was “dissatisfied with his understanding”. I hope we too can be dissatisfied and walk through the gateless gate.

The Dragon’s Mask

The Dragon’s Mask

The aim of Zen practice is the return to our normal state of mind. Although people often associate Zen with “special states of awareness” the truth is that the “special” state is the one we are in now. Blown around by fear and its weaker brother anxiety, led by greed, blame and self doubt we live in a state that can be thought of as akin to sleep.

To make matters more difficult, there is a guardian, sometimes depicted as a kind of dragon or wearing a dragon’s mask whose function is to frighten us or give us feelings of discomfort as soon as we challenge our state of sleep.

The practice of the way of realization is leaving our “special state” and returning to our normal state: stuck to nothing, free of notions. It is seeing what has always been right in front of us.
Unfortunately, as soon as we stir in our sleep the one in the Dragons mask is right there. He doesn’t need to frighten us badly. We are not that strong. He simply reminds us of all the reasons that we cannot really pursue the Way, of the responsibilities we need to attend to and how much others things and people in our life must be given priority. He reminds us of our lack of ability and the unimportance and impossibility of achieving the Way.
Once in a long while an adept arises who pursues the way with integrity and a true and vital commitment.  They make no excuses.
That warrior penetrates the Dragon’s mask.
They are the reason this practice is alive.

Photo by Doen