“In the silence everything becomes zero. When you come back to the silent world, everything becomes ‘not-personal’, no-person, no-sound. So come back, become a zero and there is wonderful peace. This is the silent world. If I think, ‘I am good’, this is making a sound. Finally, I ask ‘What am I doing here?’ Nothing. If I try to know who I am finally, I have to come back to silence. All we have to do is just sit, just come back to the silent world and the vastness of existence. This is just sitting.”
– Dainin Katagiri, “Returning to Silence, Zen Practice in Daily Life”
“ If only by sitting in meditation
human could become
a Buddha … ”
– Sengai (1750-1837)
“ But look at the frog. A frog also sits like us, but he has no idea of zazen. Watch him. If something annoys him, he will make a face. If something comes along to eat, he will snap it up and eat, and he eats sitting. Actually that is our zazen — not any special thing. When your life is always part of your surroundings — in other words, when you are called back to yourself, in the present moment — then there is no problem. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings. There is your true self. There you have true practice; you have the practice of a frog — when a frog becomes a frog, Zen becomes Zen. When you understand a frog through and through, you attain enlightenment; you are Buddha. This is zazen !”
– Shunryu Suzuki, “Zen mind, Beginner's mind”
“Ordinarily, we think of a king in the negative sense, as someone who holds himself apart from others, hiding in his palace and creating a kingdom to shield himself from the world. Here we are speaking of opening yourself to other human beings in order to promote human welfare. The monarch's power comes from being very soft. It comes from opening your heart so that you share your heart with others. You have nothing to hide, no suit of armor. Your experience is naked and direct. It is even beyond naked — it is raw, uncooked.”
– Chögyam Trungpa, “Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior”
After escaping the Chinese occupation, Chögyam Trungpa, a young but highly accomplished Tibetan master, came to the West in the sixties eager to transmit Buddhism. Very soon he realised the need to get rid of the traditional cultural trappings of Tibet. So began his search to find new, fresh forms appropriate for his Western students.
In 1970 Trungpa encountered Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, a Japanese Zen master living and teaching in San Francisco. The meeting was decisive. Just like Suzuki Roshi, Trungpa stressed the importance of sitting meditation as the basis of all practice. He also placed emphasis on the breath as the focus of meditation, but with a slightly more relaxed style in working with the mind and posture.
Through Trungpa’s close friendship with the Zen calligrapher Kobun Chino Roshi, he further explored blending Zen monastic forms with traditional Tibetan teachings. When asked about his style, Trungpa cheerfully admitted, "I think we are closer to Zen. We may be practicing Zen in the spirit of Tantra." (Introduction to "The Teacup and the Skullcup : Chögyam Trungpa on Zen and Tantra")
And it is this style of practice that we perpetuate today at Tenku-an.