31 December 2015

Jikan's Resignation

A few moments ago, I emailed my resignation from my leadership of Great River Tendai Sangha to the leadership of our Board of Directors.  I made plain my reasons for doing so (see below); they do not reflect negatively in any way on our local community, Tendai Buddhist Institute, myself, or anyone else.  This is simply a transition that ought not to be postponed.

When I was invited to take over the leadership of our little community five and a half years ago, I didn't know how long I would be living in the DC area and I had no idea what to expect.  So I set myself one primary goal:  to ensure that, somehow, this group could persist and thrive in my absence.  I have been on leave from leading the group for about three months.  In that time, the community has prospered.  So I say with confidence that my goal has been met. 

I can also say that, due to life circumstances, I am no longer in a position to lead our community.  These are the ordinary commitments that we all have, such as caring for children and aging parents, searching for jobs, trying to make ends meet.  Leading a Buddhist community requires a significant commitment of time and energy--a commitment that is greater than what I have to offer now or for the next two decades.  I am no longer up to the task, but I am delighted that Junsen is.

It is with a mix of gratitude, respect, and relief in a job accomplished that I offer my resignation.  I will not be deterred from practicing Dharma as a layperson, and I am eager to offer what support I can to the community in the cherished role of an ordinary person in ordinary clothes, just some nobody. 

Every member of this sangha has enriched my life in some way.  Thank you for that. I hope I have made some positive contribution to yours so far.

Great things are afoot.

Yours in friendship always,
Jikan Daniel Anderson

This community will persist, and I rejoice in the Dharma practice of our members.  I say "our" because I do intend to participate as a layperson to the best of my capacity.

Jikan Daniel Anderson
31 December 2015

12 December 2015

Contemplation: Tendai Daishi's Edonsho

After reviewing the guidelines for this practice, take the following as your contemplation:

The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates and sense-accesses of body and mind are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment, there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right way, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsara is identical with nirvana, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the intrinsic inextistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and its cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality is all there is – no entities whatever exists outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent is called “calming”; that this nature, though quiescent, is ever luminous, is called “contemplation”. Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is no ultimate duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called “the perfect and sudden calming and contemplation.


Donner, N. and Stevenson, D (1993) The Great Calming and Contemplation: A study and annotated translation of Chih-i’s mo-ho chih-kuan. Honolulu; A Kuroda Institute Book: 112-114.

15 November 2015

Contemplation: The ocean of impediment

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:

The ocean of impediment of all karmas
Is produced from one's false imagination.
Should one wish to repent it
Let him sit upright and meditate on the true aspect [of reality].
All sins are just as frost and dew,
So wisdom's sun can disperse them.
Therefore with entire devotion
Let him repent of his six sense organs.

The Sutra of Meditation on the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue (translated by Kojiro Miyasaka with revisions by Pier P. Del Campana), The Threefold Lotus Sutra, pp 365-6.

06 November 2015

Contemplation: The Great Vow of Universal Salvation

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:

This is to take a vow that one will liberate all sentient beings, down to the last one, no matter how long it may take to cause them to attain the perfect nirvana, for one will be conforming oneself to the essential nature of Reality, which is characterized by the absence of discontinuity. The essential nature of Reality is all-embracing and pervades all sentient beings; it is everywhere the same and one without duality; it does not distinguish this from that, because it is, in the final analysis, in the state of quiescence.

The Awakening of Faith (trans. Hakeda), reprint edition p.82.

24 October 2015

Contemplation: Dwelling in the world

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:
Dwelling in the world like that of space,
There is no attachment, like the lotus flower floating in the pond.
Mind purification beyond is beyond attachment.
Solemnly pray toward the unsurpassed Worthy One, 
touching your head to the ground.
"Gobai: Later Song" as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

22 October 2015

Day of Meditation & Contemplation

Please join us for a full day of meditation, contemplation, and sharing the Buddha's teachings.
Sunday, 22 November 2015 - 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Held at our Yoga in Daily Life location
2402 Mt Vernon Ave Alexandria, VA 22301

A light vegetarian breakfast will be provided before service. Please bring a vegetarian bag lunch and a small snack to share.
Space is limited to 15 participants.
A $40 donation is suggested. No one will be turned away for lack of funds
For registration, please contact junsennettles@gmail.com

16 September 2015

Jikan Taking a Leave of Absence

Greetings all,

I wanted to let everyone know that I have requested of the Board of our sangha and our leadership at the New York Betsuin a brief leave of absence.  I will resume the leadership of our regular activities in January of 2016.  In the interim, the sangha's bi-weekly meetings and other activities will continue under the excellent direction of Junsen Chris Nettles, who has my every confidence and is my trusted friend and collaborator. 

This leave is necessary because I am on a strict deadline--one that caught me off guard--to complete my dissertation.  And this deadline has me working, working, working at all hours I can manage.I am in good health and in good cheer, but for being stuck in a chair most of the time.

Thank you all for your goodwill, patience, and understanding during this time.

Yours in friendship and gratitude,
Jikan Daniel Anderson


31 August 2015

Upcoming: Day of Mindfulness and Contemplation

Save the Date:  22 November 2015

Join us for a full day of meditation and sharing the Buddha's teachings.  We will get started at 8am.  This event will take place in the upstairs studio at Yoga in Daily Life, on Mt Vernon Avenue in Alexandria.

If you have any questions or would like to join us, email Jikan at JikanAnderson@gmail.com .  You can also follow and help promote this event by sharing this Facebook link, if you use Facebook.

I hope to see you there.

Contemplation: Not a single sight or smell

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way.

From Zhiyi's Edonsho

24 August 2015

Contemplation: Rare to Meet

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Such an unsurpassed, marvelous teaching is rare to meet,
Even if we count the many lifetimes we have waited.
Now I have a chance to discern and listen to the Dharma.
I wish to understand the real intention of the Tathagata.
Kaikyoge, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

17 August 2015

Contemplation: The Pure Land

After reviewing the guidelines for this practice, take the following as your contemplation:
The Pure Land is Now or Never
--famous calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh

03 August 2015

Contemplation: Threefold Refuge

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:

Respecting all, I take refuge in the Buddha.

Now I wish, together with all sentient beings, to master the great path and arouse the unsurpassed will.  I take refuge in the Dharma.

Now I wish, together with all sentient beings, to enter into the profound teachings, containing wisdom as deep as the ocean.  I take refuge in the Sangha.

Now I wish, together with all sentient beings, to guide the multitude, to attain the non-attachment of all.

Sanrai, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

27 July 2015

Contemplation: Nonsectarian Sectarianism

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Many people think and say that everyone is supposed to be open, but though the doors of their mouths are open, the gates of their minds are tightly closed with their rusty, iron ego's latch.  This pseudo-nonsectarian attitude actually feeds ego.  Often these people only want to use Dharma ideas for building self-aggrandizing positions rather than for enlightenment.  Yet a sign of nonsectarianism is not holding any position of this or that.  Even though these people call themselves nonsectarian, they try to support their own position by intellectualizing their misunderstanding, institutionalizing their desires and beliefs, reducing sublime qualities to ordinary, marketable art, and using Dharma as capital.
Thinley Norbu, White Sail, p. 45-46 (highly recommended reading)

13 July 2015

Contemplation: No hindrance in the mind

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation.

With no hindrance in the mind, no hindrance, therefore no fear;
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is nirvana.

from the Heart Sutra, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

06 July 2015

Contemplation: Right Here

 After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Everything we want is right here in the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step, p. 42

29 June 2015

Contemplation: Immovable Wisdom

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:

Immovable means unmoving.

Wisdom means the wisdom of intelligence.

Although wisdom is called immovable, this does not signify any insentient thing, like wood or stone.  It moves as the mind is wont to move; forward or back, to the left, to the right, in the ten directions and to the eight points; and the mind that does not stop at all is called immovable wisdom.

The Unfettered Mind:  Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master, Takuan Soho, p. 20

22 June 2015

Contemplation: The Bodhisattva Vows

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Sentient beings are numberless.  I vow to save them.
Desires are inexhaustible.  I vow to put an end to them.
The Dharmas are boundless.  I vow to master them.
The Buddha-way is unsurpassable.  I vow to attain it.
The Four Bodhisattva Vows, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute.

15 June 2015

Contemplation: A Natural Instinct

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:


All of us have a natural instinct to desire happiness and avoid suffering.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Dzogchen, p. 99

01 June 2015

Contemplation: A Formless Field of Benefaction

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Vast is the robe of liberation,
A formless field of benefaction.
I wear the Tathagatha's teachings,
Saving all sentient beings.
The Verse of the Kesa, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

25 May 2015

Contemplation: An End to Hatred

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation:


"He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

Dhammapada, trans. Bikkhu Bodhi

18 May 2015

Contemplation: Not Even the Names


After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
At this very moment, for the peoples and nations of the Earth,

May not even the names disease, famine, war and suffering be heard.

But rather may pure conduct, merit, wealth and prosperity increase,

And may supreme good fortune and well-being always arise!
 Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche's Aspiration Prayer

11 May 2015

Contemplation: All this fleeting world

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
(from the Diamond Sutra, chap. 32, trans. A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lan)

04 May 2015

Contemplation: A Pure, Lucid Mind

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Subhuti, all bodhisattvas, lesser and great, should develop a pure, lucid mind, not depending on sound, flavor, odor, touch, or any quality.  A bodhisattva should develop a mind that alights upon nothing whatsoever.
from the Diamond Sutra, chap. 10, trans. A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lan

27 April 2015

Contemplation: Tendai Daishi's Edonsho

After reviewing the guidelines for this practice, take the following as your contemplation:

The perfect and sudden calming and contemplation from the very beginning takes ultimate reality as its object. No matter what the object of contemplation might be, it is seen to be identical to the middle. There is nothing that is not true reality. When one fixes the mind on the dharmadhatu as object and unifies one’s mindfulness with the dharmadhatu as it is, then there is not a single sight nor smell that is not the middle way. The same goes for the realm of self, the realm of Buddha, and the realm of living beings. Since all aggregates and sense-accesses of body and mind are thusness, there is no suffering to be cast away. Since nescience and the afflictions are themselves identical with enlightenment, there is no origin of suffering to be eradicated. Since the two extreme views are the middle way and false views are the right way, there is no path to be cultivated. Since samsara is identical with nirvana, there is no cessation to be achieved. Because of the intrinsic inextistence of suffering and its origin, the mundane does not exist; because of the inexistence of the path and its cessation, the supramundane does not exist. A single, unalloyed reality is all there is – no entities whatever exists outside of it. That all entities are by nature quiescent is called “calming”; that this nature, though quiescent, is ever luminous, is called “contemplation”. Though a verbal distinction is made between earlier and later stages of practice, there is no ultimate duality, no distinction between them. This is what is called “the perfect and sudden calming and contemplation.


Donner, N. and Stevenson, D (1993) The Great Calming and Contemplation: A study and annotated translation of Chih-i’s mo-ho chih-kuan. Honolulu; A Kuroda Institute Book: 112-114.

20 April 2015

Contemplation: Charity

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Subhuti, in the practice of charity a bodhisattva should be detached.  That is to say, he should practice charity without regard to appearances--without regard to sound, odor, touch, flavor, or any quality.  Subhuti, thus should the bodhisattva practice charity without attachment.
from the Diamond Sutra, chap. 4, trans. A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lan

13 April 2015

Contemplation: Why is this?

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Buddha said:  Subhuti, all the bodhisattva heroes should discipline their thoughts as follows:  All living creatures of whatever class, born from eggs, from wombs, from moisture, or by transformation, whether with form or without form, whether in a state of thinking or exempt from thought necessity, or wholly beyond all thought realms--all these are caused by me to attain unbounded liberation nirvana.  Yet when vast, uncountable, immeasurable numbers of  beings have thus been liberated, verily no being has been liberated.  Why is this, Subhuti?
from the Diamond Sutra, chap. 3, trans. A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lan

06 April 2015

Contemplation: A Star at Dawn

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
(from the Diamond Sutra, chap. 32, trans. A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lan)

30 March 2015

Contemplation: The World and the Way

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
If you follow the present-day world, you will turn your back on the Way; if you would not turn your back on the Way, do not follow the world.
Takuan Soho, The Unfettered Mind (highly recommended reading).

***

Please consider this important appeal for support from a well-prepared and committed sangha member.  Thank you.

23 March 2015

Contemplation: Take Heed

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken!
Take heed!
Do not squander your life.
"Evening Gatha" as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

16 March 2015

Contemplation: The Body

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
The body, apt to practice sacred teaching,
Should not be harmed in trivial pursuits.
If this advice is kept, the wishes of all beings
Will swiftly and completely be attained.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 74

09 March 2015

Contemplation: Always Labor for the Benefit of Beings

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation:

Therefore understand this well
And always labor for the benefit of beings.
The far-seeing masters of compassion
Permit, to this end, that which is proscribed.

Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 74

02 March 2015

Contemplation: Fired by the Highest Aspiration

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Always fired by the highest aspiration,
Laboring to implement the antidotes,
You will gather virtues in the fields
Of qualities, of  benefits, of sorrow.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 73

23 February 2015

Contemplation: Catching Sight of Others

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
catching sight of others, think
That it will be through them
That you come to Buddhahood.
So look on them with open, loving hearts.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 73

17 February 2015

Announcement: Tonight's meditation is cancelled

Due to inclement weather, tonight's regularly scheduled meditation at the UUCA is cancelled.  I encourage everyone to please: Take good care of your health, attend to the needs of your neighbors as best you can, and make some time for nembutsu practice--an excellent way to brighten up a cold hour.  Here are some instructions that should get you going on that.


16 February 2015

Contemplation: Speak with Honest Words

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Speak with honest words, coherently,
With candor, in a clear, harmonious voice.
Abandon partiality, rejection, and attraction,
And speak with moderation, gently.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 73

09 February 2015

Contemplation: The Goal of Every Act

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
The goal of every act is happiness itself,
Though, even with great wealth, it's rarely found.
So take your pleasure in the qualities of others.
Let them be a heartfelt joy to you.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 73

02 February 2015

Contemplation: All who speak the truth

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Praise all who speak the truth,
And say, "Your words are excellent."
And when you notice others acting well,
Encourage them in terms of warm approval.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 72

26 January 2015

Contemplation: The lightning, the shade, the dew

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your contemplation:
All things are without entity, transient, like the moon in water, the lightning, the shade, the dew.  The Buddha teaches people, "Words fail to express the Dharma."  Thus, I place my faith in Amitabha Buddha.
from the Five Mindful Gates (Gonemnon), as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

19 January 2015

Contemplation: Herons, Cats, and Burglars

After reviewing the guidelines for this practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Herons, cats, and burglars
Go silently and carefully;
This is how they gain what they intend.
And one who practices this path behaves likewise.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 72

12 January 2015

Contemplation: The Light of the Sun and Moon

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation:
As the light of the sun and moon
Eliminates the darkness,
These people practicing in the world
Will extinguish the blindness of sentient beings,
Teaching innumerable bodhisattvas
To dwell ultimately in the Single Vehicle.
Lotus Sutra, Chapter 21, as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

05 January 2015

Contemplation: A Vessel

After reviewing the guidelines for the practice, take the following as your contemplation:
Regard your body as a vessel,
A simple boat for going here and there.
Make of it a wish-fulfilling gem
To bring about the benefit of beings.
Santideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva, p. 72