Ask a Buddhist

One of the senior monks of our Order can be found answering questions on camera as part of the Clear Vision schools project, Ask a Buddhist. While I have not seen the videos personally, since I’m on a slow dial-up connection, Angie who comments regularly here has. She said, What a wonderful site! It is lovely to see and hear our Reverend – it is definitely worth putting on your blog. Thank you.

Here are the questions the children asked:
Are you Enlightened? If not, how do you know? How would you know if you were?
A question on why Buddhist meditate and there is an answer to the following query: Buddhism goes on about suffering. Don’t you find it pessimistic and depressing? Good questions, I look forward to seeing and hearing the answers. As I understand it this is not a studio production job and the answers were caught on the fly, so to speak, with little or no opportunity for preparation.

For anybody with children or teachers giving instruction on Buddhism, The Clear Vision Trust is a wonderful resource.

I’m sorry if you are, like me, on a slow internet connection and not able to view these videos.

In The Pure Land of This Moment

On the first Sunday of each month at Throssel there is generally a large festival ceremony. Today we honoured the Buddha of Healing. Very many people filled the hall, some here for the day, others residents and others just visiting for the week-end retreat.

From the Offertory for The Festival of Bhaisajyaguru Tathagata

Wholeheartedly do we recite these scriptures and make these offerings in honour of Bhaisajyaguru, the Buddha of Healing who sits radiantly in the pure land of this moment.


On the way to the evening meal, the Medicine Meal as we call it, a visiting fellow monastic and I took many pictures of the statue in the lane. As we continued on to the meal we pondered, Isn’t that the Buddha of Healing? I questioned. Yes, I think it is. came the reply. Ah, perfect for to-days posting. I thought.

Many times a day the monks pass this statue going too and fro between buildings. We pause. Turn and bow. Then turn again and walk on about our business. In the evening glow of autumn light the statue does indeed sit radiantly, in the pure land of this moment.

Religious Robes

Even though we are wearing these formal robes we can still know True Freedom.

Paraphrased from Not Always So, by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.

While at San Francisco Zen Centre last week I had the great good fortune to offer incense and make bows to the memory of Shunryn Suzuki at his memorial shrine. He wrote Zen Mind Beginners Mind a book which brought many to Zen practice, including me. The opportunity to express gratitude was a gift in itself.

Being Compassion

Shunyata Karuna Garbham
Emptiness is in essence Compassion.

Nagarjuna, Fourteenth Ancestor after Shakyamuni Buddha in our Transmission Line

Sit still and then get up and be Compassion.

Note: Garbham translates as Womb or Embryo. The use of ‘in essence’ above helps to make the point that Shunyata is not an vacuity or ‘negative emptiness’. As my Master would say It is the fullest emptiness you will ever know.

Many thanks to the Reverend who pointed me to this teaching.