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June 27, 2011

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ALAN

THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT ALL THOSE LIMBS IS THAT YOU CAN TURN THEM INTO A FIRE AND SIT BESIDE THEM AND LET THEM WARM AND COMFORT YOU, WITHOUT GETTING BURNED...

Ben Howard

Barry -

I read No Beginning, No End with interest years ago. Thanks to your post, I will go back for a fresh look.

In the excerpt quoted, is Roshi recommending harsh physical training as well as honest self-scrutiny? In my experience they are not the same.

Barry Briggs

Hi Ben,
I can't speak for Roshi, of course, but in context he's referring to cutting away the delusions and afflictions that inhibit our growth. I don't believe that he has literally cut the limbs from his students . . . But then I'm not a Soto-style practitioner and don't know what goes on it those halls!

Thanks, Alan!

Jim Sexton

As a recent student of Kwong-roshi who would not pretend to speak on his behalf or be qualified to interpret his teachings, I would have to say that he refers to the cutting away of our attachments and delusions but learning how to do so is a gradual process. Kwong-roshi is an incredibly compassionate teacher who encourages his students to strive to deepen their practice but to do so without using excessive harshness or techniques that will cause physical trauma. I have always been encouraged to work within my own particular physical limitations and to place greater emphasis on Every Moment awareness then to try and sit as many hours a day as my body can possibly stand.
As someone who has spent time in France working on a vineyard I can verify that the advice on severe pruning is correct - but the vineyard owner prunes both aggressively and carefully at the same time.

Barry Briggs

Jim, thank you so much for your description of Roshi's approach to encouraging students. And also for the description of French vineyard work!

Barry

Lauren T

I have been listening to Jakusho Kwong Roshi's audio set "Breath Sweeps Mind" over the past year or two (6-CD set) and I find his teaching to be deep and compassionate. So much is conveyed through his voice (and laughter). When meditating, I often repeat the phrase "breath sweeps mind" as a way to calm and clear my mind. Thank you for bringing attention to this teacher.

Lauren T
http://mudandlotus.blogspot.com

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