Showing posts from January, 2020
On Tuesday 7 January Zen nun Maddie E Shin Parisio from Norwich visited us at the Old Street Zen group and gave us an insightful introduction to the Cheng-dao ke (Japanese Shōdōka) - The Song of Awakening - a famous Zen poem by the Chinese Zen teacher Jongjia Xuanjue (Japanese Yoka Daishi.) Maddie has been practicing zazen for many years. She has received bodhisattva ordination from Jean Baby in 1998. Ten years later she received the nun ordination from Philippe Reiryu Coupey - a close disciple of Taisen Deshimaru. Despite having practiced for such a long time, Maddie only recently began to formally study Zen texts. She came across the Shōdōka for the first time a few years ago when she volunteered to transcribe a bunch of old typewriter transcripts of a commentary of Taisen Deshimaru about the poem. Maddie got intrigued and wanted to learn more. She picked up the French translation of this commentary on the poem and has not put it down ever since. What impresses Maddie most is th

The six Pāramitās

The six pāramitās are essentially a set of virtues or practices that a Buddhist should follow in order to progress towards awakening. They are mentioned repeatedly in major Mahayana sutras such as the Lotus sutra or the Vimalakirti sutra. The pāramitās guide bodhisattvas - mythical Buddhist protectors who have vowed to become Buddhas and to save all beings - as they live through many, many cycles of birth and death. On the way they progressively refine the virtues to ever higher degrees of perfection. The unknown authors of the Mahayana sutras most commonly refer to six pāramitās (Williams 1989): Dāna (giving) Śīla (morality) Kṣānti (patience) Vīrya (effort) Dhyāna (meditative concentration) Prajñā (wisdom) As a programme of recommended practices, the pāramitās are an alternative to the famous eightfold path that Buddha Shakyamuni has revealed in his first teaching following his awakening (The Buddhist Society 2019). So why are there two different paths in Buddh