In its most common usage, the word intimacy hardly suggests a spiritual context. Enter the word in your browser, and you are likely to turn up references to the bedroom, the boudoir, and Britney Spears’ line of designer lingerie. Yet the root of intimate, from which intimacy derives, is the Latin intimus, which means “inmost.” And a desire for true intimacy–for connection with one’s inmost nature–is fundamental to many spiritual traditions, Zen Buddhism included. “Intimacy,” writes the Zen teacher Jakusho Kwong, “is at the heart of all of Zen.” (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Shohaku Okumura’
Posted in 1, meditation, Zen, tagged awareness of breathing, Britney Spears, intimacy, Jakusho Kwong, mindfulness, Scott Russell Sanders, Shohaku Okumura, thich nhat hanh, zen, Zen Buddhism, zen meditation on 19 August 2015 | 2 Comments »
Posted in 1, tagged Bann River, County Derry, Dylan Thomas, gerard manley hopkins, ichigo ichie, Irish poetry, Living by Vow, perch, seamus heaney, Shohaku Okumura, Zen poetry on 5 February 2014 | 3 Comments »
Twelve years ago, my wife and I planted a row of Red Twig Dogwoods on the western border of our back yard. They are now more than twelve feet tall. As I look out on this cold winter morning, I notice again how the dogwoods’ deep-red branches contrast with the prevailing whites, grays, and browns. Against a dormant and seemingly lifeless landscape, they remind us of the life force.
The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins called that force “the clearest freshness deep down things.” Dylan Thomas called it “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” More simply, the Zen teacher Shohaku Okumura, in his book Living by Vow,* calls it the “natural universal life force,” which appears most vividly in nature but is common to the natural and human worlds alike. “The force that drives the water through the rock,” Thomas went on to say, “drives my red blood.” “We are all connected,” writes Okumura, “one universal life force.” (more…)