Thursday, April 30, 2020

12 & Zen for May

Step 5:  Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

 Koan: Layman P’ang said: “From out of the clear blue, suffering arises.”

From The Sayings of Layman P’ang,  #30 - Sung-shan’s Staff

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In our homes here, or there, or in far-away places,  no better time than to sit with Step 5 and this koan from Layman P'ang.

Stay well,

Bill K.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Sitting with Step 4 amid the VIRUS

Here we are, in the thick of Sheltering-in-Place, practicing 12 & Zen in our homes instead of meeting in the Zendo. Yesterday, around 6:45 PM, I said to Beth, "I should be sitting in the Zendo right now with others."  Instead, we're all sitting with COVID -19 in our hospitals, communities, on the street, for some in our homes. "Hi COVID-19, I'm keeping my distance from you. We have important things to do right now,  like sitting with Step 4."

Step 4:  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Koan: From Bodhisattva’s Vow – Torei Enji

If someone turns against us,
speaking ill of us and treating us bitterly,
it’s best to bow down:
this is the Buddha appearing to us,
finding ways to free us from our own attachments
the very ones that have made us suffer
again and again and again.

Tackling Step 4 requires courage, action, and a willingness to, perhaps for the first time, take an unvarnished look and uncovering of who I am today – and to remember that working the Steps will change me for the better.

  • This is about bringing my best self to every moment.
  • My practice is about solving division.
  • Do I add to this division?
  • How can this other person make me a better person? This is the Buddha appearing, showing me...
  • What am I learning from others?
  • Buddha said, “Victory breeds hatred?”


If someone turns against us, speaking ill of us and treating us bitterly: Whatever they did, real or imaginary, we alcoholics can come to resentments in a self-centered heartbeat -- a place we dare not stay for long.

it’s best to bow down: We take it easy,  loosening the reins…we pause… we humbly ask our HP for some  guidance in hopes of finding a little empathy and understanding for this other person.  Relief comes when we eventually put them in our prayers, "Bless them, change me."

this is the Buddha appearing to us,finding ways to free us from our own attachments
the very ones that have made us suffer again and again and again:
Look what the Universe is showing us! It’s in recognizing our resentments, that we return to our HP, to show us the things we can do while navigating the process of Step Four.

Resentments are the #1 cause for relapsing, so it’s imperative that I (1) recognize them early on, (2) see my part in a situation, and (3) become willing to take the appropriate action to dissolve my resentment in conjunction with God, Buddha, HP…

They joke about how sausages are made. The process can look pretty repulsing. So can Step 4; but with my sponsor as my guide, he is like the production manager in the sausage plant, I am the worker following his directions.

I had to trust his experience that all my efforts would bring me freedom to complete my inventory and move onto Step Five.

“If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.” Dalai Lama

Blessings to you all during these COVID-19 times. No better time than to "practice these principles in all our affairs."

Bill K.