Treasure hunting is a popular game.
Taiun Michael Elliston
2021 book,The Original Frontier, is subtitled, A Serious Seekers Guide to Zen. The guide is a series of experiences that offer options. These are like clues in a treasure hunt wherein the clues are the treasure.
The basis for “ A Serious Seekers Guide to Zen,” was laid in 2010 when Sensei established Mokuri: The Silent Thunder Order. As a member of that Order we take-up the way of our root-teacher, Soyu Matsuoka-roshi (松岡 操雄, 1912–1997) with our guide (Guiding Teacher) Taiun Micheal Elliston-roshi.
Over the years since meeting Elliston-roshi I have taken-up what he has said about his teacher and his pointing,
sometimes jabbing, directive offerings, as we share the Dharma. As a transmitted priest this “taking-up” has now become my vow to continue helping (being a guide) all beings find their way.
The potential to be a Buddha and the power of Zen lies in each of us, to be discovered by meditation and faithful attention to the tasks of everyday life.
It is a way of living in the present moment, giving many benefits to persons who are sincere and dedicated in following its way. It will make a person’s body remain youthful, for this way of moderation is the best thing for it. It will make your mind very alert and calm at the same time, so that you are very little troubled. Your judgment becomes mature and wise because of your calm and quick mind. Your body is filled with the feeling of good health, and is elastic like a rubber ball. Your mind is refreshed, and you will find happiness in whatever you do.
You find the richness of life everywhere. You know your life’s direction and have no hesitancy or fear. You are openhearted and spontaneous. You find that you are in harmony with your surroundings and have little cause for concern. These are just some of the benefits of Zen meditation. When you have practiced meditation for some time, you will know them for themselves.
The richness of life which they reveal is to be experienced, rather than talked about. This is because Zen is a way of experience.
Above the treasure is not something hidden but found…and refound each day. A kind of spiritual conditioning in each moment provides boundless options for the next moment. Hojo Michael Elliston-roshi puts it thusly:
Zen Is Not about Life; Life Is about Zen. We first hear about and then decide to approach Zen, thinking that it is about life. We will, it is hoped, learn something new that we can apply to our daily lives.
But we come to see that life is about Zen, actually. It turns out that our real life is all about what Zen is pointing to—the central riddle, koan, or Mystery of life. And, in one way or another, another, we are all doing our best to resolve this koan. Only we may not be doing a very good job of it.
The same applies to all of our efforts, including mine, in writing this text. This is the meaning of “wholeheartedness” in Zen.
Michael Elliston. The Original Frontier (p. 289). Cornell Maritime Press. Kindle Edition.
We as seekers become finders—we are founders of the Way. Every moment we lay the path we’ve found, a guide is born:
When one practices supreme and perfect enlightenment, the most difficult task is to get a guide and teacher. That teacher is not in the form of a man or woman but rather will be a person of great resolve, will be just such a person. The teacher is not a person from the past nor a person from the present. More likely it will be a fox spirit who will be the good friend. This is the face of getting the marrow, your guide and benefactor. The teacher will not be in the dark about cause and effect; the teacher may be you or I or someone else.
November (2010) is Founders month for the Silent Thunder Order and the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha, Our Sangha will explore the teachings of Matsuoka-roshi and Elliston-roshi. Hojo Elliston-roshi will give our annual Founder’s Month Dharma talk on November 22, 2022. Please join us in celebration…
Unshin Sangaku Dan Joslyn