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Song of the Jewel Mirror Awareness

June 3 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Date: Saturday, June 3, 2023
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Eastern Time (online and in-person)
Facilitators: Hogen Banerjee and Gansho Hanjian

The Jewel Mirror Samadhi is one of the most famous texts in Zen Buddhism and is chanted regularly in monastic and lay communities throughout the world. Although it is often attributed to the 9th century Chan master Dongshan Liangjie (or Tozan Ryokai in Japanese), the actual provenance of the poem is uncertain.  The text’s profound poetry – “filling a silver bowl with snow, hiding a heron in the moonlight” – conveys deep teachings through language that takes us out of our intellects and into our hearts.

Please join us for an exploration of this beautiful text on Saturday, June 3rd. We’ll explore the poem’s history, significance, and key terms. We’ll consider different translations, chant together, and practice some techniques for memorization. Together, we’ll deepen our sense of connection with the Jewel Mirror Samadhi in our own heart-minds.

Please fill out this form for registration. 

Hogen Raka Banerjee is a novice priest with Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community and has been a student of Sensei Joshin Byrnes since 2018. Her practice is a braided faith of non-dual spiritual traditions, namely Zen Buddhism alongside Advaita Vedanta, her root tradition. She is a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at Upaya Zen Center and lives in Seattle, WA.

Gansho Clark Hanjian is a novice priest with Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community and a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at Upaya Zen Center. He leads a small practice group in Massachusetts (beachplumzen.org/bpz) and serves as a jail chaplain in his community.


The Dharma of thusness
Is intimately conveyed by Buddha Ancestors.
Now you have it. Keep it well.
Filling a silver bowl with snow,
Hiding a heron in the moonlight.
They are similar though not the same.
Side by side you can see the differences.
The meaning is not in the words,
Yet one pivotal instant can reveal it.
Move and you are trapped;
Miss and you fall into confusion and doubt.
Turning away and touching are both wrong,
For it is like a massive fire.
To depict it with complex words
Is to defile it.
In the darkest night, It is perfectly clear.
In the brilliance of dawn, It remains hidden.
It acts as a guide for beings.
Its use removes all suffering.
Although it is not created, It is not beyond words.
It is like facing a jewel mirror;
Form and image behold each other.
You are not it; Yet it is you.
Like a newborn child, It is endowed with five aspects.
No coming, no going, No arising no abiding.
“Baba wawa” is there anything said or not?
In truth, this has no meaning,
For the words are not yet clear.
Like the six lines of the double split hexagram,
The relative and absolute integrate.
Piled up, they make three;
The complete transformation makes five.
It is like the taste of the five-flavored herb,
Like a diamond thunderbolt.
Wondrously embraced within the absolute,
drumming and singing go together.
Penetrating the source and traveling the way;
You cover the territory and embrace the road.
Complications are auspicious;
Do not resist them.
What is natural and inconceivable,
Belongs neither to delusion nor enlightenment.
Causes and conditions at this moment
Shine completely in the silence.
So fine, it enters nowhere,
So vast it exceeds all bounds.
A hairsbreadth deviation
And you are out of harmony.
Through the teachings of sudden and gradual,
Different methods have arisen.
Even though you master such teachings,
The truth keeps on escaping.
Sitting still, yet inwardly moving,
Like a tethered colt, a trapped rat.
The Ancestors pitied them,
And offered them the teachings.
According to their delusions,
They called black as white.
When delusions disappear,
The natural mind reveals itself.
If you want to follow the ancient path,
Please observe the Ancients of former times.
Some try to attain the Buddha Way
By gazing at a tree for ten eons.
They are like a tiger with tattered ears,
Or a hobbled horse.
With low aspirations,
You will see jewel pedestals, fine clothing.
And with a sense of wonder,
You will see black badgers and white bulls.
Yi, with his archer’s skill,
Could hit the mark from a hundred paces.
But when arrow points meet head on,
How could it be a matter of skill?
When the wooden man begins to sing,
The stone woman gets up to dance.
This does not come by knowing,
Nor does it involve ideas.
Ministers serve their lords.
Children obey their guardians.
Not obeying is not filial,
Failure to serve is of no help.
Practice invisibly, work intimately,
Be the fool with no voice.
For realizing true continuation,
Is called the host, within the host.

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