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The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice
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The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  39 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The Dragon Who Never Sleeps is a collection of gathas—poetic vows for daily living in verse form—that are similar to prayers. Reciting these gathas can help us to face life's difficulties with understanding and humor. They serve as gentle reminders to live in the present, accept ourselves, and offer joy to others.
Paperback, 86 pages
Published October 1st 1992 by Parallax Press
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Being a poet, I loved stumbling across this book for the first time on the sale rack of a local bookstore. My copy is tattered, dog-eared, and worn. I have written various verses from this book on post it notes to keep in my desk drawer at work or to stick on my bathroom mirror. This book inspired me to start the practice of writing gathas. My favorite gatha from this book:

Kicking a chair in the dark
I vow with all beings
To let the pain and surprise
Slow me down to this step, this step
Not easy to get this book. It is verses for Zen Buddhist Practice, but with an everyday spin. Example:
Watching ants clean up the kitchen
I vow with all beings
to clean up the waste on my desk
and the leftover crumbs in my mind.

When anger raises my voice
I vow with all beings
to take the hand of the other
and conspire in silence for a while.

Great coaching tool.
Example of one of the 100's of verses:

When my efforts are clearly outclassed

I vow with all beings

to face my own limitations

and bring forth my original self.

Yes, a man's got to know his limitations. Definitely a 5.
Gathas are the Buddhist equivalent of haikus which are recited or reflected upon to strengthen spiritual practice.

"Watching ants clean up the kitchen
I vow with all beings
to clean up the waste on my desk
and the leftover crumbs in my head."

Dec 27, 2007 Al rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: zen, poetry
Beautiful Zen gathas - I found these extremely inspiring, and even wrote a few of my own after reading it.
When you have read many gathas
I vow with all beings
to commit them to memory
and forget them again
A wonderful collection of Zen mindfulness verses.
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Robert Aitken is a retired master of the Diamond Sangha, a Zen Buddhist society he founded in Honolulu in 1959 with his late wife Anne Hopkins Aitken.

A lifetime resident of Hawai‘i, Aitken Rōshi is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i with a BA degree in English literature and an MA degree in Japanese studies. In 1941, he was captured on Guam by invading Japanese forces, and interned in Japan
More about Robert Aitken...
Taking the Path of Zen The Mind of Clover: Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics Zen Master Raven: Sayings and Doings of a Wise Bird The Gateless Barrier: The Wu-Men Kuan (Mumonkan) Encouraging Words: Zen Buddhist Teachings for Western Students

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“The Buddha's original teaching is essentially a matter of four points -- the Four Noble Truths:

1. Anguish is everywhere.
2. We desire permanent existence of ourselves and for our loved ones, and we desire to prove ourselves independent of others and superior to them. These desires conflict with the way things are: nothing abides, and everything and everyone depends upon everything and everyone else. This conflict causes our anguish, and we project this anguish on those we meet.

3. Release from anguish comes with the personal acknowledgment and resolve: we are here together very briefly, so let us accept reality fully and take care of one another while we can.

4. This acknowledgement and resolve are realized by following the Eightfold Path: Right Views, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Recollection, and Right Meditation. Here "Right" means "correct" or "accurate" -- in keeping with the reality of impermanence and interdependence.”
“Watching gardeners label their plants
I vow with all beings
to practice the old horticulture
and let plants identify me.”
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