Justin Mccoy is an American Soto Zen Buddhist Monk
who grew up in and around Los Angeles. After four years in architecture school, he left to become a monk. Justin spends much of his time in quiet meditation, but he is also working to create the largest Zen Buddhist Temple outside of Japan. In our conversation, we talk about cultivating happiness, the importance of natural learning for children, the paradox of the self being one with the universe, traditional Japanese building techniques, and much more. Justin’s is a fascinating story… enjoy!
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Useful links from the show:
You can support Justin and the Soto Zen Temple project at tenpyozan.org
If you are interested in Soto Zen Buddhism, check out szba.org
One that will give you lasting peace and happiness,
plus make the world a better place,
“Let Your Consciousness Become Aware of Itself“ would be it.
The benefits of conscious awareness have been proven
By gurus and science,
And the experiences of awakened, normal people everywhere.
The rest of my advice below, is no more reliable
Than what I have personally found to be true.
Enjoy the Power of Now.
You will not understand,
Until you realize you are way more than just your mind.
Then you will look back at your old self,
And smile at your ignorance.
You are not as clueless as you imagine.
“I have known a great many troubles in life,
But most of them never happened,” said Mark Twain
The real (so called) troubles in life
Will be the things you never knew to worry about,
A dreaded thing you could not imagine, suddenly there.
It is. It may drive you to consciousness.
Or consciousness will allow you to accept it, and will free you from it.
That which you fear most, is the only thing you really need to do.
Accept everyone. Love everyone.
If you think you hate someone, try compassion instead,
That person is on the same path, only in a different place on it.
Respect your body.
Let go from your mind all craving and aversion.
No need to want anything, or fear anything.
Trust that our amazing universe will provide for you
In ways better than you can imagine.
Your mind is trying to help, but don’t believe it.
Don’t believe compliments.
Don’t believe insults.
Don’t be proud, it wasn’t all you.
These are so much easier to do than you think… if you don’t think.
Get rid of everything that is not needed.
It will dissolve anyway.
You don’t need to know what to do,
Just breathe and be present.
Rid your life of all negative things,
And they will be replaced with good things.
You will become an inspiration to others.
Contemplate your absolutely amazing body.
Your hearing, your mind, your ability to heal a cut.
Your body will be gone one day but don’t fear,
Your consciousness will be ok with that.
Your life is like swimming in a river,
You can’t control the river,
But you can work with the flow to swim around the rocks.
Maybe you will get that partner,
Or that job, or whatever you think you want.
Or maybe you won’t.
Neither outcome matters if you are conscious to it.
Like, really… play!
Like your favorite game when you were a kid.
Don’t follow directions,
Follow your heart.
Don’t worry about money,
Don’t care how you look,
Actually, don’t care at all.
Get to know everyone.
Every person is an opportunity to help or be helped.
We are all on the same path.
Don’t take those closest to you for granted.
Every time you see them,
Take a moment and look at them as if
You are seeing them for the first time.
The world is getting smaller,
And more connected.
Be open to other cultures and
Other ways of doing things.
Accept these truths:
You only ever have the present moment.
Your body will die.
What you really are exists beyond name and form.
There will be people who are not yet conscious
And therefore need your compassion.
If you are seeking,
Find those who did but stopped.
They may look different than you expected,
But they found the answer.
Free yourself from your mind,
It is a great tool, but only a tool.
Your consciousness will guide you,
So stop searching everywhere else, it’s already there inside of you.
Have the courage to look within and let go of what is there that you don’t need,
Old deadness, stagnation, bad memories, and pain,
The only thing left will be your conscious awareness.
Consciousness is also everywhere,
It will not die,
It is all you need.
And all that you are.
And don’t take anything too seriously.
This piece was inspired by Mary Schmich’s “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.” I found her article interesting and entertaining, but as a yogi, wanted to say what my advice would be…
The seeker’s path is both tricky and amusing because it leads from point A to point A. We tend to look everywhere else, here, there, everywhere, before returning to point A, where the answers are – within. It’s this way for just about every person I know who has had an awakening. The seeking often takes place in near desperation, sometimes not even knowing what the question is, driven by an underlying feeling of unease, unhappiness, a sense of not belonging, or a feeling that something is not quite right with life. We think maybe the answers (or at least pleasant distractions) will be found in travelling, books, gurus, philosophies, universities, careers, and on and on.
I spent many years using my mind constantly, as much as possible, searching for the solution to these problems. Luckily, somehow I began seeing pointers that it was the tool itself that was the problem. The first I remember clearly was my teacher saying, “90 percent of your thoughts are repetitive. So why are you doing that?” Then I began to hear and read other pointers:
“Stop thinking and all your problems will be solved.”
“Can you find the pause button for your mind?”
“There is no more knowledge needed. Look inward.”
The literal dropping of thinking was, the first time, a scary proposition. The feeling was that my very existence might stop. But somehow I found the courage to do it, and it was like dropping a ball, you just let go.
When you awaken, it is as if the clouds have parted and everything becomes perfectly clear. And I mean everything. You go within and everything is there and nothing is there and it is all one. Yet you are back at point A. You took a journey that winds up where you started and nothing has changed, but everything is different. The mind cannot describe what exists beyond the mind, but this space is beautiful for what does not exist here – desperation, unease, unhappiness, stress. All gone.
I encourage you, stop looking for answers, you already have everything you need. Turn your gaze, turn your mind inward. This is all. The results will be wonderful.