Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma

Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Book 11
Principles of Zazen
(Zazen gi)

Studying Zen is zazen. For zazen, one should have a quiet place. Spread a thick sitting mat. Do not let in drafts or vapors; do not admit rain or dew. You should secure and maintain the spot where you place yourself. There are traces from the past of those who sat on a vajra [seat] or sat on a rock; they all spread a thick layer of grass to sit on. The place where you sit should be bright; it should not be dark either day or night. The technique is to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.

Cast aside all involvements and discontinue the myriad affairs. Good is not thought of; evil is not thought of. It is not mind, intellect or consciousness; it is not thoughts, ideas or perceptions. Do not figure to make a buddha; slough off sitting or reclining.

You should be moderate in food and drink. Hold dear the passing days and nights, and take to zazen as though brushing a fire from your head. The Fifth Ancestor on Mt. Huangmei worked only at zazen, without any other other occupation.

During zazen, you should wear your kesa. Put down a cushion. The cushion is not placed completely under your crossed legs but only under the rear half, so that the mat is beneath the legs and the cushion beneath the spine. This is the way that all the buddhas and ancestors have sat during zazen.

Sit in either the half lotus or full lotus position. For the full lotus position, place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. The toes should be even with the thighs, not out of alignment. For the half lotus position, simply place your left foot on your right thigh.

Loosen your robe and underwaist, and arrange them properly. Place your right hand on your left foot and your left hand on your right hand. Put the tips of your thumbs together. With your hands in this position, place them against your body, so that that the joined thumb tips are aligned with your navel.

Straighten your body and sit erect. Do not lean to the left or right; do not bend forward or back. The ears should always be aligned with the shoulders, and the nose aligned with the navel. The tongue should be placed against the front of the palate. The breath should pass through the nose. The lips and teeth should be closed. The eyes should be open, neither too widely nor too narrowly.

Having thus regulated body and mind, take a breath and exhale fully. Sitting fixedly, think of not thinking. How do you think of not thinking? Nonthinking. This is the art of zazen.

Zazen is not the practice of dhyâna. It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy. It is undefiled practice and verification.

Treasury of the Eye of True Dharma, Principles of Zazen, Number 11.

Bears on rise in home market

Bears on rise in home market
Economic worries and rising mortgage rates expected to push Hong Kong property prices down for at least a year, ending two years of stunning rises
Peggy Sito and Paggie Leung
SCMP Nov 09, 2011

Bulls are quitting the city’s housing market as the betting from analysts swings towards the view that home prices have entered a falling cycle that will last for at least the next 12 months.

Though opinions differ on whether the city has already tipped from a bull to a bear cycle, there is widespread agreement that prices could fall between 5 per cent and 20 per cent because of the rising cost of home loans and the economic concerns locally and abroad.

In the unlikely event that the Hong Kong economy suffers a hard landing, home prices could collapse by as much as 45 per cent, according to Barclays Capital Research.

“Clearly, the market is going through a period of soul-searching and undergoing a reality check, with many now sitting out the global turmoil and those that are buying dictating the level of pricing rather than the vendor,” said Nicholas Brooke, chairman of consultancy Professional Property Services.
Continue reading Bears on rise in home market

HSBC lays off HK investment bankers

HSBC lays off HK investment bankers
Reuters in London
Nov 11, 2011

HSBC Holdings is laying off several hundred investment bankers in Hong Kong, London and elsewhere this week as part of its jobs cull to save billions of dollars, people familiar with the matter said.

Staff in the global banking and markets (GBM) investment bank arm were being told of the cuts this week, and some had already been told, several sources said. It is expected to affect several hundred of GBM’s 20,000 staff.

Europe’s biggest bank plans to axe 30,000 jobs by the end of 2013 under a revamp by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver to cut annual costs by US$3.5 billion. It has shed 5,000 to date, it said on Wednesday.

The bank had 296,000 staff at the end of last year, so the cuts represent 10 per cent of the workforce. That would equate to about 2,000 staff at GBM, although that could be more as investment banking revenue has been hit hard by recent euro zone turmoil, especially in credit and rates. The bank has also said it will hire in some growth areas and countries.

HSBC has pinpointed five countries and its UK headquarters for the first wave to face cuts, mostly by the end of the year. It has said 3,000 jobs would go in Hong Kong, but not detailed any more specific cuts. The other affected countries are the United States, Brazil, Canada and Mexico.

“We are not commenting on specifics but HSBC is going through an efficiency programme as described at the investor day in May. The programme is about reducing bureacracy and enhancing organisational effectiveness,” a spokesman for the bank said.

Gulliver has said the cost base is “unacceptable” and wants to get expenses below 52 per cent of income. He has some way to go – costs represented 59.1 per cent of underlying income in the first nine months of this year, up from 54.4 per cent a year ago.