Sky Flower Zen

Sky Flower Zen exists to provide a permanent virtual Zen community and online practice opportunity, adding its 9 a.m. Saturday meeting time to the various other online practice opportunities offered by Boundless Way Zen sanghas that, unlike Sky Flower, also have physical locations and may or may not always support practice online.

The term “sky flower,” “flower in the sky,” or “flower in the air” occurs in Buddhist sutras and other writings, originally to describe the illusory character of our perceptions, analogous to sky flowers: that is, the “floaters” we sometimes see in our visual field, or the distortions made by cataracts. In his Shobogenzo fascicle on “Flowers in the Sky” (Japanese: Kūge) the great thirteenth-century Soto ancestor Eihei Dōgen reinterpreted sky flowers as dharma openings, equivalent to (and perhaps not to be distinguished from) the myriad dharmas or 10,000 things we encounter in our everyday life, all manifesting the Dharma, the wisdom of the Buddha. As Dōgen states: “Because what Buddha ancestors ride on are flowers in the sky, the Buddha world and all Buddha dharma are flowers in the sky.” As an online sangha existing in virtual space, we take our inspiration from Dōgen’s revisionary understanding of flowers in the sky, as we practice and “ride” together in cyberspace.