Kakuan Shion

I normally post poems without much commentary, but I thought I would say more about the next few. The ten ox-herding pictures are a historic sequence in zen practice, and many versions exist in picture and verse form. Kakuan is supposed to be the originator of these (his drawings can be seen here, along with […]

Reb Anderson

‘It is actually very helpful in our daily life to remember that people are a mystery, to remember that people are always beyond who we think they are. The same is true of all the activities and objects we encounter.’ (The Third Turning of the Wheel)

Uchiyama Roshi

‘When we hear the word buddha, we usually think of the buddha statues in the main hall of a temple, but those are just dolls. The real buddha is nothing but the zazen we practice. The buddha statues enshrined in the temples are no more than models of zazen. When you clearly understand this, you should then […]

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

‘When fear, anger, frustration, or “why me” arises, ground yourself in the ordinariness of your life and live one day at a time. Suffering teaches us this. When we suffer this much, we can only be still and take each moment as it comes.’ (Sanctuary) That is, of course, if we are prepared to learn from […]


(Zen Speaks) I have been thinking about including some of these cartoons for a while. I am not embarrassed to admit that I first read many well-known zen stories in one of the books in this series by Tsai Chih Chung (I loaned that volume, Wisdom of the Zen Masters, to one of my students, and haven’t […]

Nyogen Senzaki

‘Perseverance is another name for Buddhist life.’ (Eloquent Silence) I had this one lined up as a pithy one-oner when I came across this the other day: ‘Labor improbus (Latin) – steady work, as in the phrase “Labor omnia vicit improbus” from Virgil’s Georgics, meaning “Steady work overcame all things.”‘ Which just goes to show that […]


‘King Wen asked Minister Tai, “You made an effort to recommend wise people, but as yet there is no result. The world is even more disturbed. What is the cause of this crisis?” The minister answered, “If you hire wise ones and do not use them, it is hiring in name only and the fruit […]