This Very Beginner’s Mind

I have a new commute these days, to a different part of the East Bay, on those three days a week where I am doing what I usually refer to as my day job. I am still getting used to this: I miss the regular driver on the train I used to catch; on the […]

Bernard Glassman

‘We don’t practice to attain enlightenment, just as we don’t eat or breathe to be alive. Because we’re alive, we breathe. Because we’re alive, we eat. Because we’re enlightened, we do zazen. Dogen says that zazen is a manifestation of the enlightened state. We practice and recognize everything we do as a manifestation of the […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘You think that you can only establish true practice after you attain enlightenment, but it is not so. True practice is established in delusion, in frustration. If you make some mistake, that is where to establish your practice. There is no other place for you to establish your practice.’ (Not Always So) As in other realms, […]

Between the clouds

July is generally fog season in San Francisco, but this year we are having more sunshine than I am used to, thankfully. Trump may still be government by apoplexy, Brexit may still be an omnishambles, and the collision of the two this week has not been pretty, but the jacaranda trees are flowering throughout the Mission, the […]

Mumon Yamada

‘Ordinary people are out working so they carry on their daily lives without thinking that their own unreal thoughts are unreal. But try doing a little zazen and you will realize how full of unreal thoughts humans are. Such unnecessary useless thinking!’ (Talks on the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures) Reading this again, it might sound a little […]


The zen master Kassan Zenne was asked by a monk, “What is the Way?” Kassan said, “The sun floods the eye; not a fleck of cloud for ten thousand miles.” The monk said, “I do not understand.” Kassan said, “In the clear water, the wandering fish deludes itself.” Where does the fish think it is? […]