At the beginning of the year, it looked like I would have a conflict this week. One of my students had pencilled in August 8th for his wedding, since it is an auspicious date, and had asked me to officiate. The plan was shaping up to be a long weekend for many people up in […]

Koun Ejo

I’m just a festering mass, a beast amongst humans. For years I minced barefoot, adopting some “Continental” style. Now, monk’s straw sandals on my feet, I touch my nose.

Norman Fischer

‘Trying to practice love and compassion, and letting go of anger, doesn’t mean acquiescing when harm is done, especially when others are being hurt. A bodhisattva could never stand by and let that happen. A bodhisattva practices radical acts of protection, which might sometimes be forceful. But force is avoided if at all possible in […]

Keizan Jokin

‘Both body and mind drop off in zazen.  It is far beyond the form of sitting or lying down.  Therefore, free from considerations of good and evil, it transcends the distinctions of ordinary people and sages, it goes far beyond judgments of deluded or enlightened, it is entirely apart from the boundary between sentient beings […]

The Blue Cliff Record

‘The master of Lotus Flower Peak cottage held out his staff and said to his disciples, “When, in olden times, a person reached the state of enlightenment, why did they not remain there?” No one could answer, and he replied for them, “Because it is of no use in the course of life.” And again […]


‘When you’re in the ocean, why search for water? When you’re on the peak, why look for the mountain? The mountain is a mountain. Water is water. But where is the Buddha?’ (Commentary on the Diamond Sutra) We seem to be in a little theme of mountains right now. There might be, under other circumstances a […]

Jenny Odell

‘An ecological understanding allows us to identify “things” – rain, cloud, river – at the same time that it reminds us that these identities are fluid. Even mountains erode, and the ground beneath us moves in giant plates. It reminds us that – while it’s useful to have a word for that thing called a […]


‘When you move mountains, rivers and earth, as well as the sun, the moon, and stars to practice, they in return move you to practice. This is not the open eye of just one time, but the vital eye of all times. Because it is all the open eye, the vital eye of all times, […]

Anna Akhmatova

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold, Death’s great black wing scrapes the air, Misery gnaws to the bone. Why then do we not despair? By day, from the surrounding woods, cherries blow summer into town; at night the deep transparent skies glitter with new galaxies. And the miraculous comes so close to the ruined, dirty houses— […]

San Francisco Summer

We have had some pretty heavy-duty fog these past couple of weeks in San Francisco. It’s par for the course at this time of year, as everyone knows, but we had managed to get through half of July without it being too much of an issue. There is a heavy quality to the fog light […]