‘When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving, but when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine things with a confused body and mind, you might suppose that your mind and nature are […]

Master Ma

‘Once, Lecturer Liang of Mount Xi, Hong Region, studied with Mazu, who said, “Which sutra do you teach?” Liang said, “The Heart Sutra.” Mazu said, “How do you teach it?” Liang said, “I teach it with the heart.” Mazu said, “The heart is like a main actor. The will is like a supporting actor. The […]


As I get used to life outside of Zen Center, one aspect I am enjoying is having a different starting point for exploring the city, especially when I put on my running shoes and head out for some exercise. I started running regularly in the city a couple of years ago, mainly motivated by wanting […]

Transmitting the Light

‘The forty-first patriarch was Great Master Tongan the Latter. He studied with the former Tongan. He said, “The ancients said, ‘What worldly people love, I love not.’ I wonder what you love.” Tongan Daopi replied, “I have already been able to be like this.” At these words, Tongan the Latter was greatly enlightened.’ From Keizan’s commentary: […]

What I think about when I am riding

Since all my books are currently still in boxes, and being that it is a time of year for more leisured reflection, I hope I will be forgiven some more personal ramblings… It was traditional in my family to take a walk on Christmas Day, as a bracing antidote to sitting by the fire and the […]

A Day at Tassajara

The Tassajara shuso ceremony is always later in December than those at City Center or Green Gulch, and I planned my recent travels around being able to attend last Friday. Being there felt like an oasis of formal ritual in the midst all my recent worldly activities. It makes for a long day: leaving the city at […]


In case yesterday’s mention of Dogen and the moon left you flummoxed: ‘Enlightenment is like the moon reflected in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the […]

On the move

I have been traveling this month, and one of my friends asked me if I made time to sit when I was away from home and out of my usual schedules. A couple of weeks ago on my travels, I offered a meditation session at a friend’s office, but otherwise I did not do any formal sitting. […]

Enkyo O’Hara

‘We tend to think that we are independent of our environment, of the people and things around us. But when we sit in meditation and experience ourselves completely, breath by breath, we realize that we do not exist in a vacuum; we co-exist with the elements and with all those with whom we’re connected consciously […]

Transmitting the Light

‘The forty-second patriarch was Liangshan. He studied with Tongan Guanzhi and served him. Tongan asked him, “What is the business beneath the patched robe?” Liangshan had no answer. Tongan said, “Studying the Buddha Way and still not reaching this realm is the most painful thing. Now, you ask me.” Liangshan asked, “What is the business […]