The Language of Ritual

This is the time of the full moon, and the Ryaku Fusatsu ceremony performed at Zen Center connects us back to the earliest days of Buddhism, when itinerant monks in India would gather together at the full and new moon to renew their vows. Perhaps the highlight of my whole summer last year at Tassajara was to […]

Calendar spring-cleaning

In case you are not inclined to visit other pages on the site regularly, I would draw your attention to the calendar page, which I have revamped this week, so that it is now chronological for the next few months, and with pages for different events – including the new Roaming Zen series which I will […]


‘Great teacher Sakyamuni Buddha sat on the vajra seat under the bodhi tree, saw the bright star, realized the way and said, “When the bright star appeared, I accomplished the way at the same time as the great earth and all sentient beings.” The great earth and all sentient beings say it this way; old […]

What I think about when I am running

It seems that each year I get a chance to trot out the line ‘rough winds do shake the darling buds of February’, which amuses me, if nobody else, and this year is no exception. After the balmy weather of the weekend, the winds picked up on Tuesday, and the rain finally skidded in on […]

Green Gulch

People often asked me if I have ever lived at Green Gulch. I haven’t – the longest time I spent there was a Genzo-e sesshin with Shohaku Okumura in 2012 – and a part of the reason for that, beyond the fact that Tassajara and City Center both kept me very busy over the years, was that […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Truth is truth. There are not two truths, only one. When you understand truth only with your mind, you may feel that is the truth. But compared to your actual activity or feeling or life, the truth that you understand with your mind is not the actual truth. Because our actual life is not as […]

Bird Song

I would no more claim to be an ornithologist than a naturalist. I enjoy meeting trees and flowers, and birds, but often don’t know the names of what I am encountering. Sometimes I think this is a shame, other times I don’t worry about it. Right now, in the tree behind my house, there is […]