Chan Master Sheng Yen

‘People who want to attain wisdom usually do not know how or where to begin. If you seek wisdom through words, all you will gain is intellectual knowledge. Scholars may study and even recite sutras by heart without perceiving their meaning from direct personal experience. Writing about sutras, doing comparative analysis, and so on, do […]

What I think about when I am running

Last week I pushed myself perhaps a little too much. It was probably a reaction to the week before, when I had been busy with different things, but felt like I had not had the chance to be active. When my energy felt stuck and sour in the days after Roaming Zen, putting me in […]

Michael Stone

‘Mind is always organizing. We humans classify the raw data of our experience by giving it name and form. Mind is what puts name and form together. When we can see that our mind is a kind of synthesizer, we can step back and watch the choices that our minds make moment to moment. The […]

The Language of Ritual

As the season of the winter training periods draws to a close across all three of Zen Center’s practice places (I am hoping to attend all three shuso ceremonies, which are spread across ten days), one ceremony will be discontinued. Nenju has a mixed reputation, it might be fair to say. At Tassajara, on the afternoon before […]

Hakuin

Clearly it’s ungraspable within the Three Worlds An empty sky swept clean away – not a particle left On the zazen seat, in the dead of night, cold as steel Moonlight through a window, bright with shadows of the plum!

What I think about when I am riding

In the south London borough of Southwark, where I used to live, there is a building I remember. A building made with typical brick, touches of art deco in its facades, built for the local government almost a century ago. Over the doorway, engraved in stone, the phrase, ‘The health of the people is the highest […]

Identity and Opinions

My sister-in-law, who is more attuned to social niceties than other members of my immediate family, asked early on in my practice if I thought of myself as a Buddhist. For me, that was less troublesome a question than whether I was a monk. Living at Tassajara, in monastic seclusion, as I had been at the […]

Dogen

‘The zazen of even one person at one moment imperceptibly accords with all things and fully resonates through all time. Thus in the past, future and present of the limitless universe, this zazen carries on the Buddha’s teaching endlessly. Each moment of zazen is equally wholeness of practice, equally wholeness of realization.’ (Shobogenzo Bendowa) I think […]

What I think about when I am riding

‘Each moment is perfect if you don’t compare it’ (Byron Katie) A friend of mine noticed recently that I have been talking more about running than about cycling, and it is probably true. I have been covering enough miles in my running recently that I am feeling like a runner again – when I started training […]

Roaming Zen

Over the weekend I was imagining how I would write up the inaugural Roaming Zen, not least as I have not been in a great mood for the past couple of days, and the idea of writing a booster post didn’t seem so authentic. As I told a few people, I had a kind of […]