The reality of all things

‘When we go to the moon I am not sure we are following the best direction for human beings. I don’t know what we are doing. When we find the spirit of zazen, we find the way of life to follow as a human being. In other words, we are not fooled by things or […]


‘Question fourteen: Monks quickly depart from their involvements and have no obstacles to wholeheartedly engaging in the way of zazen. But how can people who are busy with their duties in the world single-mindedly practice and be in accord with the buddha way of non-action? Reply: Certainly the buddha ancestors with their great sympathy keep […]

Walking meditation

People still ask me regularly about my meditation practice in my new life. It is true that I don’t sit every day, but usually my teaching commitments have me sitting three or four times a week, which feels like an acceptable minimum right now, as I adjust from having scheduled zazen six or seven days […]

Katagiri Roshi

In my conversation on Saturday with my friend over from New York, the subject turned to the state of the dharma there. Her experience reinforced my impressions from reading about various venues and teachers: the pressure to succeed and emphasis on self-belief in the city is reflected in how some present their mindfulness and meditation offerings, with […]

Karen Maezen Miller

‘Whatever the scenery, our practice is the same. Our practice is to face and feel everything life is, and everything it isn’t. Everything we think and feel and everything we don’t. Wall gazing is a very thorough practice in facing the fleetingness of things and not getting trapped in momentary apparitions. All apparitions, it turns […]

What I think about when I am riding

Sunday was my first completely unscheduled day for almost two weeks, so I did what I did the last time and went for as long a bike ride as I could contemplate. Despite Saturday being a long day (though very enjoyable with my third trip down to Santa Cruz, being well taken care of by Hannah, […]


The monkey reaches for the moon in the water, Until death overtakes him he’ll never give up. If he would let go of the branch and disappear in the deep pool, The whole world would shine with dazzling pureness. This drawing accompanies the poem – or vice versa:

The Gateless Gate

‘A monk asked Tozan, “What is Buddha?” Tozan replied, “Three pounds of flax.” From Nyogen Senzaki’s commentary: ‘I am reminded of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who was one of the world’s greatest educators of the eighteenth century. When he was a young school teacher, he was talking to his class about a window, so he drew […]

What I think about when I am riding

After four months at my new address, I am still overestimating the times that my commutes take. I think the distance may be a tad longer, but in terms of my spatial sense of the city, the two locations both seem further away, so I allow more time. Getting to the jail it is not […]

Pema Chödrön

‘The hermit of Lotus Flower Peak held out his staff and said to his disciples, “When in olden times, an adept 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.”‘ (Blue Cliff Record, case 25) […]