What I think about when I am running

Not for the first time, heading out for a run in the city after running at Tassajara felt quite effortless. The first Christmas I came back from the monastery to San Francisco, after doing some runs in the mountains over the previous months that were too long and arduous ever to want to contemplate doing […]

Sharon Salzberg

‘It is only due to our concepts that we feel separate from the world. We are isolated by ideas of inadequacy, ideas of danger, ideas of loneliness, and ideas of rejection. While we may indeed face external difficulties, our thoughts can amplify them – or even create them, leading us deeper into delusion. If we […]

Gyokko Sensei

‘Once I realized that the point is to be here, there is no reason to rush or be anxious. Ride the flow of nature. If you don’t do this, you suffer a great deal. With this, I saw how I didn’t have to suffer. It’s very difficult! The reasoning is not hard to understand, but […]

What I think about when I am riding

Bacchanalia has never been my strong suit, and while people getting trollied (to use one of the less vulgar English euphemisms) can be entertaining, and give rise to some sympathetic joy (to get in a gratuitous brahmavihara), there is also a way that mass public drunkenness can be separating – between us and them, from […]

Paula Arai

Priest meetings have not been such a regular happening at City Center in the years since I was ordained, but they can be rewarding when they do happen. Ahead of the priest meeting scheduled for last Friday, Daijaku had sent out some material for us to read about pastoral care; one of the pieces, more […]


As I mentioned yesterday, Blanche increasingly concentrated on lovingkindness in her last years, and at most of the Saturday lectures she gave, copies of the Lovingkindness Meditation, Zen Center’s lightly adapted translation of the Metta Sutta, were handed out for everyone to chant together. It was inspiring to witness, not just how much effort she put into being completely compassionate, […]


In one of my earliest posts on this blog, I talked about Blanche’s key role in my early years at Zen Center – these lessons will stay with me as long as I practise, and this is how a person lives on after their death. Since I was heading to Zen Center for a scheduled priest meeting […]

Days at Tassajara

Any time I get to visit Tassajara is a good time. A few people on this trip asked me if I missed living there, and right now I don’t, but it is still a place where I feel more alive than I do just about anywhere else. I was reflecting this week on why that […]

What I think about when I am running

The schedule at Tassajara can make it hard to get a run in at the right time. Last summer when I lived there, I managed to get out at 6am a few times, to get some miles in and be back and bathed in time for student breakfast at 7:30; otherwise, I usually waited until […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Hui Neng, the Sixth Ancestor, said, “To dwell on emptiness and to keep a calm mind is not zazen.” He also said, “Just to sit in a cross-legged posture is not Zen.” At the same time, I always say to you , “Just sit.” If you don’t understand what our practice is and stick to […]