Uchiyama Roshi

‘Sometimes I imagine myself being sent to prison. I don’t know what society will be like in the future. If a leader like Hitler, Stalin or Mao Tse-Tund gained control, I could be sent to prison if the authorities were to find some fault with me. I read somewhere, “To imprison a minority is to […]

Teijo Munnich

‘In order to awaken to the truth of life and reality, we first have to become free of our self-imposed restrictions, the delusions which cause us to adhere to the belief that there is something to depend upon that is lasting and that our life is in some way unique. Recognizing impermanence, we are aware […]

Shohaku Okumura

‘When we sit in this way we cannot say, “Now I am one with the universe, actualizing the true self beyond space and time.” Of course if we think this, we are just thinking about zazen rather than actualizing it. So our sitting is really nothing special; rather than thinking that we are actualizing enlightenment, […]

Back Home

By the time this is published, I will probably be wandering around London in a state of jet-lag, with hopefully enough energy to go to see Brad Warner speak at the Wimbledon Zen group this evening. I will be back there to speak about Dogen myself on Saturday, focusing on the Tenzokyokun. In between, I will be […]


‘I study painting. In the beginning I used only one color to paint the sky blue. My teacher, Mr. Partington, complained, “Are you painting the sky?” “Yes, I am.” “Then paint the sky, don’t just spread paint on the canvas.” When we look at the sky, every minute the color is changing. Even as I […]

Sunday Poem

The hawk sweeps across the mountain sky – effortless. Hearts quicken – as One. – Myogen Steve Stücky This was also inscribed on my rakusu. Perhaps he was thinking of this photo, which I may have shown him during that practice period.


‘Endeavor wholeheartedly to follow the path of earlier sages. You may have to climb mountains and cross oceans when you look for a teacher to inquire about the way. Look for a teacher and search for understanding with all-encompassing effort, as if you were coming down from heaven or emerging from the ground. When you […]

Marian Mountain

‘On one occasion I became very angry with Suzuki Roshi. The situation which ignited my anger is not important. It is enough to say that Roshi had made an administrative decision which I felt was completely wrong. I knew that if I allowed the matter to go unchallenged I would lose my respect for myself. […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘You may think that if there is no purpose or no goal in our practice, we will not know what to do. But there is a way. The way to practice without having any goal is to limit your activity, or to be concentrated on what you are doing in this moment. Instead of having […]

Shundo Aoyama

‘Zen Master Genshu Watanabe in his last years called to his bedside a monk who had recently become a disciple. The master asked, “How can one go straight on a steep mountain road of ninety-nine curves?” When the young disciple replied, “I don’t know,” he was told, “Walk straight by winding along.” When told to […]