A New Place To Sit

The first time I went to Ventura was about eighteen months ago. My friends Thomas and Leslie had started a sitting group at a local mattress-factory-turned-arts-centre, and asked if I would come and perform an opening ceremony. It was a lovely weekend, and they were very generous hosts. Since then they have moved house, and […]

Dogen

‘Once someone asked: “Suppose a student, hearing it taught that he himself is the Buddhadharma and that one must not seek it outside, should acquire great faith in these words, abandon the practice, study under a teacher that had occupied him until then, and spend his life doing both good and bad in accordance with […]

Shundo Aoyama

‘In Japan, when we talk about cherry-blossom viewing, cherry blossoms must be in full bloom; if we talk about moon-viewing, it is understood that the moon has to be full. But it is possible to enjoy buds before they open, or to enjoy the scene of the petals floating to the ground in the wind […]

Darlene Cohen

‘We’ve all been conditioned since childhood to focus on getting things as an indication of achievement, be it material like a new car, or intangible like a promotion. We experience this striving in endless subtle forms all the time. We cook our food in order to have dinner. We wash our clothes in order to […]

Roaming Zen

The seasons have turned in San Francisco. Last week the skies cleared; grey mornings were replaced by high clouds, and we had a couple of spectacular sunsets. September is a month I have always enjoyed, a time of shifting, where new years begin. This week sees the return of Roaming Zen for a second season. […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Rinzai, an early Chinese Zen master, analyzed how to teach his disciples in four ways. Sometimes he talked about the disciple himself; sometimes he talked about the teaching itself; sometimes he gave an interpretation of the disciple or the teaching; and finally, sometimes he did not give any instruction at all to his disciples. He […]

The true imperative

Another Sawaki Roshi quote I have been carrying around with me for the last few months, but not bringing to a teaching situation, goes like this: ‘People often say, “In my opinion…” Anyhow, “my opinion” is no good – so keep your mouth shut!’ (The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo) It does not seem so kind […]

Sawaki Roshi

‘I can’t help a human being who is not able to live without money.’ (The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo) Sawaki Roshi is quite popular among some Tassajara monks, probably for his iconoclastic approach, which was very much against the grain of the twentieth-century Japanese zen establishment. Sometimes it feels like he is just being […]

Michael Stone

‘What constitutes our image of ourselves is a subjective story that we construct over the course of our lives, and others help us create it as well. A subject only remains a subject because the person constantly rearticulates himself or herself. We can all feel what it’s like to rehash old stories of ourselves and […]