Going Places

Often when I give zazen instruction, I end up saying something about airports. The gist of this is that we start by meditating on a cushion, then we include walking meditation, and circle out so that we can eventually find the feeling of zazen in our work and in other parts of our lives. Then we […]

Ssu Dongpo

The sounds of the valley are his long broad tongue The colours of the mountains are none other than his pure body. Through the night, I hear the eighty-four thousand verses. In the morning, how can I tell them to others? — I am rather surprised that I have not used this poem yet, as […]

Blanche Hartman

‘Even today, as we consciously make an effort to live a life of no harm, we discover that we cannot literally follow the first precept of not killing. We must either starve ourselves or eat food that has been alive. Even if we are strict vegetarians, the life of living beings can only be supported […]

The Blue Cliff Record

‘Jade is tested with water; gold is tested with stone; a sword is tested with a hair; water is tested with a staff. In the school of patch-robe monks, with each word, each phrase, each act, each state, each exit, each entry, each greeting, each response, you need to see the shallow and the deep, […]

Roaming Zen

All year I have been trying to figure out how to get Mount Davidson into a Roaming Zen. I have even run up it a couple of times since getting back from England as I try to envisage ways to connect it with other interesting places nearby. On Sunday I concluded that trying to combine […]

Chögyam Trungpa

‘I think if any of us had seen [Buddha] or heard him talk, it would not have been anything like a lecture as we know it. It was just simple conversation. It was not the talking that was important but the whole situation that he created; it was not because he had achieved such spiritual […]


‘Mature or not, it’s all a matter of long-term practice. One should progress in study as much as possible according to the teacher’s method. The same is true of the vows of students of the Way; although incapable at first, eventually they’ll succeed. Even if temporarily discouraged by obstructions caused by ingrained habits, if you […]

Uchiyama Roshi

‘To fall in love is ecstasy, but marriage is everyday life. Everyday life has rainy days, windy days, and stormy days. So you can’t always be happy. It’s the same with zazen. There are two kinds of zazen transmitted in Japan. One understands zazen as ecstasy and the other understands zazen as everyday life. A […]