‘The consistent conduct of people of the way is like the flowing clouds with no grasping mind, like the full moon reflecting universally, not confined anywhere, glistening within each of the ten thousand forms. Dignified and upright, emerge and make contact with the variety of phenomena, unstained and unconfused. Function the same towards all others […]

Nishiari Bokusan

‘The reason lotus flowers are not stained with mud is that they are free within mud. If they remove themselves from mud and go to a field, they will become dried out. But what would happen if the lotus flowers are stuck in the mud? Then they cannot give forth their fragrance. Now look! Being […]

Katagiri Roshi

‘For zazen, we arrange the circumstances in the zendo so that it is not too bright or too dark, not too cold or too hot, not dry or wet. We also arrange the external physical conditions, such as our posture and the amount of food we eat. If we eat too much we may fall […]


With realization, all things are of one family, Without realization, everything is separate and different. Without realization, all things are of one family, With realization, everything is separate and different.

Nyogen Senzaki

‘When I mention Zen, some may think I am talking about something different from the general body of Buddhism – that Zen is some sect made in Japan and imported here. Zen is not the name of a sect. It is an expression for the realization and the actualization of the Dharma. If your wish […]

What I think about when I am riding

The day after I returned to California, I officiated a very small wedding out in the redwoods north of San Francisco. I often say that while I appreciate the vastness of the redwoods – and standing at the foot of several majestic trunks in soft afternoon light last week took my breath away – I […]


‘One day, Yantou was talking with Xuefeng and Qinshan. Xuefeng suddenly pointed at a basin of water. Qinshan said, “When the water is clear the moon comes out.” Xuefeng said, “When the water is clear the moon does not come out.” Yantou kicked over the basin and walked away.’ (Zen’s Chinese Heritage) My first thought on […]