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 […]


‘A monk asked Joshu, “What is my essence?” Joshu said, “The tree sways, the bird flies about, the fish leaps, the water is muddy.”‘ What is your essence right now? Can you hear the tree and the bird?


‘With one phrase that expresses the essence, a block of ice melts and a tile breaks. With one phrase a ditch is filled and a valley is dammed. Within this one phrase, all the buddhas of the three times and the six generations of Chinese ancestors are born in heaven and descend from heaven, enter […]

The Trees on Lily Alley

It is always hard if someone asks you, at the end of the retreat, how it went. When you have just spent a week pretty much entirely focused inwardly, there is so much that goes on that there is usually not one simple answer. Sometimes there are amazing highs and lows, and we learn that […]

Nanao Sakaki

Within a circle of one meter You sit, pray and sing. Within a shelter ten meters large You sleep well, rain sounds a lullaby. Within a field a hundred meters large Raise rice and goats. Within a valley a thousand meters large Gather firewood, water, wild vegetables and Amanitas. Within a forest ten kilometers large […]


‘A monk asked Lung-ya: “What did old masters attain when they entered the ultimate stage?” He replied, “They were like burglars sneaking into an empty house.”‘ I think I first heard this phrase from Shohaku Okumura, who talked about his dharma grand-father Kodo Sawaki using it regularly. It is a compelling image which rings true, […]


‘You must understand one thing in Buddhism: there is no mystery in authentic Dharma. Some people misunderstand Buddhism. They think anyone who studies Buddhism will acquire supernatural power, not knowing the real meaning of “supernatural.” Especially in America today, everyone wishes to have some form of power. They have enough power materially, therefore they wish […]