‘Master Shoku was asked by a monk, “What is the meaning of our founder coming from the west?” The master said, “It is like getting a man out of a thousand-foot-deep well without using one single inch of rope. This answers your enquiry.” The monk said, “The monk O of the district of Konan recently […]

Nyogen Senzaki

‘All Zen questions ask for buddha-nature, and nothing else. All answers must come, therefore, directly from it, that is to say, from the inner being of one’s own self.’ (Eloquent Silence) Good advice on approaching a koan.

Blanche Hartman

‘In the ongoing, kaleidoscopic chaos of our life there is nothing substantial to hold on to. Our lives arise moment after moment after moment, and we can’t identify with any of it because it arises and passes away. In the midst of the openness of this question, “What?… What?…What?…” When you touch that really open […]


‘A monk asked, “All of the buddhas and all of the Buddhadharmas come forth from this sutra. What is this sutra?” Qinshan said, “Forever turning.”‘ (Zen’s Chinese Heritage)

Shohaku Okumura

‘Our practice includes all activities of this body and mind – including our thoughts, which are one way to understand this wondrous Dharma. We don’t need to cut off our thoughts. Thinking is, in fact, a function of the Dharma. But we should understand that thought cannot grasp reality. So we have to open our […]


‘When you see a speck of dust, it is not that you do not see the world of phenomena. When you realize the world of phenomena it is not that you do not realize a speck of dust. When buddhas realize the world of phenomena, they do not keep you from realization. Wholesomeness is manifest in the […]

Under the Stars

I don’t remember how long it has been since I sat and looked at the Milky Way. At Wilbur and Tassajara, in the middle of the summer, generally speaking I do not stay up late enough for it to get really dark. Sometimes if I woke up in the middle of the night, or before […]


‘Yangshan asked his teacher Guishan, “How is it when millions of objects emerge all at once?” Guishan said, “A blue thing is not yellow. A long thing is not short. All things abide in their own positions. Why should I be concerned?”‘ (Shinji Shobogenzo) This exchange came to mind again recently, and I spent some time […]