Reb Anderson

‘To sit without delving into existence or nonexistence is called wholeheartedly sitting.’ (The Third Turning of the Wheel) Perhaps this quote might seem a little scary – how can we not be delving into existence – or nonexistence. It brings to mind the phrase from Dogen, ‘no longer concerned with conceptual distinctions.’ I remember how long […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘To appreciate things and people, our minds need to be calm and clear. So we practice zazen, or “just sitting” without any gaining idea. At this time you are you yourself. You “settle yourself on yourself.” With this practice, we have freedom, but it may be that the freedom you mean and the freedom Zen […]

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

‘I used to be afraid of being… viewed as “soft”. How could I be tender in the liberated sense, and be strong and safe? How could I meet disrespect or disregard with tenderness? How could I trust it? How can I be tender when there is war? How can I not be tender when there […]


A rag-robed chewer of vegetables, my heart is like the clear autumn moon through and through. Ask me where I’m from, all I can say is blue waters, blue mountains.

Judy Lief

‘We can learn a lot by observing how we oscillate between distraction or entertainment and boredom. Boredom has an edge to it. We feel our ground slipping away; we struggle to find some way to secure ourselves. There is too much space; we need to fill it. There is nothing happening; we need to do […]


A monk asked Xuedou, “What is your manner of teaching?” Xuedou replied, “When guests come, one should see them.” (quoted in Zen Essence) If you have been reading this blog from the very beginning, and have a good memory, or if you have read the Tenzokyokun a fair number of times, the name Xuedou will ring a bell. […]

Sharon Salzberg

‘At times, reality is love’s great challenge. When our old stories and dreams are shattered, our first instinct may be to resist, deny, or cling to the way things were. But if we loosen our grip, often what fills the space is a tender forgiveness and the potential for a new and different kind of […]


‘You are trying to attain thusness, yet you already are a person of thusness. As you are already a person of thusness, why be worried about thusness?’ I think it is okay to repeat myself every now and again. This phrase came to mind while I was musing over what to say for yesterday’s quote […]


Sansheng asked Xuefeng, “The golden fish that’s passed through the net – what does it use for food?” Xuefeng said, “When you come out of the net, then I’ll tell you.” Sansheng said, “The teacher of fifteen hundred people, yet you don’t even know a saying.” Xuefeng said, “My tasks as abbot are many.” (Book of […]


‘Going to the seashore to count grains of sand vainly wastes one’s strength. Polishing a tile to make a mirror is a meaningless use of effort. Don’t you see that the clouds above the tall mountains naturally wind and unwind around each other, so how could they be intimate or estranged? The water of a […]