Firewood Becomes Ash

Last week I was reading that the UK was expecting record temperatures – it might reach 100 degrees. Knowing how excitable people there get as soon as it gets over seventy, I could only imagine what the scenes were like. And I was heading somewhere even hotter. It was 104 when I arrived at the […]

Chan Master Sheng Yen

‘When negative attitudes like greed and jealousy dominate our mind, we tend to commit actions that cause frustration and dis-ease in ourselves and others. Conversely, when wholesome factors like compassion and humility pervade the mind, our actions lead to wellbeing and stability. Hence, our persistent striving to manipulate the external environment to find happiness and […]

Sekito Kisen

Though we’ve been dwelling together, I don’t know his name; Abandoned to fate, we go along as ever. Even the great sages since the remote past do not know him; How could the later rabble understand him? (Written for his teacher Yakusan Igen)

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

‘True interrelationship means to recognize our interdependence with other beings. There are always others present in the field of life, whether we care to look or not. The word “true” indicates that the interrelationship we are speaking of is not just about being of the same species or about what we “do” for each other, such […]


A monk asked, “What is the substance of the true person?” The master said, “Spring, summer, autumn, winter.” The monk said, “In that case it is hard for me to understand,” The master said, “You asked about the substance of the true person, didn’t you?” (The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu) And remember, each has […]

Frank Ostaseski

‘The habits of our lives have a powerful momentum that propels us toward the moment of our death. The obvious question arises: What habits do we want to create? Our thoughts are not harmless. Thoughts manifest as actions, which in turn develop into habits, and our habits ultimately harden into character. Our unconscious relationship to […]


‘Spring has the feeling of spring, and autumn has the look of autumn; there is no escaping it. So when you want spring or autumn to be different from what it is, notice that it can only be what it is. Or, when you want to keep spring or autumn as it is, reflect that […]

angel Kyodo williams

‘We are very fortunate that the Buddha set out on his journey and ended up plopping right down into deep meditation. He gave up a lot to practice Right Concentration and to get to the bottom of life. He pointed out a way for us to yank the veil off our eyes for ourselves. He […]

Sitting under the olive tree

This Monday lunchtime, Zachary and I will be sitting on the Embarcadero, as we try to do every week. I will be coming by bike and taking the cushions away on a trailer borrowed from the Bicycle Coalition, as I have done a few times. Looking back, I noticed that this week marks the one-year […]

Uchiyama Roshi

Water isn’t formed by being ladled into a bucket Simply the water of the whole Universe has been ladled into a bucket The water does not disappear because it has been scattered over the ground It is only that the water of the whole Universe has been emptied into the whole Universe Life is not […]