‘A monk asked, “An ancient said, ‘Conceal the body in the Big Dipper.’ What does this mean?” Xuedou said, “Hearing it a thousand times is not as good as seeing it once.”‘  (Zen’s Chinese Heritage)

Zazen Instruction

I had my own brush with impermanence recently, a salutary reminder that there are many things in our lives we can’t control and don’t happen the way we want them to or think they will. My practice right now is to watch how this play out in my body and my mind, trying to take […]


‘Buddhas are those who have comprehended and completed things in the realm of sentient beings; sentient beings are those who have not yet comprehended and completed things in the realm of buddhas. If you want to attain Oneness, just give up both buddhas and sentient beings at once: then there is no “comprehended and completed” […]

Reminders of Impermanence

In my quieter moments I am still spending time keeping Zen Center’s dharma talk offerings up-to-date, as well as trying to fill in some of the gaps from the past few years when people were not doing this so reliably. The other day I decided to look through the website’s listings from previous years – […]

Gesshin Greenwood

‘Usually in our busy, modern lives there is a list of things we need or want to do to be happy – or that we imagine will make us happy. We need a certain amount of sleep, a breakfast with enough proteins and vitamins, coffee with cream and sugar, the right clothes, a commute that […]

Kakuan Shion

I normally post poems without much commentary, but I thought I would say more about the next few. The ten ox-herding pictures are a historic sequence in zen practice, and many versions exist in picture and verse form. Kakuan is supposed to be the originator of these (his drawings can be seen here, along with […]

Reb Anderson

‘It is actually very helpful in our daily life to remember that people are a mystery, to remember that people are always beyond who we think they are. The same is true of all the activities and objects we encounter.’ (The Third Turning of the Wheel)