Shinshu Roberts

‘When I first began to practice, I really wanted to be the doan, a person who hits the bells, keeps time during meditation, and does other functions associated with the ritual in a temple. But what came with that job, for me, was anxiety about making mistakes. And of course there were many opportunities to make […]

Katagiri Roshi

‘Why do you get up in the morning? “I want to do zazen.” Saying “I want to do zazen” is not an idea; it is vivid activity. You accept the feeling of sleepiness, you accept your emotions that are creating lots of complaints, and then you just get up. That’s enough. This is Zen practice. […]

Shohaku Okumura

‘The Heart Sutra says, “Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” Logically, form is not empty and emptiness has no form, so emptiness and form negate each other. Yet the Heart Sutra says they are one and the same. Usually our rational mind does not accept this kind of twist. We say it’s contradictory and doesn’t make any […]


‘A monk asked, “The bright jewel is in my hand. Is there anything that is illuminated or not?” The master said, “Illumination is not lacking, but what are you calling a ‘jewel’?”‘ (The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu)

The Practice of Zazen

‘Japanese monastic practice purposefully challenges the distinction between ceremony and meaning, between bodily form and understanding, in order to arrive at something close to the unity of practice and realization. This is why receiving the precepts in a ceremony, no matter what your mind is doing, is seen as more important than believing or or […]

Wendell Berry

‘Be joyful, though you’ve considered all the facts.’ (quoted in Less) Since Christmas is a part of my cultural upbringing, I was wondering about a suitable quote for the day. This one has been in my drafts folder, quietly awaiting its time. Perhaps there will be tidings of comfort and joy one of these days.

Tatsugami Roshi

‘There is no better way to understand non-thinking or thinking the unthinkable than through the actual practice of zazen. When I explain the meaning of non-thinking, it is like scratching your foot without taking off your shoe.  It’s all nonsense.  Similarly, if I were to explain how wonderful taking a bath is to a person […]

Han Shan

In one flash of thought My turbulent mind came to a rest. The inner and the outer, The senses and their objects, Are thoroughly lucid. In a complete turnabout I smashed the Great Emptiness. The ten thousand manifestations Arise and disappear Without any reason.

Kobun Chino

‘One period of sitting is not your own sitting. You may feel it is your sitting, but the inner view, which is utterly the external view as well, is that your personal existence is not sitting, but is included in sitting. The inner view includes everything which your mind is continuously working on. Memories arise. […]