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.