Suzuki Roshi

‘Just to feel good we study, and just to feel better we practice zazen. No one knows, you know, what will happen to us after sitting, you know, one, two, or ten years. No one knows. No one knows is right. Just to feel good we sit zazen, actually. Eventually that kind of practice, you […]

Sylvia Boorstein

‘Mind states come and go. Even quiet mind states.’ (It’s Easier Than You Think) A good reminder that we are not aiming for some blissed-out realm of quietude (I searched to see if I had a post from one of the old Chinese guys dissing ‘silent illumination’, but drew a blank). What are we aiming for? […]

Kosho Uchiyama

‘When we actually do zazen, we shouldn’t be sleeping nor should we be caught up in our own thoughts. Rather, we should be wide-awake and aim at the correct posture with our flesh and bones. But can we ever attain this? Is there such a thing as succeeding or hitting the mark? Here is why […]

Sunday Poem

I loathe the twin seas Of being and not being And long for the mountain Of bliss untouched by The changing tides.   (Anonymous, Manyoshu, from One Hundred More Poems From The Japanese, tr. Kenneth Rexroth

Activating Resilience

Among the conversations I have been having over recent weeks, at Tassajara, as well as at the conference, there has been a thread around what my current teaching style is, and what I want it to look like. Obviously I spend very little time wearing formal robes and doing ceremonies these days, and more time […]

Buddha Work

In the Tassajara shop, there was (and probably still is) a sign hanging behind the main counter and the altar, made from a fine piece of wood, with Dogen’s line from the Tenzo Kyokun beautifully written on it: ‘The way-seeking mind is actualised by rolling up your sleeves.’ I tend to associate this with Greg, who […]

The Intimacy of Sangha

After my nourishing week in the mountains, and a turn-around in the city just long enough to do my laundry and catch up on emails, I headed up to Oregon last Wednesday to attend the Gen X Buddhist Teachers Conference at Great Vow monastery. This is my third time attending the conference, after 2013 and […]