This Moment

We have tipped into the second half of the year now, and locally, we had a shift in the weather to go with it: from fog and wind last week, to warm clear skies – and wind – this. Sometimes the wind feels exhausting, especially on a bike, but the sense of movement it signifies is a salutory reminder of all the forces in flow right now.

As I have been doing these past few months in the talks and teachings I have offered, I try to find a word that encapsulates whatever mood I might be tuning into, but that has proved hard to pinpoint this past week. The surge of protests has receded a little – although a Pride-themed one passed by my door over the weekend. People around the country seemed to have lost any sense of patience and resilience about the virus and the lockdown; I am thankful that San Francisco is perhaps one of the most cautious cities in the country in that regard, and in any case, I am in no hurry to start mingling freely. I have a sense, though it maybe just an optimistic wish, that the Republicans in the States have realised the game is up for the next election, and have given up any semblance of governing. They only seem interested in a scorched-earth approach as they recede into history.

Teaching opportunities have been varied recently – another zazen instruction for Zen Center, Core sessions on Instagram, corporate meditations, another talk to the Hebden group, as well as preparing my upcoming class for Zen Center on Dogen’s Bendowa. I am mindful that Dogen might seem abstract to the needs of today, but I also trust that the benefits of practice that he talks about in the text are timeless, and thus equally valuable and valid now as they were when he wrote it almost eight hundred years ago.

In my sitting, and at other times, a sense of ease has arisen – a feeling that I don’t have to set myself against the world, but can just meet the moment as I am. I am not sure what has brought that to bear, but I am glad for these moments, like sitting out on the deck, still warm in the twilight, a half moon rising, enjoying one of the many books I am dipping into at the moment. I came across a Suzuki Roshi quote the other day that I shared with the Hebden group: ‘Your everyday life is also the expression of your inmost nature.’ This is always true, and it feels especially valuable to be practising with this intention at this moment.

IMG_5958Books on my desk – all highly recommended.

4 thoughts on “This Moment

  1. Shundo,

    Thank you for your updates and teachings. I learn a lot. And appreciate all the places you explore inside and out.

    Strangely in a bit of synchronicity I have been reading Bendowa as well. That and Katagiri.

    Still, given health issues I am a bit unmoored. Not sure what to make of it. Perhaps my life ends suddenly. Perhaps not. Just remain close to this fragile moment.

    I attach a poem by David Wagoner.

    Blessings, Danny

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Thanks Danny,
      Wishing you well, and for many more beautiful days. As you say, just remain close to this – the great matter.
      With bows


  2. The Nan Shepherd book is an old favourite,, and I am reading Shobogenzo – in Spanish because I happened across it. Can I access your Dogen teachings when they are given? As always your thoughts are helpful. Thank you.


  3. Goodness, Dogen is hard enough in English – I can’t imagine trying to read it in another language, though perhaps the experience enhances the elusive quality of his writing.
    I think the classes will initially only be available for the people that sign up for the class. I will do my best to post them on the audio page once the series has finished.
    I can imagine you enjoy the Nan Shepherd – and I suspect you are much more familiar with the landscapes she describes than I am.
    Take good care.


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