Suzuki Roshi

‘You think that you can only establish true practice after you attain enlightenment, but it is not so. True practice is established in delusion, in frustration. If you make some mistake, that is where to establish your practice. There is no other place for you to establish your practice.’ (Not Always So) As in other realms, […]

Between the clouds

July is generally fog season in San Francisco, but this year we are having more sunshine than I am used to, thankfully. Trump may still be government by apoplexy, Brexit may still be an omnishambles, and the collision of the two this week has not been pretty, but the jacaranda trees are flowering throughout the Mission, the […]

Mumon Yamada

‘Ordinary people are out working so they carry on their daily lives without thinking that their own unreal thoughts are unreal. But try doing a little zazen and you will realize how full of unreal thoughts humans are. Such unnecessary useless thinking!’ (Talks on the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures) Reading this again, it might sound a little […]


The zen master Kassan Zenne was asked by a monk, “What is the Way?” Kassan said, “The sun floods the eye; not a fleck of cloud for ten thousand miles.” The monk said, “I do not understand.” Kassan said, “In the clear water, the wandering fish deludes itself.” Where does the fish think it is? […]


‘If you already have no attachments, how could you have any disgust?’ (Tenzokyokun) Another gem from Dogen that I always enjoy reading, although this time around, I reflected that it is a pretty big ‘if’ at the beginning.

One Thousand Strong

WordPress helpfully tallies up how many posts I have published, and this one will be the thousandth! I thought perhaps I would bring forth again the very first post, from almost three years ago, which I was moved to quote during my recent talk in San Rafael. ‘What moments are not sutras?’ – Dogen, Shobogenzo Kembutsu I […]


‘Don’t continue on with thoughts that have already arisen, and don’t arouse any that have not yet been aroused. Just this will be worth far more to you than ten years of pilgrimage.’ (Rinzai Roku) As so often, the master’s advice is very simple – and much easier than ten years of pilgrimage, assuming you […]