Radiant Light in the Ten Directions

Wilbur was entirely autumnal last weekend. Rain having passed through, there was a serene clarity to the low sunlight, and a sense – which came to me as I walked down the road on Saturday morning just as the sun was coming up – of moving gently through the stillness of nature. It was a […]

Blanche Hartman

This is a repost, but when I was looking for words I had written about Blanche for my Patreon post, I came across this post and wanted to offer it again. I know I am basically expressing the same thing again, but it was one of my most valuable lessons from living in community: ‘When […]

A Rainbow over the Golden Gate

Rain arrived as forecast on Wednesday, and it felt like a deliverance. The air was markedly different, adding an extra depth to the sense of freshness that rain can bring. I was reminded of this time of year at Tassajara, sitting in the zendo, and hearing the first rain of the winter falling, first as […]


The past week has been, as most people round these parts say, intense. For sure, nobody in San Francisco had their home burn up in front of their eyes, or behind them as they fled for their lives, but the smoke from the Camp Fire dwelled heavily over the area all week, and on Thursday […]

Everything Is Burning

As anyone who lives locally knows, the Bay Area is sitting under a cloud of smoke at the moment. I was working in the Presidio last week, and as we looked out of the windows at lunchtime on Thursday and saw the change in the light, word went round that there was a big fire; […]

Tetsugen Bernie Glassman

I was sad to read that Tetsugen Bernie Glassman had died. His role in the expansion of American zen, especially into the realms of social action, was of great importance, and will outlive him. I was reminded of that recently when I re-read Instructions to the Cook, with its mix of the practical and the traditional. He […]

Changing Time

I am writing this on the first evening after the clocks go back. In England we talk about the end of ‘Summer Time’; happily in San Francisco, summer’s lease has been extended even into the first days of November. We may not have had a repeat of last October’s late heatwave, but there has been […]