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 […]


‘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 […]

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

‘The first time I heard Suzuki Roshi speak, he said, “You are perfect just as you are.” I thought, “He doesn’t know me. I’m new here.” But again and again he would keep pointing in that direction, saying, “You have everything you need,” “You are already complete,” “Just to be alive is enough.” I finally […]

Connection in dark times

When, for a few days last week, it looked like I wouldn’t be getting up to Wilbur after all, I wondered if I should write a post about the World Cup in the space I had left for myself. After all, it has consumed a fair amount of my time this past fortnight; the first […]