Katagiri Roshi

‘Spiritual practice must be carried out quietly and calmly because a passage to freedom opens to you only when you deal with right now, right here. So under all circumstances, whatever feeling, emotion, or idea your dualistic human consciousness has produced, just accept it. Then, next, don’t attach to it, just let it go, let […]

Shodo Harada

‘Where this idea of enlightenment often becomes a problem is when everyone reads the writings of both the old and the present-day masters and they take this one experience and place it in a conceptual framework. They just pluck out the idea of this excellent or seemingly magical experience and think, “That’s what I want.” […]

Asan

‘When Master Hakuin was invited to the town of Shinano, an enlightened laywoman by the name of Asan (“Old San”) went to see him. Hakuin greeted her by silently holding up one hand. Asan immediately responded, “Even better than hearing Hakuin’s sound of one hand, let’s clap both hands and do some real business.” Hakuin […]

Hongzhi

‘Your body sits silently; your mind quiescent, unmoving. Your mouth is so still that moss grows around it. Grass sprouts from your tongue. Do this without cease, cleansing the mind until it gains the clarity of an autumn pool, bright as the moon illuminating the evening sky.’ (quoted in The Poetry of Enlightenment) I took this […]

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 […]

Chi-fo

‘Although “nirvana”, “tathagata”, and “the diamond prajna-paramita” are different names, they are all uncreated dharmas. Created dharmas are the dharmas of the world. Uncreated dharmas are the dharmas that transcend the world. Often, people who cultivate think that uncreated dharmas refer to emptiness or stillness, and they turn their minds and bodies into ashes and […]