Zuiko Redding

‘To use skillful means – beneficial action – means to see and consider before we act. What has made this situation what it is? What are its origins? How can this tangle of causes and conditions be unraveled? If we look closely, we may see things we don’t want to see. We have to take […]


‘The family style of all buddhas and ancestors is to first arouse the vow to save all living beings by removing suffering and providing joy. Only this family style is inexhaustibly bright and clear. In the lofty mountains we see the moon for a long time. As clouds clear we first recognize the sky. Cast […]


‘Some people think that buddha nature is like seeds of grass and trees: when dharma rain is abundant, sprouts and stems grow; branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit mature; and their fruit contains seeds. Such a view is an assumption of ordinary people. If you come up with such an assumption, investigate thoroughly that each and […]

Shohaku Okumura

‘Originally this expression shikantaza was used not by Dogen himself but by his teacher Rujing. We not only just sit – when we eat, we just eat; when we work in the kitchen we just cook; when we clean, we just clean; when we chant, we just chant. This attitude of “just” is the answer Dogen […]


‘A monk asked Zhaozhou, Great Master Zhenji, “Does a dog have buddha nature?” Clarify the meaning of this question. A dog is a dog. It is not that this monk was asking whether a dog has buddha nature or not. He was asking whether an iron person still practices the way’ (Shobogenzo Bussho) Where else would […]

Jenny Odell

‘An ecological understanding allows us to identify “things” – rain, cloud, river – at the same time that it reminds us that these identities are fluid. Even mountains erode, and the ground beneath us moves in giant plates. It reminds us that – while it’s useful to have a word for that thing called a […]


‘When you move mountains, rivers and earth, as well as the sun, the moon, and stars to practice, they in return move you to practice. This is not the open eye of just one time, but the vital eye of all times. Because it is all the open eye, the vital eye of all times, […]

San Francisco Summer

We have had some pretty heavy-duty fog these past couple of weeks in San Francisco. It’s par for the course at this time of year, as everyone knows, but we had managed to get through half of July without it being too much of an issue. There is a heavy quality to the fog light […]

Menzan Zuiho

‘The one-mind which manifests either as thought (unen) or no-thought (munen) must be something which is beyond these conditions. It must be the light which illuminates everywhere and is never clouded. As soon as you become clearly aware of this light, you will be released from the limitation of delusory thoughts, and the buddha’s wisdom […]

Shohaku Okumura

‘When we are sitting, we do not follow our thoughts, nor do we stop them.  We just let them come and go freely.  We cannot call it thinking because the thoughts are not grasped.  If we simply peruse our thoughts, it is just thinking; it is not zazen.  We cannot call zazen not-thinking either, because […]