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, […]

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 […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Before we open our mouths, we are already expressing the big existence, including ourselves.’ (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind) I have posted this before (with a snarky comment attached), but it is another phrase that we can hear again and again without exhausting. What is it that stops us from really believing it, right now?

Chan Master Sheng Yen

I like to delve into the library at Tassajara while I am there to see what catches my eye. While I was looking over the shelves, I pulled one book out, and saw a tiny little booklet that had been hiding next to it; a short pamphlet with the title ‘The Advantages One May Derive […]

Becoming Butterflies

When I am co-leading retreats at Tassajara, I feel that most of my job is to be the Tassajara translator – not just of the forms and guidelines, but also about the experience of living here, especially as summer guests are often curious about monastic life in the winter. I am rather embarrassed to realise […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘You cannot escape from ignorance to attain enlightenment, because enlightenment is not somewhere else… If we understand ourselves completely, there is no special thing as enlightenment or ignorance.’ (Dogen’s Genjo Koan)

Suzuki Roshi

‘Even the name of Buddhism is already a dirty spot on our practice. What is important is not the teaching, but the character or effort of the student. Even to seek for enlightenment means your mind is not big enough.’ (Not Always So) This is the kind of quote that made me very curious about Buddhism […]