The Unavoidable Perfection of the Universe

Editing, processing and uploading the Zen Center dharma talks is one of the things I do as I create a livelihood. Sometimes I have to supply a title to the talk, so I listen through for the first five or ten minutes to find a resonant phrase that isn’t just part of the preamble. Very rarely […]

A Day In The Mountains

One of my dharma friends, when we were discussing going down to Tassajara for Allison’s shuso ceremony, pointed out that it is a very long way to go for the day. Yes, I said, but it is always worth it. Even though I was tired out by the end of the day, and the next day, […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Student: Docho Roshi, for my practice, I believe that the hardest and deepest teaching of Buddhism for all men is to know not to be attached to any thing. Can you explain why this is so? SR: Not to attach to any thing, we say. Why you asked this question is, you know, it is […]

Cycles of Change

It is perhaps ironic that I just acquired my first smartphone (a friend who was being upgraded to a spanking new iPhone by work was able to offer me her old one) at exactly the time that everyone is starting to preach doom and gloom about Apple.  Perhaps because I was at Tassajara as the […]

Shohaku Okumura

‘When we have full understanding that each of us is living together with all beings, interconnected, we cannot live in the egocentric way. That is the difference. That is also the meaning of Dogen Zenji’s expression shinjin datsuraku, “dropping off body and mind.” That is what our zazen really is. Rujing, Dogen’s teacher, said, “Studying Zen is […]

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 […]

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 […]