Surrounded By Boxes

September has a feeling of change about it, and this year is no exception. The lingering memories of being at Tassajara and transitioning from guest season to practice period get fainter each year; what I feel this time is a preparation for hunkering down for more months of shelter-in-place. On a personal level, it is […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Zen student is not, you know, so expressive, you know. Mostly they keep silent. They do not walk so fast. They don’t act so actively, you know. You know, they have some– something, you know– something different, anyway. Especially when you sit for so long time, you yourself feel you changed a lot. You feel, […]

Respite

The temperature dropped, quite considerably, on Wednesday. As much as I usually grumble about the fog, I was glad of it on this occasion, as the coolness and humidity would ease the work of the firefighters all over the state. Maybe some relief is at hand. The air had been hard to breathe on occasion – […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Buddha’s practice goes first. Our practice goes. We say, “our practice,” but it is actually Buddha’s practice. We should know this point. This is the key point of our practice. I don’t know how many people want to practice zazen, but as long as their practice [is] involving personal practice, it is not true practice. […]

Dogen

‘In the study hall, do not keep things such as bows and arrows, spears and clubs, swords, or helmets and armor. Generally do not keep any military equipment. If someone stores short swords and the like, they must be expelled from the temple right away. Implements that violate prohibitions should never be brought into the […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Zen student is not, you know, so expressive, you know. Mostly they keep silent. They do not walk so fast. They don’t act so actively, you know. You know, they have some– something, you know– something different, anyway. Especially when you sit for so long time, you yourself feel you changed a lot. You feel, […]

Coming Home

So today marks the twenty-year anniversary of my arrival in San Francisco. I packed up my mostly happy life in London (see here), and flew in with two bags, and a bicycle in a box. I was in love, and happy to be starting a new phase of life – which also included living at […]

Gesshin Claire Greenwood

‘ Practicing in a monastic or residential environment always shows me how selfish I am. It can be kind of embarrassing seeing myself this clearly. But I think this is the point of practice, to show us who we really are, not just how we imagine ourselves to be. When we first start to  understand […]

Blanche Hartman

‘Life is too short to waste it on judging other people by whatever standards we may have. It’s actually not good to judge yourself in a disparaging way either. Just like loving-kindness begins with yourself, really being conscious of not disparaging begins with yourself. You can hardly be open and friendly and accepting of everybody […]

Virginia

‘For years, because of my upbringing, I wanted others to see me as being perfect, so that’s the story I created. To myself, it’s not so pretty, as there’s no way to live up to personal expectations of perfectionism without inevitably being let down. In this way, Zen practice was triggering for my perfectionist tendencies. […]