Abiding with the four elements

‘The four elements return to their natures just as a child turns to its mother; Fire heats, wind moves, water wets, earth is solid‘ – Sekito Kisen For various scheduling reasons, it is three months since I have been to Wilbur, and I was looking forward to going again, knowing the the spring greens of […]

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 […]

When Preferences Are Cast Aside

To founder in dislike and like is nothing but the mind’s disease – Hsin Hsin Ming If I had a dollar for every time I heard, while I was at Tassajara, a guest proclaiming that the creek was cold – either as a reason for not going in the water, or as a reaction to […]

What I think about when I am running

I thought about going for a run when I arrived at Tassajara on Memorial Day, but it was already in the eighties when we got out of the car, and relaxing seemed like a better idea. During my first week I was happy hiking and doing a lot more yoga than usual; having been feeling […]

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 […]

Back From The Mountains

I came back from Tassajara at the end of last week with the usual assortment of scratches, cuts, insect bites and the remnants of some poison oak rash – and a deep sense of well-being and goodwill towards all beings. The latter didn’t seem to translate too well in the city when I was going […]


Staying in mountains, I gradually awaken to mountain sounds and colors Fruit growing and flowers open, I question release from this emptiness. For a while I’ve wondered, what is the original color? Blue, yellow, red and white are all in the painting. (Extensive Record, poem 104) Tomorrow I shall be leaving for Tassajara, and I shall […]