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 […]


‘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 […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘Even if you sit alone in the zendo, you are helping others.’ (from the Suzuki Roshi archives) I have been spending a little time dipping in and out of the archives, and this line jumped out at me. I often hear – and perhaps most often at Tassajara, which feels most remote from the ‘outside world’ […]


‘When taking up or putting down bowls, and also when picking up your spoon or chopsticks, do not make any noise. Do not dig out rice from the middle of the bowl when you eat [to rush or make it appear that you need more]. Unless you are sick, do not seek after extra food […]

Suzuki Roshi

‘I don’t necessarily want to give a lecture. I just want to live with you: moving stones, having a nice hot spring bath, and eating something good. Zen is right there.’ (Not Always So) Of course that kind of thing is a little easier when you are living at Tassajara.

Gesshin Greenwood

‘Uchiyama Roshi wrote that if we cannot sit zazen, simply waiting is a good enough substitute. Because, if I’m really honest, a lot of my zazen is just sitting and waiting for the bell to ring. (God, that sounds horrible. Am I doing this all wrong?)’ (Bow First, Ask Questions Later) My time at Wilbur felt […]