‘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 […]


‘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. […]

Kate Murphy

‘But what is love if not a willingness to listen to and be a part of another person’s evolving story? A lack of listening is a primary contributor to feelings of loneliness… Of course, technology doesn’t help. Devices are a constant distraction, and people tend to be woefully inaccurate at interpreting feeling states through text and emoji.’ (from a […]


‘All day and all night, things come to mind and the mind attends to them; at one with them all, diligently carry on the Way.’ (Tenzokyokun) I have always been charmed by this phrase, from early in Dogen’s Instructions to the Cook, and it comes to mind often. I have a fond memory from Tassajara, when […]

Alternative Scenarios

The past two Sundays in the Bay Area have been marked by strong winds. On the first of these Sundays, having seen the forecast, I knew I would not be comfortable riding over the bridge. So I headed south, and positively flew down Great Highway, which had been closed again for a race, with the […]

Brad Warner

‘Here’s my personal opinion. If you’re going to call yourself a “Zen priest” in the Soto tradition, then you had better know some “priest craft.” You’d better know how to do all the different roles in a standard chanting ceremony — like ringing the bells, offering incense, hitting the mokugyo (wooden drum shaped like a fish), chanting, […]