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, […]

Norman Fischer

‘In the simple format of meditation, just sitting there by yourself with no one to negotiate with and no task to perform, you have the perfect conditions for practicing patience. Take the issue of physical pain, an experience we naturally view as problematic. Here’s a way to go about it: When physical pain arises in […]

Rest and Repose

As I was giving my dharma talk on the solstice, I started by invoking it, and how the darkest time of the year has acted as a time of reflection and renewal across human cultures. I nearly mentioned one of my students, who had told me that week that he had been stressed right through […]

Tatsugami Roshi

‘The Paramita Sutra, or the Heart Sutra, which we chant every morning, says that there is no obstacle for the mind (‘shin mu kei ge’). From where do the obstacles come? You yourself create them.  You fall into a trap set by yourself.  There is no better way to attain freedom from this trap than […]

Crosstown Trail

When I was around ten or eleven, my schoolfriends and I took part, several years running, in an annual charity walk that raised money for the local elderly. It must have been heavily encouraged at school, otherwise I don’t know how we all decided to do it, seeing as it was twenty miles – quite […]

Miaoxin

‘Seventeen monks, traveling in search of enlightenment, came to visit the famous teacher Master Yangshan Huiji. Before climbing the mountain to see him, they stayed night in the temple guesthouse, and that evening they discussed the Sixth Patriarch’s koan: “What moves is not the wind nor the banner, but your mind.” The nun Miaoxin was […]