Showing posts from January, 2012


With respect,

Good Morning All,

While sitting with the morning light I caught a glimpse. Fleeting it was, Nothing can be held. Everything changes. Everything. Always. We say these things. Do we understand? And if we understand, do we realize? Words like everything and always offer an invitation to drop away the finite. Words like beginning, middle, and end refer to the finite and take away from the infinite. Moving, constantly moving, the universe seems a swirl when not in buddha’s eye. In truth, nothing is moving, nothing is changing, everything is nothing when all is one. Good grief. No wonder we say, don’t just do something, sit there! Or, in my case, eat toast with peanut butter.

Be well.

This Week

With respect,

Good Morning All,

There is something about the morning that has forever inspired me. I think it must have something to do with the intersection of morning light and a fresh mind. Sleep, if one is so fortunate as to have had it, is a wonderful cleanser of the junk accumulated through a day and when we open our eyes to be greeted by the light, it is quite glorious.

This week we will practice Zazen today at 10, Monday at 10 and 6, and Thursday at 10. Zen Study group will be Monday at 7. We will also practice street Zen at the Federal Building on Wednesday at 4.

Saturday is our February Zazenkai. We begin at 8 and close at 4. A priest’s meeting will follow. Please let me know if you plan to attend the Zazenkai.

Be well

What Matters

Good Morning All,

Ever wake up in the morning and wonder just what was going on? I have. Many, many times. Each time I open my eyes, actually, a new day with new possibilities presents itself. On some mornings the sensation is deeper, perhaps more profound, like a thud on my chest or a knock on my head. It cannot be ignored. This was one of those mornings.

A little background: As a child, no one in my family went to college. I dropped out of high school, enlisted, then was shot in the head in Vietnam. Over time, I finished high school, went to college and moved on. When I moved to Las Cruces from Cleveland, I was considered an expert in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. I had completed my PhD dissertation at a premier university on the Meaning of Combat in Vietnam, traveled from coast to coast doing training seminars for psychologists, nurses, counselors, and social workers on PTSD, edited a clinical textbook on practice with difficult client populations, and just sold a rather large…


Good Morning All,

The Zen of the Order of Clear Mind Zen is the simple straightforward living out of life as it is. Easy enough, right? Just take what comes and open yourself to it. Enfold it in your heart, care for it, and let it go. Yet, to do this requires an absolute faith in the cosmos and an intimate knowledge of your true nature.

What is this?

When we sit down to practice and breath in, what are we literally doing? On the most basic level, “outside” is coming “inside” and on the inside the outside is no longer outside, but is now inside. Conversely, as we breath out, the inside goes outside, becoming outside. When is outside, inside? When is inside, outside? What are these terms anyway and don’t they just confuse the actual situation?

What is this?

In each breath, the universe enters us, on each breath, we enter the universe. So in a very real way, universe and we are not two.

Words like inside, outside, cosmos, us, and breathing, are just labels for concepts that are actua…

Notes and Feedback

With respect,

To those who replied to my earlier posts, thank you. To those who did not, I assume meeting on Sunday the 22 at 11:30 AM is acceptable. After talking with John and Kathi in California, I have made a few decisions. First, our mission is to bring the dharma into the world. Discussing and practicing are two methods of bringing this about. Sangha members need encouragement to practice whether it is the practice of zazen or the practice of hospice care or the practice of prison work. This encouragement comes through contact with others in the sangha and through the support of me, the abbot. Skype is a powerful tool in this process. Our Internet presence will stay.

Second, I have heard from several members that we should be doing more things, as I said in my earlier email. I agree. I am asking those who wish to do more to do more. It is up to you to make "more" happen. Please keep in mind we are a small sangha. Expectations should be scaled accordingly.

Third, our …

Join the party

Notes: January 6

Good Morning All,

Our monthly Zazenkai (Intensive Meditation Day) is tomorrow from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We will offer a vegetarian meal served oryoki style and I will offer a Dharma Talk on “Making a Commitment to Peaceful Living.” Our practice schedule is listed on the Clear Mind Zen website at We ask for a small $15.00 donation to assist us in covering our expenses. If you have not registered, but would like to attend all or part, please let me know ASAP by return email or phone (680-6680).

I have received copies of the Heart Sutra text for Tamra/Shelley, Fred/Gloria and Leslie. They are in the Zendo. I would like to be reimbursed $8.00 for each copy. If anyone else should want a copy, please let me know. Rev. Kobusshin will begin her class on the Heart Sutra Monday the 16th at 7:00 PM.

Zazen at 10 today.

Be well.


With respect,

Good Morning Everyone,

The day has opened with coffee and talk of our on-going Monopoly game. K and I are even at 1 - 1. In our current game I am in the poor house and she is Miss Moneybags. Life seems to be like that. One minute we are up, the next, down. These games have invited us to consider capitalism. Clearly, the one thing Marx never counted on was it's ability to morph. Or its power to seduce people. In the day when Monopoly was invented railroads were king, oil companies were apparently not so up there on the list of properties, and communications companies were in their infancy. What makes Monopoly, like real life, tolerable is hope that in the next throw of the dice, our fortunes will change...and capitalism hints at this everyday. When we aren't being distracted by football, basketball, or the latest reality show, we are deep in the delusion that we will be the next Donald. Or at least, we might find a better job, make a bit more money, or buy our wa…

Best Teachers

With respect,

Good Morning All,

Last night I was working with Rev. Kankin over Skype. We are working our way through the Genjokoan by Master Dogen, actually using the text as a springboard to discussing immediate issues in our lives as priests. We came upon the line in the commentary by Okumura-roshi that says, “So, in a sense, our delusions, our view that we are separate from the universal reality and our desire to change, is very important because it is a motivating force in our lives that enables us to practice.”

This is very, very important to remember as we face each day. Our feelings about ourselves, our challenges and issues, are all teachers inviting us to learn something about ourselves and the universe. They invite us to practice. I have often taught that they are, more than any other teachers or teachings, our best teachers in the end because they speak to us personally and directly.

As Leonard Cohen says, its the cracks that allow the light to get in. So, let us bless t…

New Year's Day

Happy New Year to each of you! I hope your year to come is filled with joy, peace, and wonder.

Kathryn and I will be at the Cafe de Mesilla from 12 to 2 today having coffee, eating pastries, and enjoying the plaza in Mesilla. I might even bring a drawing pad, charcoal, pen & ink! Please consider dropping by. If we are out on the plaza, call or text me at 680-6680.

Rev. Tamra Kobusshin will be leading a New Year's Day service in the Zendo from 4 to 6 this afternoon. Please consider joining her!