Showing posts from June, 2012


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

Driving to my Teacher’s Zendo in the winter of 1998 was a challenge. I lived in Las Cruces and his Zendo was in Cloudcroft. The drive distance was about 90 miles and the elevation went from 4000’ to nearly 9000’. In the winter there was no predicting accessibility. I first had to climb the mountain to Cloudcroft, then climb a long dirt road up another mountain to get to the Zendo which was tucked neatly into the side of a hill. Snow, ice, and whether or not a plow had cleared the road were potential obstacles. In Zen, our relationship to our teacher is not dependent on our likes or dislikes or our convenience. It is about relational commitment to the teaching and practice of Zen.

So each week I would get into my car, often after a 70 hour workweek as a private practice therapist, and make the drive to practice with Ken-roshi in his Zendo and following that, meet with him for his version of dokusan. Ken-roshi was formidable. It’s not that he…

Living and Dying

With palms together,

With the death of Reverend Fern-roshi and my recent bouts with my body, my mind has been on living and dying. I just went through a stack of old photographs and found some very old pictures of myself and my brother as young boys, pictures of my travels, the development of my body through my body-building phase, through my horse phase, and into my priesthood. It has occurred to me that unless we are actually living we are dying.

By “actually living” I mean being aware of our bodies as they are in this very moment, living in them, with them as fully and completely as is possible, and with them as they relate and interact with others. I fear too much of my life has been squandered on activities in youth not worth remembering, sleep walking, as it were, through the days and nights of middle age. Grasping for youth in late middle age. And worrying far too much as an elder. Frankly, I love the sentiment in that old phrase, “Don’t worry, be happy!” Yet, it is so diffic…

Current Status

With palms together,

As most of you know I spent three days in Mountain View hospital with extreme pain in my back, hip, and left leg. I am not allowed to have an MRI due to the fact that I have some metal in my head as a result of being shot in Vietnam. This meant that I needed a myelogram. This is a procedure where the physician injects radioactive dye directly into the spine so a CT image reveals more detail. I will tell you this was extremely painful, but the result was a diagnosis of spinal stenosis. I have two buldging disks at L4 and L5 which causes extreme pain, numbness and loss of movement in the left leg and hip.

Monday will bring a call from my doctor who is setting up an appointment with a pain specialist who will likely inject a steroid into my spine to relieve the inflammation and allow things to heal.

What all of this means is that I am facing some life altering issues. I will not be able to do the running and walking I have enjoyed in the past. I will likely not be …


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

Sunday morning we will host our formal Zen Service at our residence at 2195 Calle Del Norte in Mesilla, NM at 9:00 AM. We look forward to serving you. It looks as though this will be our weekly schedule:

Sunday Zazen at 9:00 AM Residence

Tues. – Fri. Zazen at 7:00 AM Residence

Mon. Park Practice at 7:00 AM in Gardens

Wed. Park Practice at 9:00 AM in Veteran’s Park

Wed. Elder Practice at 10:00 AM at Golden Mesa

Thurs. Zen Study at 7::00 PM Residence

Please note: It is possible that we will host Brad Warner later this month. He has contacted me and indicated he will be coming through our city and would be happy to offer a talk. I will keep you posted.

Be well

June 8

With respect,

Good Morning Everyone,

This morning I sat in the courtyard for Zazen.There was an early morning chill in the air and the neighborhood roosters were crowing in apparent delight. Some motorcycle, a crotch rocket I believe from the sound of it, was screaming down the highway obliterating the birdsong that otherwise would have caught my attention. Motorcycle engine, birds singing: our mind catches sound and evaluates it. One pleasant, one unpleasant, which is which? Soft and melodious, loud and mechanical, each in accordance with its nature. Accept both, hold neither.

Formal Zen Sunday @ 9:00 AM at our residence.

Be well.


With palms together,

This morning comes with a bright, hot sun rising over the eastern mountains as if in a hurry to brighten the world. Soku Shin and I spent the morning discussing how we will offer Zen services in our home and when. We also talked about park practice and are looking at spaces on the Mesilla/University side of town as a venue. One area we thought of is the garden that’s just on the Mesilla side of the railroad tracks on University Avenue. We have the following practice opportunities thus far: Street Zen one Saturday per month at the Farmer’s Market at 9:00 AM; one Park practice per week at the Veteran’s Park at 9:00 AM; one Elder Practice per week at Golden Mesa retirement community at 10:00 AM; and one Sunday formal service at 9:00 AM. We would like to add an early morning park practice at the garden at 7:00 AM. We will practice Zazen at our house each morning at 7:00 AM (except, of course, on the day we decide to go to the park) so the question is what day to go t…


With palms together,

Our last session at the Temple was last night. We held a lively class on Chapter 7 of the text, Realizing Genjokoan, and agreed to move the group to Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM at our residence in Mesilla, NM. Our Sunday service will be at 9:00 AM at our residence, as well.

We are entering a new stage in the Order of Clear Mind Zen, a stage that harkens back to the ancient days when practitioners of the Way simply practiced in parks, offering teaching when asked, but generally modeling the way rather than lecturing about it. We are not here to support a corporation or a formal organization. We are here to support a practice.

We are here, then, to offer opportunities to practice together. We are not here to talk about Zen, per se. So, if you are a student of mine, please understand the following. I will not continue to see you in dokusan unless you practice with me at least once during any given week. If you miss your practice session, your dokusan time will be …

Temple Closing

With palms together,

Over the last several months we have noticed a steady decline in our member’s Zendo practice and participation. We understand many of us have had vacations, gone on travels, etc., but these do not explain the overall lack of attendance at Zendo for Zazen periods. All too often either Soku Shin or myself drives to the Zendo only to sit alone, something we could more easily and economically do at home.

At this point, I do not believe there is any reason to support a Temple or Zendo. I have approached our landlord and asked to be released from our lease. It seems promising that she will allow us to get out of the last year of our three year lease. I will maintain the Order, but not as a corporate entity, but rather through a series of teacher student relationships without an organization. Historically, this was how it was done. The materials we have, equipment, etc., will stay in my possession for safe keeping in the event we will at another time want a facility.