Showing posts from November, 2016


Good Morning Everyone, Yes, it's true, another day dawns on us. My question to myself is this: In light of my vow "Beings are numberless, I vow to free them," what can I do today to fulfill this vow? First, its an impossible vow on the surface. If beings are numberless, how can I possibly free them. Second, how can I free anyone? Third, what does it mean to "free" a being? "Free" was in the past written as "Save," but I suspect that word had too close an association with Christianity's use of the term. To "free" has specific meanings in Zen. Zen Buddhism believes that we are prisoners of our mind, a mind that keeps us from viewing the Absolute and wants us, in a sense, to remain in the relative view of life. We practice to free ourselves so that we might abide in the Absolute, which is to say, a non-dualistic view of the universe where all is one. The Relative Truth is that we are all separate beings. We may be interconnected …

That Place


There's an old koan about a student practicing meditation. The student comes to the Master and asks how to escape the heat and cold. The Master simply says "Go to that place where there is neither hot nor cold."

What is that place, I ask? Notice I don't ask "where" is that place. Why?

Simple. That place is everywhere and nowhere. It is not a place. Hot and cold, like comments on social media, are perceived and interpreted by mind. This comment is good, this comment is bad. This one hurts me, that one makes me feel good. In themselves they are neither good nor bad. Just so hot and cold.

So what is that place? Ask the duck floating on the pond.

As it is

Good Afternoon All,
I was re-reading my friend Brad Warner's "Don't Be A Jerk" this morning. Its a fine book, I recommend it, especially the piece on the Genjo Koan. Many of us Zen teachers believe this to be one of, if not the most important fascicles of the Shobogenzo. I know I reference it often. In effect its about realizing life. Not particularly understanding life, but rather, realizing life in this very moment.
The life I realize is conditional: what's this? What's this? What's this?
Each moment having its own reality, to paraphrase Master Dogen, 'Ash has its own dharma reality; firewood its own dharma reality. Firewood does not become ash. Ash is ash, firewood is firewood.'
When I look back at my life I am no longer awake. When I look forward in my life, I am dreaming. When I look at my fingers dancing along this MacBook I am looking directly at all there is. Nothing complicated, just this.
These days our lives seem to be filling up…

Refresh Yourself

With respect,

I wrote this short note to a friend in need and thought you each might find it helpful.

"...I know you will. Your efforts are not unnoticed. My own journey has been fraught with anger and even hate coupled often with tremendous hurt. It is so difficult to see the suffering in those that wish to harm us in such moments, let alone feel compassion for them. Yet, it is that responsive set of feelings that tell us our individual work is not yet done. Sometimes I think our outward focus relieves us of the felt need to look inward. What we in the Zen world call "serene reflection meditation" has been helpful to me. Its much like the the practice the Hebrew ancients called hitbodedut done in silence out under the stars, a practice I often do, especially on those nights without a moon. Too often I think we get caught up in the day's events and fail to let things fall away in the night so that we are truly refreshed in the morning."


What is Wrong?

With palms together,

Last night I was invited to attend a vigil of sorts regarding the outcome of the presidential election. I am thanking that I was invited.  Unfortunately,  as I had another commitment I was only able to slip into the circle for a few minutes. The fallout of this election has been emotionally draining on many of us. I have had many contacts, especially on my Facebook page, expressing fear, sadness, and deep concern.  At the event last night I felt many of the participants were suffering.  Tears were not uncommon.  And though we face a challenging future, please let us remind ourselves in the greater scheme of things this is not so large.  Our feelings are just feelings and our thoughts just thoughts.  We have each, I am sure, experienced deep sadness and even fear in the past and survived.  What’s important, it seems to me, is that we do not allow this to sideline us in the work that we do, but rather, allow it to motivate us to address issues directly.  
One area I…