Becoming Peacemakers: a Reflection on Zen & the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic

          Stumbled upon this in my files. Not sure what it was written for. But seemed something worth sharing today… In 1993, on the one-hundredth anniversary of the World Columbian Exposition’s Parliament of the World’s Religions, a second parliament gathered in Chicago. The highlight for many was an address by the Dalai Lama. For me, the most important thing to come out of that gathering was a document, “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic.” The principal author… Read more

Ryonen, Zen Master Eihei Dogen’s First Female Disciple

          I’m having computer problems making it difficult for me to post to the blog. Hopefully this all will resolve soon. In the meantime here’s something from the wondrous Gesshin Greenwood. At her blog That’s So Zen, she’s posted her translation of Maruyama Kogai Sensei’s essay on Ryonen, Dogen’s First Female Disciple. Super well worth reading…   Read more

A Companion to Zen Practice: Boundless Way Zen’s New Sutra Book

        Boundless Way Zen has just published the fourth edition of its liturgy. I’m incredibly impressed with this book. In many ways it is a contemporary American equivalent to the 17th century Chan Whip Anthology compiled by Master Zhuhong. The master behind the Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, Josh Bartok, has collected and edited ninety pages of brief texts that are equally of interest to the beginner and the adept. Like that earlier volume this new book is a… Read more

Bodhi Day

      I wrote this for Bodhi day in 2015. Reprinted, okay with a few minor tweaks, for today. Gautama Siddhartha lived somewhere between the sixth and fourth centuries before the common era near what today is the border between India and Nepal. He had some experiences, and he taught, he preached sermons that were memorized and no doubt polished by those who transmitted them, and then polished some more. Finally, some four hundred or so years after these… Read more

The World is On Fire: A Meditation on the Adittapariyaya Sutta as a Zen Koan

      Burning burning burning burning O Lord Thou Pluckest me out O Lord thou pluckest T. S. Eliot, the Waste Land   Jan and I live in the land of smog and dreams, also known as the Los Angles basin. After a quarter of a century out of state, mostly in New England, our retirement plan gradually became returning home to California. We ended up in Long Beach. But, we retired to SoCal specifically to be near Jan’s mom,… Read more

Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment & Ours: A Zen Priest Reflects on Bodhi Day

      Shakyamuni’s Enlightenment & Ours by Devin Seigaku Amato   As Jodo-E, or Bodhi Day is on December 8th, I would like to talk about the story of Shakyamuni’s enlightenment and what it is that this enlightenment means. First briefly I would like to share the story of Buddha’s practice. Shakyamuni Buddha, realizing the transience of life, and the inevitability of suffering at all stages of our life decided to search for a way out. A way out… Read more

Resources for Celebrating Bodhi Day

      In the solar calendar December 8th is marked as Bodhi Day or Rohatsu, a time to celebrate the Buddha’s great awakening. My friend Paul Paul Bloch has put together a Wiki with a variety of resources people can draw upon in creating celebrations for themselves, their families, and larger communities. It’s dynamic and will be growing over time, and perhaps eventually be given a home at another site. For now: Resources for Celebrating Bodhi Day   Read more

Recalling Shunryu Suzuki, American Soto Zen Missionary

        There are two Suzukis who stand large at the dawn of Zen breaking forth into North American culture. The first is Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, best known as D. T. Suzuki, a scholar, translator, and essayist, whose writings both directly and through the popularizations by his sometime disciple Alan Watts, first introduced many of the basic principles of Zen Buddhism to the American public. The other is Shunryu Suzuki, Soto Zen priest and missionary teacher who introduced Zen… Read more

Acts of Love: a Small Zen Meditation on the State of Things

These are past dangerous times. The world’s human population has probably already passed carrying capacity. And we live on a planet where our actions have set climactic changes into motion that are already past recalling. For too many poverty, hunger, and ignorance are the cards we get to play. And those who have the power to do otherwise are preoccupied. There is a currently popular television show, which I haven’t watched, but which I understand involves various parties fighting over… Read more

Walking: A Small Meditation on Thoreau’s Sauntering as Meditation

            I have friends who suggest anything they really like doing is a spiritual practice. When they’re not just being cute or ironic, as some of my friends do, the principle they seem to rely upon for this assertion is that such things as knitting, bowling, cooking, all involve concentration and at best, perhaps, an achieving of a sense of “oneness” with the object of their concentration. I have little argument with such observations, and… Read more

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