Remembering Zen Master Philip Kapleau

Philip Kapleau was born today, the 20th of August, 1912. I wrote a biographical sketch of this pioneering Western Zen teacher for my book Zen Master Who? Last year the good folk at Lion’s Roar edited it and printed it as part of an acknowledging of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Rochester Zen Center. What follows is my rewrite of Lion’s Roar’s edit of my original essay. Philip Kapleau is widely acknowledged as an important Zen master,… Read more

The Buddha and the Non Believer: A Meditation on a Zen Koan

The Buddha and the Non Believer A Meditation on a Zen Koan James Ishmael Ford Blue Cliff Zen Sangha, Boundless Way Zen West The Case: A non-believer opened his heart to the Buddha, saying, “I am not asking about words, I am not asking about the wordless.” The world honored one sat quietly. The non-believer replied to this, “With your wisdom and heart you have parted the clouds of my confusions, and showed me the way through.” He made bows… Read more

Zen Priests and Zen Teachers Within Boundless Way

I had originally put up a reflection on the differences between Zen priests and teachers here. But not long after publishing it, I felt dissatisfied with the product. Too jumbled, not explored enough, it just didn’t work. So, I took it down. Instead, here’s our attempt at describing that difference within the organization to which I belong. What’s the difference between a BoWZ transmitted Teacher and a BoWZ priest? The Boundless Way Zen Mission Statement says, “The great project of… Read more

Daniel Terragno on (Lay) Zen Practice

    My wonderful dharma sibling Daniel Terragno talking about Zen. He is not as well known here in the English speaking community as he should be. He is a lay Zen master, principally teaching using the Soto reformed Harada Yasutani koan curriculum. When I looked at Youtube I saw nearly all the clips available are in Spanish. If you have Spanish speaking friends who have an interest in Zen, you might point them toward those clips. He lives mostly… Read more

Leaning In: Or, How Does a Zen Person Do Conflict

Leaning In Or, How does a Zen Person do conflict? Chris Hoff A Dharma talk delivered at the Blue Cliff Zen Sangha in Long Beach 15 August, 2017 I want to acknowledge Charlottesville, and the state of the nation in some way, but tonight won’t be speaking specifically about Charlottesville. For that I will direct you to Roshi James’ FB page for his recent sermon on the topic, or his recent writing on the subject that can be found online… Read more

Layman Pang’s Snowball Fight: A Small Zen Meditation

        I was revisiting a case in the Blue Cliff Record. In Chinese the Biyan Lu, the Twelfth century classic anthology of koans. Koans are those lovely fragments of poetry, stories of encounters, and fairy tales that point us to the heart of the great matter. Case number 42 in the anthology goes: Layman Pang was leaving Yaoshan. Yaoshan ordered ten of his Zen students to see Pang off at the temple gate. Pang pointed to the falling… Read more

The Calm Mind: Shodo Harada Roshi’s Introduction to Zen Meditation

Taigen Shodo Harada is a Japanese Rinzai Zen master, dharma successor to the renowned Mumon Yamada Roshi. He has been leading sesshin in the West since 1982 and since 1995 has been centered at the One Drop Zendo on Whidbey Island, in Washington State. He is sometimes considered a teacher of teachers as Western Zen teachers in a variety of schools from Soto to the Harada Yasutani have all sat with him at one time or another. This simple introduction… Read more

Thinking of Saints: Jonathan Daniels & Ruby Sales

Today the lovely Episcopal Church commemorates as a feast in honor of a martyr, the life and death of Virginia Military Academy graduate and Episcopal seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels. It was 1965. He was twenty-six years old and a second year student at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he joined those who answered the call of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma. While there Jonathan worked to help desegregate the Episcopal congregations of… Read more

A STATE OF EMERGENCY Charlottesville, the Soul Sickness in America, and a Call to a Moral Vision

A STATE OF EMERGENCY Charlottesville, the Soul Sickness in America, and a Call to a Moral Vision James Ishmael Ford A Sermon delivered at the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church Costa Mesa, California 13 August 2017 Text Dear Friends, stand by this faith. Work for it and sacrifice for it. There is nothing in all the world so important to you as to be loyal to this faith which has placed before you the loftiest ideals, which has comforted you… Read more

Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services in English

    SOTO SCHOOL SCRIPTURES FOR DAILY SERVICES IN ENGLISH About The Book (from the forward) This book is based on the Japanese edition of the Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services and Practice (Sōtōshū nikka gongyō selten 曹洞宗日課勤行聖典),also published by the Administrative Headquarters of Soto Zen Buddhism (Sotoshu Shumucho). The text, as its name implies, contains only those scriptures that are chanted on a daily basis in Soto Zen monasteries and temples. Numerous other scriptures that are used in monthly, annual, and… Read more

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