Dharma and Relationships in Bhutan: A Brief and Very Partial Trip Review

One night earlier this month at Lhodrak Karchu Monastery in Jakar, in the Bumthang district of Bhutan (the photo on the left is of monks there practicing debate), I set out for dinner at the cafeteria where the 80 or so mostly Western conference participants received meals. The cafeteria was four blocks from my dorm, down a winding road where I knew I was likely to pass a dozen or so friendly (or, at least, neutral) stray dogs who roamed the country, including the grounds of the monastery and … [Read more...]

Nebraska, Bhutan, and the Hereandnow

Greetings to those of you who follow the Wild Fox Zen Blog. Or used to - it's been quite a while since I posted.Here's a quick update.At the end of June, 2016, we left Portland, ME, and moved to Omaha, NE, to assume leadership of the Nebraska Zen Center. The transition was really tough, especially for the first six-weeks or so after landing. It was even questionable for a while if we'd stay.But we did.And now we've taken some big steps toword reinvigorating the practice here. … [Read more...]

Moving to Omaha to Lead the Nebraska Zen Center

Dear Reader,Today I'd like to bring you up to date on my wild fox rovings.A couple years ago, Tetsugan and I left Minnesota and moved to Portland, ME, to start a Zen group, Great Tides Zen.Portland, ME, a lovely old town on the Atlantic's Casco Bay with about 66,000 folks, is the progressive heart of Maine. There are a number of dharma groups in the immediate area but no Zen teachers. Just a couple hours from the Boston metro, it seemed like a good place to give our vision for a Zen … [Read more...]

The Wave-Particle Duality and Practice-Enlightenment

At the beginning of the last century, the great theoretical physicists noticed that neither the wave nor the particle theory for light fully explained the phenomena. Einstein wrote, “We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.”This is much like the practice-enlightenment duality that is much discussed in Zen circles. Some suggest that there is no enl … [Read more...]

Review of Brad Warner’s Latest, “Don’t Be A Jerk”

        Brad Warner has done a lot of good for Zen in the West. Most practitioners I talk with who are under 40-years-old found their way to Zen through Warner's books, especially Hardcore Zen.Warner has cultivated an image of being an irreverent iconoclastic, while ironically embracing orthodox Soto Zen, for example, by exhibiting reverence for Dōgen's teaching, advocating no-goal zazen, and finding kensho and koan in … [Read more...]

Just Sit or Wake Up? A Tale of Two Old Teachers

The tension over what to emphasize in dharma practice, just sitting or waking up (aka, meditation or wisdom), goes way back, probably to the time of the historical Buddha. And because we are in an emergency situation – born and soon to die – discovering the most skillful approach for resolving the great matter of birth and death - and throwing ourselves into it - is an urgent matter.If we make the wrong choice, well, lost time won’t be found again.In China, an atypical tension between tho … [Read more...]

Buddha’s Enlightenment: Yielding Assertively, Touching the Heart

Note: This is the fifth of five post based on talks from Rohatsu 2014. Students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed them and I edited. The final one will be posted here soon. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” Here for the second: “Sitting Through it All.”  Here for the third: “Not Clear About the Self.” And here for the fourth: "Buddha's Enlightenment: A Single Body is Revealed."---------First, a word about “sesshin,” the word we use for intensive … [Read more...]

Buddha’s Enlightenment: A Single Body is Revealed

Note: This is the fourth of five post based on talks from Rohatsu 2014. Students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed them and I edited. The final one will be posted here soon. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” Here for the second: “Sitting Through it All.” And here for the third: "Not Clear About the Self."---------For Zen practice, it is vital to become a zazen person and establish your seat firmly, just as the Buddha did. As Keizan says, “…sitti … [Read more...]

Buddha’s Enlightenment: Not Clear About the Self

Note: This is the third part of five, based talks from last year’s Rohatsu that students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed and I edited. The others will be posted here over the next couple weeks. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” And here for the second: "Sitting Through it All.""If you want to understand, if you want an intimate understanding of enlightenment, you should get rid of 'you' and 'Buddha' and quickly understand this matter of 'I'. 'I' i … [Read more...]