Cybersanghas – Do They Work?

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My contribution to Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly, Spring 2014, is now out and available. Click here for a bit of a tease. And subscribe if you'd like the whole piece. There's also an interesting looking piece on the teacher-student relationship and with Koun Franz now involved with Buddhadharma, I'm expecting some really good things from this journal.By the way, my "balanced view" about cybersanghas is creating a bit of a stir in our Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen … [Read more...]

Watch Out for the Dog!

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I stumbled on a Zen story a little while back that's been tugging at me. I'm sure I've read it before but somehow it didn't bite the first few dozen times through.Then Steve Heine pointed to it in Like Cats and Dogs: Contesting the Mu Koan in Zen Buddhism (review by yours truly here) and it sunk it's teeth into my behind.One place the story shows up in classical literature is in the Blue Cliff commentary on Case 96, "Zhaozhou's Three Turning Words" in the section for "A gold Buddha does … [Read more...]

Great Tides Zen: Coming to Portland, ME, Summer 2014

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Yes, like dog Bodhi in the photo, we're getting ready to move and lay some fresh tracks. You see, we'll be burying the wild fox in a cave out back and moving - or in wild fox language, transmogrifying - in the summer of 2014.So this winter-spring, we're in transition, giving the precepts to some Wild Fox Zen students and householder denkai (the first step in lay transmission) to another.How is this possible?My youngest child will be graduating from high school and going off to … [Read more...]

Cold as Hell!

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Cold as hell!And just to be clear, for Buddhists using "cold" to describe "hell" is not a contradiction. We Buddhists, you see, have cold hells too. Lots of 'em.So we've got that going for us too.As I was saying, though, now it's -15 wind chill in White Bear, MN, and getting colder. -45 or so by morning so the schools will probably be closed.It is so cold that if you walk into the wind for about 3 seconds, your eyebrows will hurt like hell. That's how cold it is.By the way, … [Read more...]

The Old Plum Tree Bursts into Bloom

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This is the third installment in the "Plum Blossom" series. Katagiri Roshi gave these talks twenty-five years ago and recently David Casucuberta transcribed them and I've edited them. Click here for the link for the second one, "Gassho Like Falling Snow," and that will bring you to the first one too. Take it away old Roshi: The old plum tree is the boundless actualization of truth with no end and no beginning, the actualization of the whole universe - pine trees, bird, your hair, boots, nose, … [Read more...]

When Death Comes and How to Live Today

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How can we live meaningful lives today so that when death comes we might reflect that we did indeed live life to the full? Jesus is said to have expressed the purpose of his ministry in this way.How can we live meaningful lives today so that when death comes we will rest knowing that we did what was to be done? Buddha is said to have often framed the work of the dharma practitioner in this way.Yes, death will come.A Zen student who works as an emergency room doctor told me recently … [Read more...]

Who Doesn’t Get Sick? Ouch, Ouch!

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Happy New Year to you all.Enjoying the break here - still! My day job is cancelled again today due to the "excessive" cold.How cold? It was so cold yesterday that I didn't take dog Bodhi for a walk.That's how cold it was. And now a heat wave. +4 at present.Yesterday there were wind chills of more than -50 degrees (before the '90's it would have been in the -70's). Or like we say in our understated Minnesotan way (hear this as in Fargo), "Gol darn-it anyway, it's a bit cool out … [Read more...]

Myogen Steve Stucky Has Died

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The former Central Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, Myogen Steve Stücky, died this morning. Click here for more.And here's James' post at Monkey Mind.I didn't know Steve well although we connected at conferences a few times over the past decade or so. He shared some old Katagiri stories with me that I hadn't heard before which is always a treat.And at a difficult time in my life, Steve was enormously kind and now I feel very grateful for his brief presence here on this little … [Read more...]

How I Almost Drowned in the Swamp Out Back

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Even if you don’t like death, when death comes you have to die. Even if you don’t like tomorrow, when tomorrow comes you have to be tomorrow. If you think with your head about dying, it is not real dying. When you are dying, dying is perfectly silent. Nothing to say. Just be one with the dying. All we have to do is just to be right in the middle of dying, which is perfectly silent.- Katagiri Roshi (from last blog post)Thinking about dying isn't real dying - that has become vividly clear … [Read more...]


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