Plum Blossoms IV for Roshi’s 24th Memorial Day

Katagiri and Dosho

On this 24th Memorial of Katagiri Roshi's death, I offer his "Plum Blossoms IV" to you, dear reader.You can view the other installments here: Plum Blossoms I, Plum Blossoms II, and Plum Blossoms III).Once again, David Casacuberta poured his big heart into the transcribing (thank you, David!) and someone who vaguely resembles the guy on the left (me on my homeleaving day in 1984 with Katagiri Roshi) again made a mess of it by doing the editing."Plum Blossoms" was a series of talks … [Read more...]

Cybersanghas – Do They Work?

Cyber Sanghas do they work-.pdf-1

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!

dog bite

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


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!


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


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

grave stone

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!

Wild Fox by Miriya

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


The former Central Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, Myogen Steve St├╝cky, 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...]