Todd Snider – Can’t Complain little out of place, a little out of tune, sorta lost in space racin' the moon.... … [Read more...]

More Still on Flowers and Weeds

By the way, I've been updating somethings over on the right sidebar, especially the offerings in 2009 right here in beautiful ex-urban White Bear and also my travels for the book.  We've got just one more Dogen study session until March and most Thursday evenings from now until then we'll be having open zazen (that means anybody can stop by, just shoot me an email) and tea afterwards. Okay ... now some more on Genjokoan from the session this past Thursday.No matter what you say about it, flowers … [Read more...]

Katagiri’s Persimmon

Katagiri Roshi liked persimmons but may have enjoyed the persimmon most as a metaphor for spiritual development. I remembered this last week while grocery shopping. At my local supermarket I spotted a few lonely persimmons tucked between the grapes and the strawberries. I know persimmons well from eating many during my stay in Japan. They were on a very short list of fruits and vegetables served at the monastery. So I bought a couple and served a ripe one last night at the Dogen study group. Sw … [Read more...]

With Begging Bowl In Hand

(A Zen monk doing Takuhatsu - begging) As the year draws to a close, I've been getting year-end solicitations in the mail, as you probably have too. Then today I looked at the Wild Fox bank statement… there wasn't much there and I quickly put the two together. Now I want you to know, I'm committed to offering what I can here on a donation basis, and will continue doing so whether I ever get another nickel. What I'm offering is not contingent upon donations, so it’s not required that you give any … [Read more...]

Visions of Awakening

Taigen Leighton's book, Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra, is now available in paperback, and at $24 its about 1/3 the price of the hardcover. This book is an academic and serious (sometimes ponderously so) reflection on the deep importance of the Lotus Sutra for fully appreciating Dogen's Zen. This is a significant contribution to Dogen studies.  The Lotus Sutra was Katagiri Roshi's favorite sutra too and he lectured on it for several years (although it seemed like d … [Read more...]

Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris – Goodbye now. Get your tissues ready. This one is so sweet. Seems like a good follow-up to the relationship post of a few days ago.Like the Tibetans say, meeting will end in parting, after all, love. … [Read more...]

More on the Tail

Here's an excerpt from the talk that James alludes too in his comment to my previous post.Click here and you'll get the whole beast - minus the tail, of course. Looking into your own heart and mind, what is it that is holding you back? What keeps you from being open? You don’t have to dig very far to know. Something presents, then just look below that. It isn’t very meta; it isn’t very far away from what you do over and over and over again.Now take that, that tail of the cow, and make that your k … [Read more...]

That Wonderful Tail

This morning in the woods I caught Bodhi's tail in a shot unexpectedly and thought of one of my favorite and bedeviling koans, Gateless Gate # 38: Wu-tsu's Bffalo Passes Through the Window. Later on, with the winter approaching and the daylight shrinking, I turned to savoring some old Dogen poems. I stumbled on Dogen also chewing on this wonderful tail. So first the koan with verse and then Steven Heine's translation from A Blade of Grass (apparently out of print):Wu-tsu said, "It is like a buff … [Read more...]

Flowers Fall, Weeds Grow

Though this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them and weeds grow when we dislike them.In this fourth sentence of the Genjokoan, Dogen moves from talking about the faces of reality to directly showing it with live words. "If you take them to the dokusan room," said Yasutani Roshi, "they make a wonderful koan. If you start to lecture even a little bit you'll be chased out of the dokusan room by the master's bell." Indeed, because it is so simple, it takes so long to clarify. Yet Bokusan Roshi s … [Read more...]