More Wiggly Worms

Sesshin ended earlier today. Back on June 25th I posted some thoughts about the earthworm koan regarding living a divided life. Here at Wild Fox we’ve been focusing on the earthworm again. Its keeps wiggling back. Today I look at it more closely, in terms of our hearts.Here it is followed by brief comments:In the assembly of Chang-sha, Minister Chu asked, “An earthworm is cut in two pieces; the two pieces are both moving. In which piece do you think… Read more


I just saw Bill Maher’s mockumenarty, Religulous – the Catholics come out lookin’ pretty good thanks to a couple odd-ball priests, otherwise Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all take a severe beating.I enjoyed the movie and found Maher’s emphasis on doubt and reason refreshing. But then I tend to like rough humor. The film underscored for me the importance of zazen as a practice for deep reflection and not for becoming a not-thinking zombie.During dinner conversation, we turned to what a… Read more

After Searching Exhaustively

In today’s Soto Zen discourse in America, terms like shikantaza and practice-enlightenment are often wantonly misused. Reader of such words, take heed! They are often pasted onto some “special” state of mind or used to justify some deluded state of mind. In such a way the wondrous and vital realization to which they point is obscured.Maybe it’s always been this way. Dogen called practice-enlightenment a “subtle method.” Katagiri Roshi often said that only a few people really understood shikantaza.Similarly, in… Read more

Virtual Practice Meetings Update

On August 4th I first wrote about offering Virtual Practice Meetings via Skype.“I’m curious, I said, “about how this technology might be used to support home practice and I’m willing to give it a try. I may find that it doesn’t work, that our physical presence is so important that this mode of communication creates more confusion and misunderstanding than clarity and openness.”So here’s a brief update: so far, so good. This mode seems especially well suited for people who… Read more

Phoebe Snow – Something Real student was over this morning and said this song’s been on his mind. If you can handle the hand-held camera wiggling around, I think you’ll enjoy this. Read more

What Can We Do?

In the Dogen study group, we’re now working through the Genjokoan in usual Soto fashion – three sessions and we’re done for now with the title. Along with various translations, we’re also using Sen’ne’s 13th Century commentary where we find this about the “ko” in Genjokoan, usually understood according to Sen’ne, to equalize the unequal:What can we use as a criterion to define equalizing inequality? Once we understand that to be equal and to be unequal are one, it is… Read more

On Shikantaza

Here’s an email from a Zen teacher that I deeply respect, Barry Magid (a successor of Joko Beck) and my long-winded response. We had exchanged emails about my book and some concerns about “wholeheartedness.”I highly recommend his recent book, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide. Barry’s psychoanalytic training has given him an extremely valuable perspective and fitting language especially suited to clarifying barriers that many modern practitioners face, including our “secret practice.”Dosho – so here’s a question for… Read more

Work World Koan

This old case bubbled up in zazen this morning:Yunyan asked Baizhang, “Every day there is hard work to do. Who do you do it for, master?”Baizhang replied, “For the one who requires it. ”Yunyan replied, “Why don’t you let her do it herself.”Baizhang replied, “She has no tools.”Questions for our work: What is our work? Who do we do it for? What is required? What does it mean that she has no tools? Read more

A Fence, a Hardware Store, and a Lexus SC

We’re painting the white picket fence that borders part of the garden and we ran out of paint thinner. So I stopped at the local hardware store in White Bear – a suburb that used to be a small town (and before that a resort hot spot for Chicago mobsters like Ma Barker – but I digress…).White Bear still has a small town feel and people often say “hi” and strike up conversations (I love it) unlike the inner metro… Read more

“Followers” Added

I’m curious who is reading this blog and thought that it might be interesting for others too … so I’ve added the “Follower Gadget” on the right just after my profile. I invite you to add yourself if you read regularly. Thanks. Dosho Read more

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