What My Upcoming Book is About

There are two main themes. The one that seems to stand out to most people who’ve seen it is the teacher-student relationship thread. That’s how Wisdom is summarizing and promoting it. And in collecting blurbs for the book, I’m seeing that the same focus. This one just arrived from Shohaku Okumura (to whom I deeply grateful) that nicely expresses this first theme:As Dogen Zenji said, Dharma teachers and disciples are like entwining of vines (katto in Japanese). Whether disciples are… Read more

How to Study the Dharma: Pitfalls and Possibilities

Saturday, September 20, 10am-noon, at the Nebraska Zen Center in OmahaThis is the temple where my dharma brother Nonin teaches. He’s recovering from surgery and I’ve wanted to get down and see him and help out at the temple. We just arranged this workshop. I’ll also give the talk on Sunday so if you’re in the neighborhood, come on by. For the Saturday workshop, we’ll discuss the types of study, how study relates to the rest of practice, how study can… Read more

Bob Dylan: How to Avoid Over Interpretation

http://youtube.com/v/ssqr7VsrJ0s Read more

Virtual 100 Day Home Practice Period

Here’s an experiment that might help stabilize your practice. It is based on the 90 or 100- day practice periods during the rainy season that monks and nuns have done since the Buddha’s days. Katagiri-roshi might have been the first to start non-residential practice periods. The idea is the same – make a commitment and follow through.Residential practice is easier in that the group helps carry all the members along (and more difficult because the group helps carry all the… Read more

White Monkeys, Black Monkeys

“I thought it was a white monkey but there is a black monkey too.” This saying is attributed to Yuanwu (Blue Cliff Record commentator) and is quoted by Sen’ne (one of Dogen’s three successors) in presenting the following lines from the Genjokoan:Conveying oneself toward all things to carry out practice/verification is delusion. All things coming and carrying out practice/verification through the self is realization (trans., Shohaku Okumura). This came to mind recently when I saw a short piece by an American Zen teacher exalting the… Read more

Jem – They

http://youtube.com/v/qSLvcJ4I1mw Read more

Republicans, Koans and Old Dogs

A couple different things are on my mind today. First, the Republican National Convention is happening about 20 miles south of here so I feel compelled to say something about it. I’ll make it brief. I listened to part of Romney’s very disappointing speech last night.  To blame the “Liberals” for the federal deficit is utterly whacked but almost equally as whacked as many of his other so-called arguments for voting for McCain. The most disturbing thing, though, was a young… Read more

Will We Leave Singing?

This is a transition day for me, usually bigger than New Year’s. The summer ends today and the school year begins tomorrow. So I’m in a reflective mood about the past year, the next year, and how swiftly this is all going.Like some people do on New Year’s, I usually cook up a couple-three focus areas for the year – without contrivance, it just seems to be the way I do life. Last year at this time I had a… Read more

Heart Free as White Clouds

This caligraphy is by my dharma-bro, Nonin Chowaney. “Heart Free as White Clouds.” You can see more of Nonin’s work and even buy some by clicking here.Brad Warner has a recent post on how to do zazen. Here’s how I put it in Keep Me In Your Heart Awhile.Shikantaza is zazen. The first line is a quote from Katagiri-roshi:”Shikantaza is to bring wholehearted harmony to the self without attaching to enlightenment or delusion.”Shikantaza has a specific form. The legs, either… Read more

On Working for a Living

I’m back at work full time so its been a while since my last post.There are advantages and disadvantages of being a Zen practitioner and a regular full time working grunt.On the plus side, there’s really knowing how it is to work full time in something that isn’t so-called “dharma” work. How is it? Well, let me remind those of you who haven’t done it for a while, it is damn hard. I’d like to know whose flippin’ idea was the five-day work… Read more

Follow Us!