Sound and Noise

Stumbled on this video of Suzuki-roshi and the theme reminded me of James' Monkey Mind thoughts on koans. For those of you who know Reb Anderson, there's a surprise at the end of the video.... … [Read more...]

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi … [Read more...]

Pieces of A Broken Heart Ward Chinese Translation … [Read more...]

Peonies and Thistles

The abundant spring rains helped the peonies bloom wondrously full this year. And then the storm of yesterday afternoon blew most of the petals hither and thither. Such a beautiful flower, so delicate, and so short lived. I trimmed the heads off the peonies this morning, wondering if it really helped the plant or if this was another cultural way of looking away from death.Then wandering through the Poetry Foundation website I found a poem about thistles, Katagiri-roshi's favorite flower.So … [Read more...]

Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances

From "The Writers Almanac"By Walt Whitman LISTEN Of the terrible doubt of appearances,Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable only,May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and … [Read more...]

A Divided Life

Although my legal name is “Dosho” and for me it is an important aspect of priest practice to use my dharma name, at work I go by “Mike.” Sometimes I wish that I’d also introduced myself as “Mike” when I moved here a few years ago rather than have my neighbors struggle with “Doshu,” “Dusho,” and “Dush-ho”Listening to my small group of students, I know I’m not alone in sometimes feeling my life is cut in two - Zen and daily life. Everybody knows that practice and daily life are not two. In all hone … [Read more...]

Butterflies and Karma

A friend of mine is a Theravadan nun. Several years ago she did a retreat with an elderly monk in Sri Lanka. The monk had a bad limp and explained to my friend that his leg was messed up because of his karma - he had kicked a dog in a previous life.Karma is “action + intention,” not simply “cause and effect” as it is often understood and translated. One of the Buddha’s great discoveries was that we are not merely pawns in the cycle of rebirth, born into and living out our lives in whatever (caste … [Read more...]

Compassion and Generosity are Fun

I found this talk by Robert Thurman at Ted: Ideas Worth Spreading. Thurman came to the Minnesota in the late 70's and early 80's several times, once to talk about his translation of the Vimalakirti Sutra and then as a translator for his teacher Tara Tulku's teachings on wisdom and compassion. I listened to the tapes from these talks many times as I drove to work at a local juvenile center.I once picked Katagiri-roshi up from the airport after he had co-led a teaching on karma at Green Gulch with … [Read more...]

On the Tips of the Hundred Grasses

"On the tips of the hundred grasses, the ancestors' true meaning," said the precocious Ling-chao to her dad, Layman P'ang.The issue of the true meaning of the ancestors is a significant one in Zen because we're an ancestral tradition, handed on person to person and not a revealed path. Buddha, Dogen, and all the great teachers, as well as all the not-so-great teachers in the Zen lineages (in the story of Zen, at least) have rediscovered this wondrous way and recreated it's presentation to fit … [Read more...]