On Separation and Resistance

J. asks: I want to ask about non-dual practice in relation to "resistance." It seems to me that mindfulness itself is inherently non-dual. Therefore, when we single out something that is a "problem" such as "resistance" and try to do away with it…haven't we left zazen? (Or ego? Or mind?)I ask it because many teachers seem to, to me anyway, paint resistance in a corner as a bad thing that must go…how can one really practice like this?Kind Regards, J.Dosho's response: From my perspective, mind … [Read more...]

Why Did Dogen Sit?

As he put it in "Bringing Forth the Mind of Bodhi (Enlightenment),""[To] do a sitting buddha and do a making buddha, are called 'bringing forth the mind of enlightenment.' Generally speaking, in cases of bringing forth the mind of enlightenment, rather than taking up the mind of enlightenment from elsewhere, they take up the mind of enlightenment by bringing forth the mind."Or ... as Katagiri-roshi used to say, "The truth to live is just to live." … [Read more...]

Why Do You Practice Zazen?

An old and dear friend who started Zen practice by attending the first couple training periods at Tassajara a thousand years ago came over for dinner last night and we hung out on my deck and talked. The conversation turned eventually to Zen, as it usually does. I'll try to relay a bit of it here as accurately as I can.  He asked me, "Do you still love zazen like you used to?" "Well ... not every day or anything, but some days." "Why do you still do it?" "When I get up in the morning and sit, … [Read more...]

Wow! My Book is on Amazon

I was looking for something else when I found this. Had no idea it would be posted so early. Not due out until January 1, 2009. Really fun to see it. Click here to order now while supplies last! Just kidding. … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Zen Teachers, Communities and Growth

This morning I'm responding in a rather raw way to some threads from James Ford's Monkey Mind and a comment I heard recently from another Zen teacher.First, I don't think any one Zen model is going to win the day quite yet, short of the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation bequeathing zendos in all 50 states and appointing the teachers themselves - horror or horrors!  One of the differences in the development of American Zen is that it has largely been from the ground up - much different than the e … [Read more...]

On Pleasing One’s Teacher

Recently a student has become aware of how he has been doing his practice - in part - in an effort to please me. This is something students often go through, including myself with Katagiri-roshi. It can be an important part of finding one's own feet and then standing up and walking as a free person.Zen is meant to help us break our chains, sometimes through the skillful means of tightening them so that they catch our attention. Sometimes by illuminating those that can be broken only through … [Read more...]

Lost on Planet China

This was my "plane book" for last week's trip: J. Maarten Troost's Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation.And here's a short review before I drive to the airport, get in several hours of work, transport kids here and there, and get the place ready for practice tonight. You know how it goes.First, Troost is a really fun, engaging writer. And what he found in China is really scary. I no longer want to travel there. … [Read more...]

Note on the New “Donate” Button

The above button doesn't work ... but you'll see the real one in the right sidebar - an easy way offer dana for sesshin, classes, or just because you like this blog (Wild Fox Zen is a 501C3 nonprofit).Also, I'm going to be experimenting with "internet practice instruction" via Skype video conferencing. The basic idea is to help people that are practicing zazen (or would like to start practice) and don't have a teacher handy.I've long said that you can't really practice Zen alone. With the Skype … [Read more...]

On Lineage and Women: An Unpopular View

Mugai Nyodai , 1223-1298, a great practitioner, teacher, and woman.At the recent conference, one teacher who had recently completed dharma transmission told me about her ceremony. Her teacher had her do the bowing practice with almost 150 names, including many of the known women great practitioners through the ages. Despite the dogma of Zen, most Buddhists, including Zennists, through most of our history have apparently thought that women could not become truly enlightened and were more or less … [Read more...]