June 11, 2008

When I think about authenticity and Zen, the first thoughts are about old Dogen-zenji. Soto lore tells of one of his disciple’s, Genmyo, accepting a large donation behind Dogen’s back from a military ruler after Dogen had refused the offer. It seems that Dogen wasn’t impressed by samurai Zen. Dogen threw the guy out of Eiheiji and then had the tatami under his sitting place cut out and the earth six feet under the platform removed as well. Dogen didn’t… Read more

June 6, 2008

Sitting at a bar and catching up with my brother last night, it struck me again how important is our basic stance. My brother and I have very similar bodies and as we age we seem to have lots of the same aches and pains in our backs and knees. How we hold our bodies, however, is quite different. My brother, influenced by studying and teaching law, holds his shoulders uptight, slouches a bit in the mid back and leans… Read more

June 5, 2008

I just discovered that there’ll be enough people here on Saturday for a dharma talk. If the group is really small, we just have tea and chat. But not this week. The little group of regulars will be mostly here. Studying together like this is very different from a church or a Zen Center. We know each other pretty well, in a practice sense, and so it is more like a gathering of friends than a public event. That’s how… Read more

June 2, 2008

Schwag aside, Brad Warner’s poetry blows. This you can clearly see from his blog post today, “Spiritual Schwag.” http://www.hardcorezen.blogspot.com/However, the guy’s ideas, I generally like. Warner comes across as needing to do the spiritual masquerade less than most and I respect that.What is “schwag?” you might be asking. Well, I’m getting old and I live deep in the fly-over, so I had to look it up. Merriam Webster doesn’t have a listing. The Urban Dictionary, however (something I use quite… Read more

June 1, 2008

Rather than sleep in on this Sunday morning, I awoke early. My kids are away on vacation with their mother, no zen activities were scheduled, and my partner was sleeping soundly. I quietly made coffee, reviewed for the Thursday night Dogen study group, and then was about to begin one of my summer reading projects, The Power of Denial: Buddhism, Purity, and Gender by Bernard Faure when I found the current issue of Turning Wheel: Journal of Socially Engaged Buddhism… Read more

May 30, 2008

Today, May 30, is the memorial day for Katagiri-roshi’s teacher and my dharma grandfather, Daicho Hayashi-roshi. His dharma name is Kaigai Daicho, meaning something like Beyond the Ocean, Great Tides. His name is strangely prescient given that his disciple, Katagiri-roshi, would come to America. I am interested in his story in part because it shows the huge changes that we’ve gone through in just a few generations. What follows is information about him that I’ve gleaned from conversations with Tomoe… Read more

May 28, 2008

I just saw a summary of a major review of the research literature on climate change on The Newshour and found the study on the web from the Joint Global Change Research Institute, University of Maryland. Here’s some good material for looking ourselves in the face. You can find it at http://www.globalchange.umd.edu/Here’s a tiny part of the summary – big changes will happen even if we take appropriate action and much more dramatic changes will occur if we continue to… Read more

May 27, 2008

We ought to be able to look the situation (in this case the possible near-term big changes in our society caused by hovering past half-oil) square in the face or our practice of facing a wall is just more self indulgence.That’s the starting place.Another thing came to mind when I was talking with a co-worker about all this who is a Texas ex-patriot, now a Minnesotan for 35 years. Her brother is high in the oil industry. She assured me… Read more

May 26, 2008

Brad Warner has a crackin’ short piece on “mindfulness” or the lack thereof in actual Buddhist teaching (distinct from what’s being created in the hereabouts) at http://www.hardcorezen.blogspot.com/.Also, my blog inspiration, James Ford, has a kickin’ sermon about war in which he quotes me, Fred, and Bernie. James puts lots up and this one is from yesterday but he’s added about 5 things since. Here’s the title:FOR WHOM DO THE BELLS TOLL? A Call to Prophetic Nonviolence Read more

May 25, 2008

Today we finished sesshin (literally, “gathering the heart”), a Zen-style retreat with 13 forty-minute sittings, formal meals, service, etc. I’ve been doing this practice pretty regularly, usually monthly, for over 30 years. My oh my (pat on the back). I think of Leonard Cohen’s line “Death is old but its always new.” So too sesshin. Now I sit with a small group and sometimes alone. After 30 years, I can heartily say, sesshin is a wonderful lifestyle. Here’s a few… Read more

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