The Old Plum Tree Bursts into Bloom

This is the third installment in the "Plum Blossom" series. Katagiri Roshi gave these talks twenty-five years ago and recently David Casucuberta transcribed them and I've edited them. Click here for the link for the second one, "Gassho Like Falling Snow," and that will bring you to the first one too. Take it away old Roshi: The old plum tree is the boundless actualization of truth with no end and no beginning, the actualization of the whole universe - pine trees, bird, your hair, boots, nose, … [Read more...]

New Katagiri Archive: One Who Sees the Dharma Sees Me

There's a new Katagiri Roshi archive up here: clickAndrea Martin has done a great job gathering together a whole trunk full of Katagiri material - audio, video, photos, calligraphy. I've gotten lost in it a few times, strolling down memory lane.And I learned some things.For example, somehow I'd missed the detail that Katagiri Roshi's teacher, Hayashi Roshi, had directed him to go to Hoshinji to study with Harada Daiun and the young Katagiri - in a non-stereotypical Japanese Zen … [Read more...]

What is the Withered Tree Way?

This reflection is a follow up to James Ford's post a little while back, Jiufeng Does Not Approve: A Brief Meditation.I've been chewing on this old case for twenty years or so - an important pointer in my ongoing search for what Dogen calls the wondrous method of practice-enlightenment (aka, shikantaza).Katagiri Roshi would often say that there are only a few people who really know this wondrous method. I took that to heart and launched a pilgrimage that has been dragging on for … [Read more...]

Koan Confessions

Note: This is the first installment in a series of seven or eight that I call my koan confessions, although I confess that most of the confessions aren't confessions in the usual sense.I wrote the whole piece a few months ago upon request, although it doesn't look like it'll be used for it's intended purpose so (desperate for fresh blog food), I'll post it here, one confession at at time. The beginning has some introductory material that regular readers might already be familiar with, I … [Read more...]

Soto Zen Form and the Sound of the Single Hand

     I found the above photo with an image search - a young Katagiri Roshi (right) and an old Suzuki Roshi (left). Click to enlarge the image and you'll see the Katagiri-fierce-zazen-face that he upheld throughout his life. Maybe he softened toward the end just a little bit.So I'm back from Rohatsu Sesshin at Boundless Way and one of the (little) striking things about the sesshin was looking around the room during a dharma talk and realizing that … [Read more...]

Everything is Broken: What is Shikantaza?

My recent post, Satisfying Hunger with Koan: A Critical Review of Foulk's Scholarly Perspective, got some discussion over at the Zen Forum International, especially about koan and shikantaza, a topic that's been much discussed in those parts of cyberspace.And here too, for some good reasons. Shikantaza, the actualization of the matter at hand, is a practice that is rather hard to pin down or to be done with.Maezumi Roshi, in his commentary to Dogen's "Universal Recommendations for … [Read more...]