Flipping Over and Decoding Chinese Characters for Zen Translations

These two characters, read fānyì, say it well.The first means to "flip over," "upset," or  "capsize." The second is to "decode." Together, they're usually translated as "translate." In this post, I'll offer some thoughts about this business of flipping over and decoding Chinese characters for Zen translations and give an example of the implications of this work.In an email conversation with a well-known Buddhist scholar, the scholar mentioned that the person who has done the most to tra … [Read more...]

Reaching Out a Hand: Birth, Death, and Raw Zen

Recently a Zen student who had been working with one of the koans in the Mu series, "Explain mu to a baby," send me an email during his duty-day as a chaplain.He'd just walked out of a hospital room where a woman lay in bed, holding her still-born infant daughter.Our Zen practice, whether of the just-sitting shikantaza or koan frames, is about authentically negotiating the Way in each a specific dharma situation (aka, daily life). Even the really raw and painful ones like this.So I … [Read more...]