What is Earnest Vivid Sitting, How it’s Often Missed in American Zen, and Why it Matters

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  Big life event - retired in early June from a thirty-some year education career (except for a few stints of full time Zen, I'd been at it since I was 22) and headed here to Portland, ME, to start a Zen training center, Great Tides ZenĀ (oh, and please sign up for our newsletter updates in the bottom right sidebar). Our apartment wasn't going to be available until July 1, so we drove from Minnesota to Maine at a leisurely pace. I took the opportunity to listen to a half dozen or so dharma … [Read more...]

Shikantaza: Busy, Busy Karmic Consciousness – When Will it Rest?

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My friend and teacher, James Ford, has a recent Monkey Mind post (click here), "Assuming the Position: Zazen as a remembrance of things past and Zazen as awakening," and has awakened me from a summer-time blog slumber.James begins by reflecting on the purpose of the dharma talk and whether it is "to encourage practice" or "direct pointing to the matter at hand."The venerable then goes on to address what has become a common perspective on practice in the Soto school, at least in the US … [Read more...]

What is the Withered Tree Way?

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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...]

Everything is Broken: What is Shikantaza?

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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...]


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