Cold as Hell!

Cold as hell!And just to be clear, for Buddhists using "cold" to describe "hell" is not a contradiction. We Buddhists, you see, have cold hells too. Lots of 'em.So we've got that going for us too.As I was saying, though, now it's -15 wind chill in White Bear, MN, and getting colder. -45 or so by morning so the schools will probably be closed.It is so cold that if you walk into the wind for about 3 seconds, your eyebrows will hurt like hell. That's how cold it is.By the way, … [Read more...]

Vine of Obstacles Online Support for Zen Training: Applications Now Being Accepted

Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training is a new way of studying Dogen Zen, integrating just-sitting and koan approaches.Designed for practitioners living at home who yearn to realize and actualize the great matter of birth and death, we acknowledge both the difficulty of following through with our practice aspirations in the midst of daily life and the truth that this very bind can be a dharma gate.We practice enlightenment through daily zazen, koan-inspired Dogen study, and … [Read more...]

A Gentle, Caring Way of Life: Dreaming of Dharma Transmission Plum Blossoms

One of the many sweet things about teaching through the Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training (click here for the latest update - another due out soon) is sharing some of my old teacher, Katagiri Roshi, with the students through his recorded talks that are connected with the sections of the first course, Guidelines for Studying the Way. A couple practitioners have asked for transcription projects to work more closely with Roshi's teaching. Here's one that was transcribed by David … [Read more...]

Taking Refuge in a Coffin: Is This Life One or Two? And Who Knows?

One of the themes that's been coming up lately for practitioners in these parts (yes, both for Wild Fox in-the-fleshers and newly rolling Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training) has been the role of witness consciousness in practice.When arousing the way seeking heart by contemplating impermanence (like I suggested in this recent post) of both the things of the world and the self, it becomes clear that there seems to be somebody watching this process - as if from outside.Who … [Read more...]

Arousing the Way Seeking Heart

What is the Way Seeking Heart?Sometimes it is referred to as the "thought of enlightenment" and in Sanskrit, bodhicitta (click here for the Wikipedia entry). In Guidelines for Studying the Way, Dogen takes up this issue, saying the various names for the Way Seeking Heart all refer to " and the same mind."The same and one mind. Hmmm.What mind is that?The first piece of reflection in the just-launched Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training is about this essential … [Read more...]