September 19, 2022

Click here to support my Zen teaching practice (of which translations and writings like this are one facet) via Patreon. Going Through the Mystery’s One Hundred Questions My next book is cooking along and at this point it looks like it will be available in the late Fall. The book includes an introduction in which I geek out freely on the nature of Chan (Japanese, Zen) in the thirteenth century the period of transmission from China to Japan. I’ve long... Read more

September 13, 2022

Click here to support my Zen teaching practice via Patreon. Translations and writings like this are one facet of this work. Click here to learn about a course we’re offering in October and November – The Awakening of Mahayana Faith.  In our recently concluded summer study session through the Vine of Obstacles Zen, we explored “Zen Conduct” through Dōgen’s teaching in “Guidelines for Studying the Way.” At the same time, I’ve been playing around with translating some bits of Dōgen... Read more

September 12, 2022

This fall, we are introducing a new offering through the Vine of Obstacles Zen – a course that’s open to everyone. This is an opportunity for aspiring practitioners to explore practicing with us without making the full two-hour daily commitment required for Vine students. ​This offering is intended to serve as a way for you to clarify your intention and/or ramp up your practice so that you could become a Vine student, or simply as a pathway to receive what’s offered... Read more

September 1, 2022

Click here to support my Zen teaching practice (of which translations and writings like this are one facet) via Patreon. Introduction Meihō Sotetsu (1277-1350, 明峰素哲, Bright Peak Elemental Penetration) is the fifth generation Sōtō Zen ancestor in Japan, following Dōgen, Ejō, Gikai, and Keizan. If you are practicing Sōtō Zen with teachers in any of these lineages – Katagiri, Swaki, Harada-Yasutani, Aoyama, Bokusan-Kishizawa – you are practicing in Meihō’s dharma stream. Keizan may have regarded Meihō as his primary successor... Read more

August 16, 2022

In recent days, I’ve been playing around with translating some bits of Dōgen from his Eihei Koroku (Dōgen’s Extensive Record), especially from Volume 9, his collection of ninety kōans with verses. The only translation of these that I know of is by Leighton and Okumura and they are good, of course, but I’ve long wondered if I might focus them from the perspective of kōan training.  Given what we’re working with these days at Vine of Obstacles Zen, including a... Read more

August 2, 2022

                          Click here to support my Zen teaching practice via Patreon. This post might surprise the long-time Wild Fox Zen reader. When I rant and fume about the current state of practicing awakening in the Zen world, you see, I’m usually primarily chiding those who claim affiliation with Sōtō Zen and the so-called “just-sitting” method. At the same time, I often hold up kōan work as the more... Read more

July 27, 2022

Click here to support my Zen teaching practice via Patreon. Introduction This post is the third in a series of three on study practice in this lineage of Zen. The first post, The Vital Importance of Studying Buddhadharma: Why and How, was the why and how of study. In the second post, Four Little Fishies in the Big Zen Sea and How They Do Study, I identified some of the study fish in the Zen social media sea (mostly) and... Read more

July 13, 2022

Click here to support my Zen teaching practice via Patreon. Overview This post is the second in a series of three on study practice in Zen. The first post, The Vital Importance of Studying Buddhadharma: Why and How, was the why and how – like the title says. In the third post, “Stinking Skin Bags, Blind Donkeys, Parrots and Studying the Buddhadharma,” I’ll offer some of what the great teachers in our tradition had to say about dharma study, especially... Read more

June 9, 2022

Click here to support my teaching practice via Patreon. Introduction In this post, I will explore two questions: “Why study the buddhadharma” and “How to study the buddhdharma as a practice of the buddhadharma.” This is a fuller expression of these issues that Tetsugan Sensei and I posted for our students on the Vine of Obstacles a month or so back. In my next post on this subject, “Four Little Fishies in the Big Zen Ocean and How They Do... Read more

June 2, 2022

Many of us come to a place in our journey where what once worked is broken, where the path is dark, where we’re at a loss – especially in these dark days of ongoing pandemic, climate crisis, social divisions, and political dis-ease. The phrase “dark night of the soul,” used variously in Christian mysticism, is often about the whole journey to union with God. In Western Zen, starting with Aitken Roshi, it is sometimes used for those very dry places... Read more


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