August 29, 2017

                I’ve just learned that the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Buddhamental Dharmadisorders – 000 is now available and that there have been significant additions. Most notable is in the “Elimination Disorders” section, under “Mansplaining,” of the subtype, “Dharmasplaining.” In this post, I share that section with you: Dharmasplaining Defined The excessive need to verbally offgas about the buddhadharma, manifested either in person or online, by making lengthy assertions that far exceed one’s personal… Read more

August 25, 2017

            Unlike in 1984 when the above photo was taken at the end of a practice period (Katagiri Roshi is up front and center, I’m in the back on the right), meditation and mindfulness are booming and widely available. You can pick up basic meditation skills not only at dharma centers representing dozens of different lineages but also at yoga studios, community centers, and churches (usually of the progressive variety) from coast to coast. No need to… Read more

August 22, 2017

How does a Zen student know if a Zen teacher is a reliable guide, a verified representative of the Zen tradition? Read more

July 6, 2017

        “Some Sōtō Zen scholars and priests argue that Dōgen was against ‘personal’ enlightenment and that such an experience is out of tune with Dōgen’s teaching. Therefore, they conclude that later teachers must have made up the story of Dōgen’s personal enlightenment experience (you’ll find one version of this story at the bottom of this post).” I wrote that on April 1 (no joke), 2016. You can read the whole post here. In this post, I’d like to update… Read more

July 3, 2017

Arising-extinguishing is the activity of this life-death. The kōan that I’ll be presenting today asks this question: “Who is arising-extinguishing?” First, a bit of background about the collection this kōan arises in – The Record of Going Easy, 從容錄, (Chinese: Cóngróng lù, Japanese: Shōyōroku), translated into English as The Book of Serenity and The Book of Equanimity. In my view, The Record of Going Easy expresses the characters fairly and better conveys what the text is about – going easy in the midst of… Read more

June 28, 2017

Can Zen practice, even if you’re really good at it, lead us to freedom from suffering within the wild fluxes and flows of this life (aka, cause and effect or karma)? Remember that when the Buddha realized enlightenment, he thought that what he’d seen was too subtle for most. His post-enlightenment Plan A was to just sit under the bodhi tree and bliss out until his physical body’s karma was exhausted. But when he actually looked around at real people,… Read more

June 26, 2017

Wúmén Huikai (1183-1260, literally, “No-Gate Bright-Opening”), the compiler and author of the Gateless Barrier (無門關 Wúménguān), is one of the most important ancestors of our Zen tradition. Aitken Roshi notes: “An unconventional Zen master in many respects,Wúmén let his hair and beard grow and wore old soiled robes. He worked in the fields and carried his own slops. Called ‘Hui-k’ai the Lay Monk,’ he is a wonderful archetype for us monkish lay people in the West.” Wúmén was a contemporary… Read more

June 21, 2017

What is zazen? Everybody knows that Zen practice is largely about zazen, literally, “sitting zen” – but what is zazen? Through the ages, there has been a lot written about the subject, especially for a bunch that has spend so much time sitting down and shutting up. I got the bug for this inquiry (what is zazen?) from Katagiri Roshi. It involves investigating the ancient sayings, drilling in, and seeing how the ancients regarded this practice of sitting, and other… Read more

June 19, 2017

Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler at No Zen in the West recently raised the issue of “Private Religion, Private Engagement; Communal Religion, Communal Engagement.” Read more

June 13, 2017

As is well known, the Chinese written language, and especially the ancient Ch’an texts, use words differently than does the English language. Read more

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