December 17, 2015

Note: This is the fifth of five post based on talks from Rohatsu 2014. Students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed them and I edited. The final one will be posted here soon. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” Here for the second: “Sitting Through it All.”  Here for the third: “Not Clear About the Self.” And here for the fourth: “Buddha’s Enlightenment: A Single Body is Revealed.” ——— First, a word about “sesshin,” the word we… Read more

December 15, 2015

Note: This is the fourth of five post based on talks from Rohatsu 2014. Students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed them and I edited. The final one will be posted here soon. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” Here for the second: “Sitting Through it All.” And here for the third: “Not Clear About the Self.” ——— For Zen practice, it is vital to become a zazen person and establish your seat firmly, just as… Read more

December 11, 2015

Note: This is the third part of five, based talks from last year’s Rohatsu that students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed and I edited. The others will be posted here over the next couple weeks. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” And here for the second: “Sitting Through it All.” “If you want to understand, if you want an intimate understanding of enlightenment, you should get rid of ‘you’ and ‘Buddha’ and quickly understand… Read more

December 4, 2015

Note: This is the second part of five, based talks from last year’s Rohatsu that students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed and I edited. The others will be posted here over the next couple weeks. Click here for the first part:  “The Root of Zen.” Sitting so that the reeds grow up around us, we sit upright and tranquil, becoming a zazen person as a necessary condition – but not a sufficient one. A sufficient condition… Read more

December 2, 2015

Note: This is the first part of five – talks from last year’s Rohatsu that students (Brian, Ryan, Erik, and Vera-Ellen – thank you!) transcribed and I edited. The others will be posted here over the next couple weeks. “Shakyamuni Buddha saw the morning star, and realized enlightenment. He said, ‘I together with all beings and the great earth attain the way.’ At age nineteen Shakyamuni leapt over the palace walls in the dead of the night and shaved off his… Read more

November 30, 2015

When I mentioned to a friend that I was reading Stephen Batchelor’s new book, After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age, he asked, “Is it as acerbic as his last book?” Ouch! Now, I’ve been reading Batchelor for a long time. Way back in 1983, Batchelor’s Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism, was a powerful and important book for me. Living with the Devil (2005) is still a personal favorite. And perhaps because of my own acerbic proclivity,… Read more

October 29, 2015

Quick question: what sparked the compassion revolution in Buddhism that we now call the Great Vehicle (aka, Mahayana)? One answer: Writing. Yup. A new theory has it that the proliferation of the ability to read and write that took place a bit more than 2,000 years ago changed the Buddha Way by inviting a level of intersubjective reflection that was previously not as readily available. As Alan Cole puts it in “The Diamond Sutra as Sublime Object: Negation, Narration, and Happy Endings,” “…Mahayana Buddhism… Read more

August 30, 2015

              Zen: The Authentic Gate, by Koun Yamada Roshi (1907—1989; pictured above), is an essential text for any student of Zen interested in a clear expression from the source of the Zen reformation that unfolded in the 20th Century and continues to shape Zen practice today. Yamada Roshi is a towering figure in 20th century Zen. His great enlightenment was first presented in a cloaked manner in Three Pillars of Zen. Here’s David Loy from… Read more

June 26, 2015

The friendly-looking monk in the photo is Hashimoto Eko Roshi (1890-1965). In about 1948, the young Katagiri Roshi heard Hashimoto Roshi say, “Sit down, become Buddha.” Katagiri, then a new monk at Eiheiji, previously a failure in kamikaze school (he couldn’t get the training glider to fly straight toward the target) and a champion marathon runner, soon participated in his first Rohatsu sesshin. He determined to sit in full lotus no matter what, and even when he passed out and was dragged… Read more

May 26, 2015

Here at Great Tides Zen (in conjunction with the Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training), we’ve been working through the Heart Sutra and have devoted 17 sessions to the first 158 of 253 words (62%), including the title, in the Soto Zen Translation Project version of the Heart Sutra. I’m more and more convinced that unexcelled dharma geniuses pulled this thing together. Indeed, they did an incredible job of presenting the buddhadharma in full.  Yes, in just 253 words. I… Read more

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