Zen
The Practice of Reality
The Practice of Reality

  The koan asks you to pick something up without moving your hands. The teacher shows you how its done but he moves his hands. You point out that he is moving his hands. He says, “moving your hands is a concept’. Words that describe this underlying reality.” He moves his hands again.     […]

The Quiet World
The Quiet World

  If you are looking for a place to rest, Cold Mountain is a good place to stay. The breeze flowing through the dark pines Sounds better the closer you come. And under the trees a white-haired man Mumbles over his Taoist texts. Ten years now he hasn’t gone home; He has even forgotten the […]

Miles Smiles
Miles Smiles

    The Pointer: This interviewer is clearly a deaf man talking. How could he possibly play music? The Koan: An interviewer talking to Miles Davis referred to the music Miles played as Jazz. Miles said, “Don’t call it Jazz that makes you think of black people, it makes it a stereotype – just call it […]

The Dharma Tongue
The Dharma Tongue

  This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama In our practice we learn to appreciate the distinguishing marks of the Dharma. They are sometimes formulated as non-duality, transience and no […]

The Force
The Force

   The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees Is my destroyer. And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose My youth is bent by the same wintry fever. The force that drives the water through the rocks Drives my red blood; […]

“Like a Dragon Returning to the Sky, Like a Tiger Returning to the Mountain”
“Like a Dragon Returning to the Sky, Like a Tiger Returning to the Mountain”

    This week from March 1st through the 4rth we will be engaged in the retreat/intensive “Like a Dragon Returning to the Sky, Like a Tiger Returning to the Mountain.” I think we can all find the desire to return in ourselves. The desire to return evokes images of rest, peace and perhaps, above all, […]

Song
Song

      From one point of view life is a story. When we forget the story life is music. In music no note is more important than any other – it is all song. In the same way, in our lives, every moment is as important as any other and no moment will ever be more important than […]

Visible
Visible

    In early morning rain, it has become invisible, the little path.                                                                                     […]

Gateless Gate
Gateless Gate

    Generally speaking, religion is often tied to some discrete past event: a miracle, the manifestation of a deity,  or the enlightenment experience of the Buddha. On the other hand, science, technology and art are based on an evolving understanding. For instance, the union of human and machine thinking and the exploration of our universe and extraterrestrial life may […]

The Dragon’s Mask
The Dragon’s Mask

  The aim of Zen practice is the return to our normal state of mind. Although people often associate Zen with “special states of awareness” the truth is that the “special” state is the one we are in now. Blown around by fear and its weaker brother anxiety, led by greed, blame and self doubt we live […]

The End of The World
The End of The World

    Not to be reached by traveling is the end of the world, Yet there is no release from sorrow Unless you reach the end of the world. The one who is wise and leads a loving life Begins to know the world. That one will go to the world’s end. And then he […]

Zen Leaf, Zen Sword
Zen Leaf, Zen Sword

    Many years ago Caryn and I received a letter from Maezumi Roshi:   Front side, back side, front side, back side Autumn leaves falling down   We live in a forest of leaves: front and back, yes and no, up and down At any moment our leaf may fall to the ground So what do […]

Freedom
Freedom

    “This relativity of  mass,  space and time is the first scientific indication that physical reality depends in some way upon the observer. In reality, the vantage point from which we make an observation – a measurement – plays a role in the description of physical reality for the very reason that space, as […]

Perfect and Complete
Perfect and Complete

    The practitioner of the Way does not change  into someone else. She changes into herself. She always travels in the right direction because there is nowhere to go. Perfect and complete, there is nothing to know and no one to be. Trusting herself ,  she always rides the horse the way it is going. […]

Returning
Returning

                                              Photo by Caryn Shudo Silberberg                                                      “Mountains […]

Sauntering
Sauntering

    I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked […]

The Excellent Matter
The Excellent Matter

       Once a student asked Baizhang, “what is the most excellent matter?” Baizhang said, “Sitting alone on Daxiong Peak” Suppose someone were to ask me – what is the most excellent matter?  I would simply tell him: Giving a Dharma hall discourse on Mount Kichijo. (The location of Master Dogen”s temple) Dogen’s Extensive […]

The Tao of the Plum Blossoms
The Tao of the Plum Blossoms

Truly to know plum blossoms needs your heart as well as your nose                     Ueshima Onitsura (1660-1738)       Needing the heart implies the openness of being the flower, of being one with our reality.   The obstacles to this are what they have always […]

Walking
Walking

      When you sit, sit When you stand, stand Above all don’t wobble.   This old Zen saying contains enough nourishment to last a lifetime. So will we just talk the talk or really walk the walk?       photo by: h.koppdelaney

The Old Window
The Old Window

Looking back over these seventy years and more The human world of good-and-bad completely dissolves before my gaze A late-night snowfall blurs the footsteps of the last passerby I light a stick of incense and sit and meditate beside my old window                           […]

Intelligence
Intelligence

Our practice is about seeing things as they really are. Seeing reality. Seeing things as they really are is true intelligence. This seeing includes our view of ourselves, our world and the relationship between them. By removing the blinders of emotional and intellectual conditioning we can gradually see reality clearly, that is, just as it is. So […]

No Head
No Head

    From Maezumi Roshi’s commentary on the Fukanzazengi, Eihei Dogen’s instruction on sitting and practice: The point of our practice is not to become something other than what we already are, such as a buddha or an enlightened person, but to realize or become aware of the fact that we are, intrinsically, originally the […]

States of Being
States of Being

 .     Our practice of the Dharma includes intellectual understanding and transcends it. A way of understanding our practice  is that we cultivate increasingly clear and harmonious “states of being”.  All sentient beings down to the smallest grasshopper seek happiness and avoid  suffering if they can.  This, too, is our practice.  In this way, […]

Faith in the Way
Faith in the Way

    In the Diamond Sutra the Buddha dismantles the world view of his followers. He pulls the rug out from one concept after another. With the sword of wisdom he cuts and cuts. And still it is very difficult to cut away our own beliefs –  the thoughts we replay again and again. If […]