Blog posts

Grace II

What is the mysterious silence of zazen that produces grace? Being touched by timelessness, selflessness, and infinite space can release, from the root of “self-ness”, the knots in our consciousness that we cling to as “our story” and produce our suffering. If we can stay with our experience of going beyond our concept of self, … Continue reading Grace II

Grace in Buddhism

I often search for a long time to find how certain Judeo-Christian terms translate to Buddhism. When I find a pathway of translation, I’m quite excited. I have long looked for the translation of “grace” into Buddhism. This week I heard, while listening to a Norman Fischer talk on “Transformation at the base,” what occurred … Continue reading Grace in Buddhism

No resistance

No Resistance: A continuing commentary on Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach Our suffering points to resisting what actually is happening in this moment. Our resistance is the great saying “no” to our life – the life of the moment and the life of our karmic story. These two polarities of life, the mentally constructed story of … Continue reading No resistance

Disidentification with emotions

How can we feel our emotions and disidentify with them at the same time? Sometimes, it is worded: how can I respond not react? In Tara Brach’s wording, “How can I feel my negative emotions without adding on ‘there is something wrong with me’ or with this situation.” Part of practice is learning to have … Continue reading Disidentification with emotions

Saying “Yes” to this moment!

It’s strange how many decades it takes to digest the simplest instruction.  So many layers and “ideas” about the instruction have to be peeled off. Our intellectual understanding keeps us in our heads without taking the instruction into our bodies and hearts.  Perhaps that’s why Katagiri Roshi said, years ago, that one should practice for … Continue reading Saying “Yes” to this moment!

Gratitude is Liberating

Gratitude is liberating. It is subversive. It helps us to realize that we are sufficient, And that realization frees us. — Joanna Macy   The simplest connection to the divine is to SEE it. The koans often say, “Look, Look!!” Do we see the mystery in our life? Can we notice moments of beauty, love … Continue reading Gratitude is Liberating

Interpersonal Hunger

All this fall, I have felt a very deep shock after studying Greg Kramer’s “3 hungers in relationships”: The craving for interpersonal pleasure and sensual pleasures The craving for being, which is the desire to be seen and acknowledged The craving for non-being, which wants to escape the difficulties of relationships, the fear of intimacy … Continue reading Interpersonal Hunger

Compassionate Presence

Every now and then, I have to let go of my ideas of “Zen” or enlightenment. Over the years, I build up a construction of what I think enlightenment is or what I think practice is and then I bump into something else which breaks that idea open. I don’t particularly like these transitions in … Continue reading Compassionate Presence

On Form

One of the questions in the forefront of American Zen is about the exacting form we inherited from the Japanese Zen history. There is a wide range of response and a continuum of how strictly teachers hold the Japanese forms. Some follow exactly the Japanese forms in a strict manner. Some have thrown out what … Continue reading On Form

Dana or Generosity or Giving

It is interesting what comes first. The first practice is dana, giving, or generosity in the fundamental structure of Buddhist spiritual life as represented by the Paramitas. (The Great Perfections). How many years can we spend learning to have a generous attitude in life? All of our years! Generosity and Giving are the opposite of … Continue reading Dana or Generosity or Giving

Waking up from our trance

We make experience belong to a “self.” When this becomes the core of our experience, we lose sight of the wholeness of life. All suffering or dissatisfaction arises from a mistaken understanding that we are a separate and distinct self. This self imprisons us in our desires and fears. This self often judges itself poorly … Continue reading Waking up from our trance

Radical Acceptance

October Monthly Mindfulness How can we be free and live in peace? This fall, some of us are studying Radical Acceptance as a practice of liberation and peace. We are using the book: Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. Radical Acceptance is quite contrary to our egocentric screen of life that processes everything in terms of … Continue reading Radical Acceptance

The emancipation of suchness

From Dogen, Bussho fascicle, Shobogenzo: Although with mu-buddha-nature (no- Buddha-nature) you may have to grope your way along, there is a touchstone — What. There is a temporal condition — You. There is entrance into its dynamic functioning — affirmation. There is a common nature — all-pervading or wholeness. It is a direct and an immediate … Continue reading The emancipation of suchness

To Do

As I have been talking about non-doing (the non-doing beyond non-doing), my dharma brother, Ken Ford, came up to me and said he found this passage in Shobogenzo that was talking about “doing” but sounded very similar to how I was talking about non-doing. And so, the paradox comes around. If we are non-doing, then … Continue reading To Do

Non-doing as deep silence.

Humility is a perpetual quietness of Heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore To wonder at nothing that is done to me To feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me Or when I’m blamed or despised; … Continue reading Non-doing as deep silence.

Non-doing as Serenity

The serenity of non-doing First, one needs to understand the duality of effort and no-effort, or doing and non-doing. We can see how our unique personality presents itself. Do we lean towards over-achieving or being couch potatoes? Then, in order to achieve balance in our storied life, we can direct ourselves to one side or … Continue reading Non-doing as Serenity