Blog posts

Eight levels of Consciousness

One mindfulness practice is to be aware of what is coming through your sense gates. It is the awareness of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. We become more present to what is happening — the objects of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts. For each organ and object, there is a mind consciousness, … Continue reading Eight levels of Consciousness

A “Health Sesshin”

When I most appreciate my practice is when I’m facing a personal difficulty, particularly when it concerns my health. It seems like ill-health brings up my worst fears and anxiety. Especially it brings up that inevitably fact that human beings die. My ego and thought patterns particularly don’t like that. My ordinary mind thinks of … Continue reading A “Health Sesshin”

A Splendid Opportunity

Here is a terrific quote from Dogen Zenji on being in the present moment: “This is a splendid opportunity for buddha-dharma to enter into mud and water. If you do not realize the fruit at this moment, when will you realize it? If you do not cut off delusion at this moment, when will you … Continue reading A Splendid Opportunity

Mid-Practice period – Refinement

We have about three weeks left of the Clouds in Water Practice Period. This is an individualized at-home practice period of our commitments in spiritual life. It is a revision of what the traditional practice period was like. Traditionally, the practitioners would commit to a certain schedule that would be done communally, all together in … Continue reading Mid-Practice period – Refinement

Practicing with Confusion

Ken McLeod has always been one of my inspiring teachers. He has a great e-newsletter and website. Check him out at In his February newsletter he wrote about a practice tip: Find peace and clarity in the confusion, not by getting rid of it. He takes us through a process of taking a tradition … Continue reading Practicing with Confusion

Haikus for broken bones

Two weeks ago while on vacation in Colorado skiing, with many exhilarating moments, i had one moment of a crash with resulting consequences. I broke the head of my humerus which is the part of the upper arm bone that goes into the shoulder and secondarily, contusions on my knee and ankle. Thankfully, i didn’t … Continue reading Haikus for broken bones

Greg Kramer’s hungers

I have been studying the Four Noble Truths lately in preparation for writing a piece about them. I found this very interesting interpretation to the three desires of the 2nd noble truth.  The classic three desires in Buddhist teaching are: The desire for sensual pleasure The desire for being. The desire for non-being. Greg Kramer, “Insight … Continue reading Greg Kramer’s hungers

What is your original face?

Usually we answer the koan, “What is your original face?” with an emptiness response. It is a koan used to help Zen practitioners drop the stories and structures they believe as “self” and enter into a connection with ultimate existence. Sometimes, it’s even supplemented by saying, “What is your original face before your parents were … Continue reading What is your original face?

Three modes of Reality

Over the holidays, I recited the Lankavatara Sutra. This sutra is often said to expound the hallmark of the Zen school and very important in Early Zen in China. It seems to be a synchronistic occurrence that after studying the Gate Gate Mantra, I would stumble across this sutra, which really explores even more how … Continue reading Three modes of Reality

Having Tea Together

Just got a beautiful card in the mail. A quote from Joan Sutherland, a Zen Teacher in New Mexico. Here is what it said: “Let’s have tea. Let’s have galaxies, let’s have earthworms, let’s have sorrow and tenderness, and let us pour and receive the bottomless mercy that life has for us in our foolishness, … Continue reading Having Tea Together

Beyond Personal Identity #3

Continuing my series on gate, gate, paragate mantra.  If you are new to this series, look at the two previous blogs for the overall translation into English of this mantra. Beyond personal identity means that we stop living our life and our motivations through the screen of our personal desire system.  This is corresponding to … Continue reading Beyond Personal Identity #3

Beyond thought.#2

During rohatsu sesshin, I worked with the gate gate mantra. I got this explanation from Dan Brown who is a Tibetan teacher and i have really enjoyed contemplating it:   Let’s work with “beyond thought”. this is part of the three bases under samadhi. Learning to concentrate is one of the essential tasks. Can we … Continue reading Beyond thought.#2