Blog posts

Ireland, Sept 2014

I am in Ireland on vacation with my family. I have been taking what I call a well-deserved vacation. I have been busy with other aspects of my life since around the beginning of August. What has surprised me the most is that after about 6 weeks of “other things” besides my work as a … Continue reading Ireland, Sept 2014

Right Thought II

There are two types of thought in Buddhism: Initial thought – first thought Developed thought – elaboration on first thought, which leads us into fantasy and belief in our constructed stories. This is similar to the four layers of concept and language which is how our thoughts construct what we think is reality. 1. Naming … Continue reading Right Thought II

Right Thought

In my last Sunday talk, I worked with the 8-fold path and the limb of Right Thought. The Buddha had many suggestions about how to work with our thoughts.  One of the practices I use is “Guarding of the Mind.” This practice creates an image of a protective guardian at the entrance to the mind … Continue reading Right Thought

Vital Creativity

“Karma” has been a word that has been usurped by our society. Everyone uses that word, Buddhist and non-buddhist alike, but how terribly misunderstood that word is. We have just done a sesshin at Hokyoji Zen Community where we investigated the teachings on Karma. Particularly we read Katagiri Roshi’s book, Each moment is the Universe, … Continue reading Vital Creativity

Oryoki at McDonalds

I’m in 7-day sesshin at Hokyoji Zen Community in southwest Minnesota. I have come here for almost 40 years now and have a profound appreciation for the deep core of Zen that can be practiced in this environment. Today during Oryoki, which is the procedure for a formal meal in the zendo, I thought of a … Continue reading Oryoki at McDonalds

Hurry corrodes Meaning

I have a teaching story or Koan from Tomoe Katagiri who is a teacher for many of us in her quiet way.  She is Katagiri-roshi’s widow.  Thursday, Sosan and I went to her house to work on Jukai (Buddhist initiation) names.  We are continuing again this Jukai to give the participants Japanese names with translations.  … Continue reading Hurry corrodes Meaning

Sorrow and Loss

It seems that a combination of things has caused me to think about aging and death a lot lately; having an empty nest, turning 63, some of my friends getting sick. I’m at my eldest son’s graduation from college – tomorrow it’s cap and gown, but underneath is this sorrow for my life passing and … Continue reading Sorrow and Loss

me, my, mine

I have been working with a mindfulness slogan to remind me that the whole world doesn’t revolve around me and my life.  In fact, there is no centralized self!  “I” am just a dynamic function of the 5 skandhas (form, feeling, perception, formation and consciousness) that isn’t owned by “me”.  So, I work with this … Continue reading me, my, mine

Four Noble Truths

My 19 year old son asks me: “OK, I have a philosophy Buddhism question — so desire is a bad thing right? Hungry ghost? I think one thing I’ve been working on is understanding my desires and taming them so they don’t control me…. But my question is, isn’t desire what makes you do things? Like … Continue reading Four Noble Truths

The disease of wanting more

Since January of this year I have been using a new mantra: Accept, accept, accept, enough, enough, enough, relax, relax, relax. I have been contemplating the word “enough” which has its own Koan: BOS 77 ” Yangshan’s Enough.” In the Jewish tradition there is a special word — Dayenu, which means a certain action of God would … Continue reading The disease of wanting more

Guiding Teacher Changes

These are my notes on a talk I gave Sunday March 23rd at Clouds in Water Zen Center on my announcement of stepping down from the Guiding Teacher position and to propose that Sosan Theresa Flynn step up to that lead role.   I’m writing to let you know about some changes that the teacher ryo … Continue reading Guiding Teacher Changes

Talk for Carl Myosen’s memorial

From Reb Anderson’s Chapter on “Do not kill” in “Being Upright”: Life does not change into death. death does not change into life. life is just life; death is just death Life and death are not before and after In reality, death vividly and peacefully coexists with the fullest expression of life the ancient buddhas … Continue reading Talk for Carl Myosen’s memorial

The Two Absorptions

I was in the airport today, looking around at people’s faces. What I saw were faces of minds filled with stories. Each person’s mind filled up with their activity and spinning with their happiness and difficulties. I looked at my own mind. I thought to myself, could I wait for the plane and have a … Continue reading The Two Absorptions