Blog posts

Intentions for the New Year

Our present direction is clearly defined but without having a goal. When we stop projecting goals and hopes in the future, and refuse to be led around by them, yet work to clarify our lives, that is, the “direction” of the present, then we discover an alive and dynamic practice. — Uchiyama Roshi Our practice … Continue reading Intentions for the New Year

Rohatsu Doshi Statement

We vow To enter each moment 6 and ½ billion moments a day to die and get birthed at superspeed into the moment to moment always, infinitely ever unfolding mystery of the “Now” Even blundering around Even lost in a haze Even a ½ a person There is never anything left-over Or outside the mystery … Continue reading Rohatsu Doshi Statement

Rohatsu Sesshin

Here are two wonderful quotes I found about Rohatsu Sesshin that at Clouds starts tonight and ends in a week. We do this every year to acknowledge Buddha’s Enlightenment Day on Dec 8th and someone just emailed me — “What a wonderful antidote to the commercial-overloaded holidays.” From the e-bulletin from Sanshin Zen Community: Hakuin Zenji, … Continue reading Rohatsu Sesshin

Does Time fly by?

The dichotomy we have been working with in Dogen’s Uji is time and timelessness. Another way of naming this duality is linear, sequential time and ‘being-time’. “Being-time” drops the moment down and touches timelessness or eternity or no-birth-no-death as Thich Nhat Hanh would call it. Each moment in Buddhist understanding, is the entire world and … Continue reading Does Time fly by?

Doing Zazen for all beings

This was written for the 6th week of fall practice period at Clouds in Water Zen Center. We do zazen for all beings. Lately with my son, I’ve been watching what I call “doomsday movies” or movies in which the future looks pretty grim. This past Monday, I wrote out the lineage papers for Gentle Dragon’s … Continue reading Doing Zazen for all beings

The Self is Time

I am teaching a class on the Buddhist sense of Time. It feels like working with Time could be a complete avenue to awakening. We know that one of our primary admonishments is to “live in the now” but what does that mean exactly? Keats has coined a term called “negative capability”. I often use … Continue reading The Self is Time

Bodhisattvas and Buddhas

As I have been attending Ken Ford’s Buddhist history class at Clouds in Water, I was struck by this observation of a myth about Bodhisattvas. The myth that I have heard and often said in teaching is that bodhisattvas forgo full buddhahood in order to save living beings. In other words, at the brink of … Continue reading Bodhisattvas and Buddhas

Cubist Enlightenment

Several years ago in the practice leaders study group, we were questioning what to study. Ken Ford said, “Let’s study enlightenment!” We all laughed and balked. Balked because it’s a tricky or scary question. We all should understand this thing we search for, ‘enlightenment’, but who does? Can enlightenment be understood? And yet, if we … Continue reading Cubist Enlightenment

The Circle of the Way

Clouds in Water just finished a sesshin at Hokyoji Zen Community in Southeastern Minnesota. I have been coming to this land and this place for at least 35 years. This land and place is so conducive to sesshin. It’s simply a wondrous place to practice. The mountains, valleys, birds, bells, grasses, tiles and pebbles are … Continue reading The Circle of the Way

Now, Now, Now

Bring your whole, unified body and mind to this moment, fully knowing that this moment is impermanent. This moment arises and disappears in 1/62nd of a finger snap. That happens so fast we cannot catch it with consciousness, but we can notice the activity we are engaged in and completely do this one activity. Katagiri Roshi … Continue reading Now, Now, Now

Touching the Earth Mudra

I would like to continue to unpack the practice of composure or the practice of no preference. “With the least like or dislike, the mind is lost in confusion” (Fukanzazengi, Dogen) Thich Nhat Hanh teaches this type of equanimity through the use of the touching the earth mudra in various way. First, of course, is … Continue reading Touching the Earth Mudra

The Smile of Composure

The third ancestor, Sencan’s famous quote from “Affirming Faith in Mind” : The Great Way is without difficulty; Just avoid picking and choosing. Just don’t love and hate And you’ll be lucid and clear.   This famous quote is very fundamental to our practice. So important, that Joshu had five or more koans, just on … Continue reading The Smile of Composure

Beginning anew

Throughout all religions, there is an emphasis on repentance. It is the ability: To humbly acknowledge a mistake or transgression, To feel the appropriate amount of regret, not too much and not too little To assess whether there is some kind of amends making to do. To let go, pick yourself up, and start over. … Continue reading Beginning anew

What do we trust in?

“What do we trust in?” is a pinnacle spiritual question. In order to surrender, or let go of control by our so-called mind and “I”, we have to trust in something. What is it that we surrender to? I’ve noticed in my teaching life, that when I ask people about trust, often I hit on … Continue reading What do we trust in?