Did you See the Gorilla?

Zen practice disdains the dramatic but rather brings us back to ourselves by treasuring the ordinary, down to earth, and immediate. Its primary emphasis is on allowing the mind to be open to whatever is happening in the moment, to always be prepared to observe whatever comes into […]

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No Need for Cleverness

When the bell rings to end the first period of morning meditation, we continue the monastic tradition of reciting a short vow to save all sentient beings. In Buddhism, sentient beings are said to be composed of what are known as the five aggregates – form, feelings, perception, mental […]

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True Inheritance

When our parents pass away, or when a relative dies, we may receive an inheritance from them, some material possession that has been in our family.  But there is an inheritance that everyone receives, not because somebody’s life has ended, but because our life has begun.  It […]

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The Meaning of Zen Practice

At the end of a lecture in December of 1965, Suzuki-roshi said:

 Everyone knows zazen is very difficult. But we should not give up. In a busy country like America there must be some time to spare for zazen.

In the early 1960’s, a young man […]

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Life Without Deception

During our Saturday morning service, we recite the names of the Buddhist teachers from India, through China, and Japan. They were pioneers who dedicated their lives to maintaining and preserving this practice for future generations. We chant their names to acknowledge their effort on our behalf.

Prior to […]

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Grasping for Spirituality

Tim Buckley passed away two weeks ago.  I didn’t know Tim well –  our lives and lifestyles moved in different directions.  He was  part of the group of young people attracted to Zen and to Suzuki-roshi in San Francisco in the early 1960’s.

I did know […]

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The Importance Of Life

Because life is important, our own life is important. But at the same time, because life is important, our own life is not important.

If we see only one side of this paradox, that is, if we think only our own, personal life is important, we will feel […]

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What’s In My Best Interests?

When the question “What is in my best interests?” arises in our mind – consciously or unconsciously – the instinctive, gut response is usually, “Getting what I want.”

But it is not always so. Our answer is different when we have a change of heart, when our world view is […]

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Timeless Self

If we want to keep our mind clear and understand what we should be doing, we need to continue zazen practice each day and make an effort to do things mindfully. This is the best way to have a life of freedom and composure. But usually, we are […]

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The Wisdom Of No Technique

Kyogen, a Zen monk of ninth-century China, was a disciple of Kuei Shan and a Buddhist scholar. One day Kuei Shan said to Kyogen, “I don’t want to know what you have learned from your studies. Just say in a word what your original being was […]

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