There are so many ways that the world will say no to our desires. But we also say no to ourselves and to the world. How do we say yes? In Zen practice, there is a deep affirmation that we can bring to our everyday life as well as our practice. This talk was given… Read more »
Several people became lay disciples this week. The decision to enter a formal teaching relationship is a serious one. But it’s not magic – teaching takes place both in and out of such a relationship. What does a teacher do? How do we work with the embodiment in front of us? This talk was given… Read more »
It’s easy to get the idea that certain thoughts and feelings are not part of Zen practice. We may think that to be a good student of Zen is to be free of strong emotions or points of view. What is the relationship between powerful and even overwhelming emotions and our practice? What does it… Read more »
Every year toward the end of September we celebrate the contribution of Eihei Dogen and Keizan Jokin to the establishment of Soto Zen. Dogen is considered the founder of Soto Zen in Japan, having brought it from China in the 1200s. Keizan, four generations later, popularized it and was instrumental in its spread. This talk… Read more »
There are many stories of awakened life as that of the “everyday,” when our ordinary experiences and the objects we meet take on a luminous quality. But what happens when we look around and find that our ordinary lives are just…ordinary? This talk was given Sunday, August 19.
Why do we feel different when we are alone? The self alone changes when it meets others. Is one self more authentic than the other? How do we resolve the tension between solitude and relationship? We will consider the ways that we protect ourselves around other people as well as the ways we fall into… Read more »
What is the role of study in Zen? We have inherited a tradition “without dependence on words and letters,” and yet books and stories are key parts of our life of practice. How do we balance intellectual work and learning with a focus on meditation and daily activity? This talk was given Sunday, March 11.
How we engage in the tasks before us is both a spur for and a measure of our path. As we install a new shuso and enter a new term of practice, we consider what it means to work with the mind of practice. This talk was given Sunday, January 7.
In the ordination ceremony, we say, ‘I have changed my form, but kept my wish.’ What does this mean? We carry many wishes into our practice, and the innermost wish is revealed only over time. We each have a gift as well as a wish, and central to our practice is finding a way for… Read more »
The Sun Face Buddha lives for 1,800 years. The Moon Face Buddha lives for one day. But the length of the life is not what makes either a Buddha. This talk was given Sunday, August 27.
Memory is unpredictable. Certain events remain vivid; others fade away. Many of us will lose memories as we age. What is it in our practice that is remembered, no matter what? How do we retain wisdom even in forgetfulness? This talk was given Sunday, July 30.
What happens when Indra, King of the Gods, sees a line of ants marching across the floor? A little storytelling about Indra leads us to contemplation of how we all fit together in the big scheme of things. This talk was given Sunday, June 25.
When we begin to practice, we feel a sense of hope and promise. In time, this fades and we feel disappointment again. What does it mean to let go of our expectations and hopes, and really fall into this disappointment? How do we practice when our supports are taken away, one by one? This talk… Read more »
Our practice includes the big “yes” of acceptance and the big “no” of impermanence. Our daily lives also include yes and no, as we choose how to meet conditions. We are in a time of uncertainty, intense emotion and cultural confusion. Many people are wondering how best to respond to the political situation. How does… Read more »
Buddhist history is filled with stories of mystical and supernatural power. Dogen said mystical power “is the tea and meals of Buddhists.” What can this mean for our practice today? Are there such things as miracles? This talk was given Sunday, November 13.
People are sometimes surprised to learn that Buddhism has a long, rich history of confession and repentance. The flavor of this in Buddhism is quite different from what we may have experienced in other religious practices, but we still experience shame, self-hatred and regret as we face up to past mistakes. Dharma Rain will be… Read more »