Indian Texts

Centreing – The 112 Ways to Open the Invisible Door of Consciousness (Part I: 1-14)

This conversation between Shiva and his partner Devi is a teaching about self-knowledge that could be up to 5,000 years old. It features in a number of ancient Indian texts and has been rewritten countless times up until today. This version, taken from the collection, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, is a more recent English translation… Continue reading Centreing – The 112 Ways to Open the Invisible Door of Consciousness (Part I: 1-14)

Book Excerpts, Chinese Texts

Chuang Tzu: How To Find What You Already Know?

With great power also comes great responsibility, but not always great wisdom. Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu, whose writings form one of the pillars of Taosim, took a dim view of much of human activity and the accumulation of power and knowledge, recommending instead the cultivation of a kind of wisdom in tune with the Tao,… Continue reading Chuang Tzu: How To Find What You Already Know?

Book Excerpts

Les Kaye – In the Midst of Ordinary Life

How can we live well in the modern world? Is it necessary to retreat to a monastery or can we continue our spiritual practice in the midst of our family lives and careers? This is a theme that Les Kaye, the Abbot of Kannon Do Zen Center in California's tech hub Silicon Valley, explores in… Continue reading Les Kaye – In the Midst of Ordinary Life

Book Excerpts

Plum Blossoms Harmonize with Snow – Shundo Aoyama

Shundo Aoyama first entered a Zen temple at the age of 5, and became a priest at 15. She is one of the most well-known Zen masters in Japan and at 86 years old, she is still active in her teaching of the practice. Her book, Zen Seeds, is a collection of short reflections about… Continue reading Plum Blossoms Harmonize with Snow – Shundo Aoyama

Book Excerpts

House Builder, You Have Now Been Seen

Sherab Chödzin Kohn is a student of Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa, and lives in Boulder, Colorado. His book, The Awakened One, is a biography of the Buddha. This extract describes the key moment of Buddha's liberation when he 'saw through the very last trace of ignorance in himself' at the first light of dawn.… Continue reading House Builder, You Have Now Been Seen

Sutra Excerpts, Sutras

The Dhammapada: If One Knew Oneself to be Precious

Buddhist teachings put a lot of emphasis on compassion and caring for others, but we must also remember that that care needs to start with ourselves. This verse from the Dhammapada - one of the most popular and widely read Buddhist scriptures - reminds us that 'oneself is one's own protector. What other protector could there… Continue reading The Dhammapada: If One Knew Oneself to be Precious

Chinese Poetry, Poetry

Su Tung-P’o’s Rapt in Wine Against the Mountain Rains

Su Tung-P'o was a poet of the Song era who is also known as Su Shi, and who published under the name Dongpo Jushi. A prolific figure of his time, Su Tung-P'o was a statesman who was accomplished not only in literary terms, but also as a painter, calligrapher and cook. Influenced by his study… Continue reading Su Tung-P’o’s Rapt in Wine Against the Mountain Rains

Book Excerpts

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj on Being Universal and Family Life in the Modern World

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was one of the leading teachers of Advaita Vedanta - the Indian philosophy of non-dualism - during the 20th century. A humble shopkeeper from Bombay, Maharaj became popular with students and spiritual seekers from around the globe who were drawn to him for his deep sense of humanity and the clarity of… Continue reading Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj on Being Universal and Family Life in the Modern World

Book Excerpts

Norman Fischer’s Poetics Statement: On Meditation and Poetry

Norman Fischer is a Zen teacher and priest (formerly the Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center) as well as a poet and author. His most recent book, Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion, is a collection of essays about experimental writing as spiritual practice. This statement on meditation and poetry talks about how the two… Continue reading Norman Fischer’s Poetics Statement: On Meditation and Poetry

American Poetry, Poetry

Mary Oliver’s Morning Poem

Like the Zen poets of China and Japan, American poet Mary Oliver's work is deeply rooted in nature and her physical and ephemeral experience of the wilds that surround her. In Morning Poem, she communicates a deep optimism about the human condition; that even in the midst of heavy suffering, we can recognize a rightness… Continue reading Mary Oliver’s Morning Poem