Book Excerpts

Mitsu Suzuki on Teaching Tea Ceremony

Mitsu Suzuki was the wife of Shunryu Suzuki who accompanied him when he moved to the United States from Japan in the 1960s. After her husband passed away in 1971, Mitsu stayed on at San Francisco Zen Center where she taught tea ceremony and haiku poetry for another two decades. This excerpt is from a… Continue reading Mitsu Suzuki on Teaching Tea Ceremony

Book Excerpts

Just Take One Step – Dainin Katagiri

Dainin Katagiri came to the United States in 1963, originally to help out at the Zenshuji mission in Los Angeles, before moving up to San Francisco to work with the Sokoji mission there as well as the San Francisco Zen Center. He eventually established his own center for practice in Minnesota. In this extract from… Continue reading Just Take One Step – Dainin Katagiri

Book Excerpts

DT Suzuki on Eckhart, God’s Love and Prajña

DT Suzuki was a Japanese philosopher whose work helped to introduce Zen and Buddhism to the West in the time before it became a popular practice outside of Asia. One of Suzuki's enduring interests as far as Western spiritual philosophy was concerned were the writings of Christian mystic Meister Eckhart. He frequently referred to Eckhart… Continue reading DT Suzuki on Eckhart, God’s Love and Prajña

Book Excerpts

Be Like One Moment is Ten Thousand Years

Kodo Sawaki's reluctance to ever fully associate himself with a temple or a Zen institution earned him the nickname, 'The Homeless Kodo'. He was considered one of the most important figures of Japanese Zen in the 20th century for his direct approach to teaching across all social levels. The book, Teachings of the Homeless Kodo, was… Continue reading Be Like One Moment is Ten Thousand Years

Book Excerpts, Chinese Poetry, Japanese Poetry, Poetry

Snow Makes a Mountain

In addition to the volumes of essays and lectures on Zen and Zen practice, Dogen also expressed himself and his teachings through poetry. This particular verse, which reflects on a moment of realization in which the poet's mind underwent a profound perceptive shift, is written in a Chinese style. The translation is Philip Whalen and… Continue reading Snow Makes a Mountain

Book Excerpts

Pulling Out the Rug – John Daido Loori on the Barrier Gate

Zen legend often brings up stories of students who have to work hard to be accepted into temples, and of masters who put potential candidates to rigorous tests. The most famous example is that of Bodhidharma and his disciple Huik'e, who stood in the snow for three days and even cut off his own arm… Continue reading Pulling Out the Rug – John Daido Loori on the Barrier Gate

Book Excerpts

Taisen Deshimaru on Becoming Truly Free

Taisen Deshimaru was a student of Kodo Sawaki who traveled to France to teach in the 1960s. In Paris he set up the headquarters of the Association Zen Internationale and roused a large following. In this excerpt from a book of his teachings compiled by his student Philippe Coupey called Zen and Karma. In it,… Continue reading Taisen Deshimaru on Becoming Truly Free

Book Excerpts

Not Their Kind of Prey – Thomas Merton

"Do you approach the study of Zen with the idea that there is something to be gained by it?" is the cautionary question posed by Thomas Merton in an author's note featured at the beginning of his book, Zen and the Birds of Appetite. The passage is a short and succinct warning, directed at readers and… Continue reading Not Their Kind of Prey – Thomas Merton

Chinese Poetry, Poetry, Zen Stories

It Now is Me, I am Not It – Dongshan

Attributed to Master Dongshan, the 9th century founder of the Caodong (Soto) School, this short verse stands in contrast to his longer and more famous teaching verse, The Hokyo Zanmai or The Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi. After spending some time with Master Yunyan, Dongshan was preparing to leave. He asked the master how… Continue reading It Now is Me, I am Not It – Dongshan

Author Q&A

Author Q&A – Ben Connelly

Ben Connelly is a Zen teacher at the Minnesota Zen Center as well as the author of several books including 'Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara' and 'Inside the Grass Hut'. His latest book, 'Mindfulness and Intimacy' looks at the importance of cultivating intimacy with ourselves and the world within our mindfulness practice. In an exciting new section… Continue reading Author Q&A – Ben Connelly