Dogen, Japanese Texts, Texts

Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

The Jijuyu Zanmai is the second section of the first part of Dogen's Bendowa - 'The Endeavor of the Way' and concerns the experience of zazen itself. The whole text of the Bendowa is held in high esteem as being Dogen's best and most comprehensible explanation of his understanding of Zen and the Dharma. There are… Continue reading Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi

American Poetry, Poetry

Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

"Poetry itself is an instrument of resilience," Jane Hirshfield wrote more than a decade ago when referring to her poem 'Optimism' for the Washington Post. Poetry, she continues, reflects "life's continuing embrace of its own implausible, risky existence." A residential Zen student of many years, Jane Hirshfield's work embodies a continuing sense of wonder and… Continue reading Jane Hirshfield’s Ode to Optimism and Resilience

Book Excerpts

Being Intimate with the Essence of the Teacher’s Practice

This biographical snippet, taken from the introduction of Tenshin Reb Anderson's book Being Upright, tells a bit of the story of how he met his teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, and what the first days of their teacher-student relationship were like. Anderson says of the drive he had to be near his teacher, "I would make myself… Continue reading Being Intimate with the Essence of the Teacher’s Practice

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