Fire Below, Fire Above

As we investigate the shamanic influences on Chan-Zen, this week we read the Book of Changes (Yi Jing), a book of divination. It is the oldest of the ancient Chinese wisdom texts, predating Confucius and Laozi by a millennium, and Buddhism by even longer. Yet it has garnered commentary from all. For many centuries the Yi Jing hexagrams have described the “inner dynamics of both spiritual life and social life” and is a “basic guide for conscious living,” writes translator Thomas Cleary.

Beauty After the Burn

Despite the intense and unprecedented wildfires, life continues in the aftermath. What have we taken from the ground? What has the ground taken from us?

The Old Ways

Deepest ecology, shamanic sources, mystic roots: Chan-Zen has all of these. We will explore these topics in anticipation of an upcoming visit by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel.

Hello, Monkey!

The story of the Monkey King, first told 500 years ago in the Chinese classic, Journey to the West, is of course, our story. Obscured by clouds, whereabouts unknown, we set off on a journey to taste immortality; or if not, to at least better understand our own lives.

A Primer for Forgetting: A Visit with Lewis Hyde

Born into this life, those who seek to recover their lost wisdom need to find a teacher whose task is not to directly teach ideals but rather to remind the student of what the soul already knows.

(Lewis Hyde)

The Trickster’s Gift: The Work of Lewis Hyde

The point of the trickster is to get trade going, to get liveliness and flow going … the coyote loves to steal things, likes bright things, but there is a playfulness about it. It is about play … about keeping the cosmos alive and lively.

(Lewis Hyde)

Something Good: A Passionate Teacher Remembered

This morning we completed our winter sesshin, and it is said that while in retreat every possible emotion will show itself over the course of those six or seven days. That the heart-mind naturally comes forth in all its variations is the very basis of our inquiry work.

The Zen Legacy of Koun Yamada: A Visit with Ruben Habito

What is the legacy of any teacher? A pebble dropped in a pond, and rings ripple outward through the universe. A flower twirled in the hand, and a knowing is shared beyond words, infinitely from one generation to the next. 

The Legacy of Koun Yamada (Part 3) ~ Zen Is Not Buddhist

Yamada did not see kensho as a strictly Buddhist awakening, and welcomed dozens of Christian clerics who came to study with him. He saw Zen as a practice that could be embraced by people of any faith.

The Legacy of Koun Yamada (Part 2) ~ Practice Another 30 Years

As much as he stressed kensho, Yamada urged the long practice of integrating awakening into our lives. This process, even for those with decades of experience, is endless.