Audio Archive

A complete list of all RZC digitized teisho and Dharma talks, from 2007 to the present, including all podcast episodes.

2023

“Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2023, Day 4. Commentary on “Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering” by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Paul Breiter) Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

“Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2023, Day 3. Commentary on “Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering” by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Paul Breiter) Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

“Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2023, Day 2. Commentary on “Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering” by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Paul Breiter) Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

“Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2023, Day 1. Commentary on “Everything Arises, Everything Falls Away: Teachings on Impermanence and the End of Suffering” by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Paul Breiter). Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

2022

Hekiganroku #86, Ummon’s “Everybody has their own light”

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 6. Description: What is my light? Why can’t I see it? How do I stop objectifying myself and those around me? Source(s): The Golden Age of Zen by John C.H. Wu, Doubleday 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

The Teachings of Maurine Stuart-roshi 5

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 5. Description: Zen practice is experiential — we each have to find our way to the truth, giving up our egoistic striving. Source(s): Subtle Sound by Roko Sherry Chayat, Shambhala 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

The Teachings of Maurine Stuart-roshi 4

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 4. Description: Pride in our good deeds reinforces our sense of self-importance, and therefore works at cross-purposes to our efforts to free ourselves from the delusion of separation. Source(s): Subtle Sound by Roko Sherry Chayat, Shambhala 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

The Teachings of Maurine Stuart-roshi 3

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 3. Description: A master once said, “The taste of Zen is pain in the knees.” How do we work creatively with pain and weariness in these early days of sesshin? Source(s): Subtle Sound by Roko Sherry Chayat, Shambhala 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

The Teachings of Maurine Stuart-roshi 2

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 2. Description: Practising right where we are. Source(s): Meetings with Remarkable Women by Lenore Friedman, Shambhala 1987; Subtle Sound by Roko Sherry Chayat, Shambhala 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

The Teachings of Maurine Stuart-roshi 1

Sesshin: November 2022, Day 1. Description: Biographical material Source(s): Meetings with Remarkable Women by Lenore Friedman, Shambhala 1987; Subtle Sound by Roko Sherry Chayat, Shambhala 1996. Teisho by Roshi Amala Wrightson. Automated Transcript

Zen Destruction and Aspiration

How Zen practice deconstructs the self while the Dharma nourishes the Self, with a commentary on the koan “Linji’s Blind Donkey”. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

Zen Teacher Authorization

A look at the sanctioning next month of Donna Kowal and at my stepping aside, featuring Case 40 in the Mumonkan, “Kicking Over the Water Bottle.” Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Transcript

OK with Things as They Are

By trying to wall off the inevitable pain we encounter, we make it hurt more and last longer. Acceptance and practice show us another way. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Teisho by Roshi Kapleau: Hekiganroku #38, “Fuketsu and the Dharma Seal”

Sesshin: December 1979, Day 7. Played on Founder’s Day – August 14, 2022. Teisho by Roshi Philip Kapleau. Automated Transcript

Seeing Into Space, Seeing Into Mind

The images revealed by the Webb Telescope will vastly extend our knowledge. Wisdom, however, grows from looking inward. Who is seeing that projection of the mind we call the universe? Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

Zen Buddhism–Religion, or Not?

The book Buddhism, by Smith and Novak, identifies six aspects of religion. How many fit with Zen? Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

Faith

Faith is the anchor of Zen practice, but faith in what? Not a person, not a thing. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

The First Precept: Not to Kill

A look at the first of the Ten Cardinal Precepts, particularly with respect to the Buffalo mass shooting, abortion, and self-immolation. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

Coming to the Path Talk By Desiree Jaeger-Fine

A Rochester Zen Center staff member gives her account of coming to the Dharma and to the Center. Coming to the Path Talk by Desiree Jaeger-Fine. Automated Transcript

Being Sangha

On taking refuge in Sangha (Community). Dharma Talk by Sensei Donna Kowal. Automated Transcript

Coming to the Path Talk by Jeanette Prince-Cherry

The leader of the Louisville Zen Center and a Rochester Zen Center staff member, gives her account of coming to the Dharma and to the Center. Coming to the Path Talk by Jeanette Prince-Cherry. Transcript

Ups and Downs of Practice

Cultivating openness and awareness in the face of habit energies that pull us in the other direction. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Transcript

Russia Invades Ukraine

With Russia’s invasion the world has changed. Facing up to uncertainty and suffering. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Zen and the Body (Part 2)

Working with the body and attitudes towards the body in Zen practice. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Zen and the Body (Part 1)

Body awareness as a key to Zen practice. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Restlessness

The compulsive and unsettled tenor of modern life was diagnosed well over 300 years ago by the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, who wrote, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui

Sesshin: January 2022, Day 7. On Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui, (trans. by J.C.Cleary). Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui

Sesshin: January 2022, Day 6. On Swampland Flowers: The Letters and Lectures of Zen Master Ta Hui, (trans. by J.C.Cleary). Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

“Being Dharma” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2022, Day 5. On Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha’s Teachings by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Peter Breiter). Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

“Being Dharma” by Ajahn Chah

Sesshin: January 2022, Day 4. On Being Dharma: The Essence of the Buddha’s Teachings by Ajahn Chah (trans. by Peter Breiter). Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

2021

Faith, Doubt, Determination

The three essentials of Zen practice. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Transcript

CoronaCast: December 18

Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede’s latest podcast episode: a blur of change. Automated transcript

Zen Practice and the Thinking Mind

Replacing grasping and aversion with awareness. A teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated transcript.

A Look at the Precepts

Morality as the first of the three foundations of Zen practice. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Razor-Wire Dharma: A Buddhist Life in Prison

A Dharma Talk by Eryl Kubicka on Calvin Malone’s Razor-Wire Dharma: A Buddhist Life in Prison. Automated transcript

The Spirit of Practice

Examining helpful (and not so helpful) ways of approaching Zen practice. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Transcript

Letting Go of Fear-Based Strategies

Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. To one degree or another, we allow habitual reactions to pain and anxiety to limit our lives. Zen practice shows us another way. Automated transcript

Recognizing the Inevitable

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Like individuals, all nations and worlds pass. By fully facing this, with daily practice we can breathe life and even joy into our lives. Automated transcript

CoronaCast: August 6

Roshi’s latest podcast: Deja Vu – Adapting to the COVID variants. Automated transcript

Untangling the Knots, Engaging with the Practice

Dharma talk by Donna Kowal on working with habit forces and boredom. Commentary on excerpts from Ordinary Wonder: Zen Life and Practice by Charlotte Joko Beck, edited by Brenda Beck Hess (Shambhala, 2021). Automated transcript Dharma Talk by Sensei Donna Kowal.

Ordinary Mind is the Way, Case 19 in the Mumonkan

Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Looking for Truth in all the wrong places.   Automated Transcript  

Juneteenth and the Work of Ultimate Liberation

We can celebrate the 1865 Emancipation while acknowledging the enduring shackles of systemic racism and those of our own afflictions.   Automated Transcript  

June 2021 Sesshin, Day 4: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois

Teisho by Amala-sensei. Arrival, loss and return — the universe changes on its axis, but how to share this amazing experience with others? Searching for a context for 20 years and finally finding one.   Automated Transcript  

June 2021 Sesshin, Day 3: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois

Teisho by Amala-sensei. A turning point — no need to look further than the mind itself.   Automated Transcript  

June 2021 Sesshin, Day 2: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois

Teisho by Sensei Amala Wrightson. Flora Courtois’ search for Reality, or the ground of being. Text: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois. Quest Books, 1986.   Automated Transcript  

June 2021 Sesshin, Day 1: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois

Teisho by Amala-sensei. Introduction to the text by Yasutani-roshi Text: An Experience of Enlightenment by Flora Courtois. Quest Books, 1986.   Automated Transcript  

No Teachers, No Students, Nothing To Be Taught

A look at the teacher-student relationship generally, with a focus on the implications of it at the RZC now that Roshi and John Pulleyn-sensei will both be giving dokusan and formally accepting students. Automated Transcript

CoronaCast: May 11

Roshi’s weekly podcast: Languishing and Ambivalence

“The Third Turning of the Wheel: A Conversation with Joanna Macy”

Sesshin: May 2021, Day 2. Dharma talk by Donna Kowal. Reading and commentary on excerpts from an interview with Joanna Macy that explores the Buddha’s teaching of dependent co-arising, nothing exists apart from anything else. (Source: Dharma Rain, edited by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft, Shambhala Publications, 2000) Dharma Talk by Sensei Donna Kowal. Automated Transcript

“World as Lover, World as Self” by Joanna Macy

Sesshin: May 2021, Day 1. Dharma talk by Donna Kowal. Reading and commentary on excerpts from Chapter One. Dharma Talk by Sensei Donna Kowal. Automated Transcript

The Illusion of Human Identity

The Heart Sutra (Prajna Paramita) reminds us that none of the five skandhas (constituents of personhood) have any substantiality to them. To cling to any imagined identity, then, is to invite suffering.

CoronaCast: April 12

Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede’s weekly podcast. Come On In–the Water’s Fine!

Be Still

Dharma talk by John Pulleyn. Letting go of thoughts on the mat and in our lives. Automated Transcript

CoronaCast: March 12

Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede’s weekly podcast. Trust the Process – Lengthening Days and Zen Practice: Taking the Long View

Think Neither Good Nor Evil, Case 23 in the Mumonkan

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede: A look at original vs. actualized enlightenment, Dharma transmission, aspiration, and our True Self as the “Face” behind the mask. Automated Transcript

February/March 2021 Sesshin, Day 3: Catching a Feather on a Fan

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn. Source Quoted Catching a Feather on a Fan: A Zen Retreat With Master Sheng Yen. Edited by by John Crook. Element Books Ltd, 1991. Automated Transcript

February/March 2021 Sesshin, Day 2: Catching a Feather on a Fan

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn on Catching a Feather on a Fan: A Zen Retreat With Master Sheng Yen. Automated Transcript

February/March 2021 Sesshin, Day 1: Catching a Feather on a Fan

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn on Catching a Feather on a Fan: A Zen Retreat With Master Sheng Yen. Automated Transcript

Embracing Nothingness–But In What Way?

Digital overstimulation and now the pandemic has generated a culture of negation, withdrawal, and numbness. But there’s a better way to retreat, every day, from overwhelming circumstances, while engaging with the world. Transcript

Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Miscellaneous reflections on love, seen through the lens of Dharma. Source Referenced Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart. Jack Kornfield and Christina Feldman. HarperOne, 1996. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

CoronaCast: February 10

Roshi’s weekly podcast: Integrating Two of the Buddhist Paramitas in Getting Scheduled for a Vaccination Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

The Long Game: Persistence and Working With a Teacher

Sources Referenced: Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers: The Story of Success. Little, Brown and Company, 2008. Norman Fischer. Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up. HarperOne, 2004. Jeffrey R. Young. “Researcher Behind ‘10,000-Hour Rule’ Says Good Teaching Matters, Not Just Practice.” EdSurge, May 5, 2020. “Unconditionally Steadfast.” Tricycle interview with Pema Chödrön. Fall 1999. Dharma Talk by Trueman Taylor. Automated Transcript

Sangha Sculpting Sangha

A look at what the Buddhist Sangha, or community, meant in Asia, how it has changed since coming to Western countries, and what it might become for the Rochester Zen Center. Sources Quoted: Stephen Batchelor. “Creating Sangha.” Tricycle, Winter, 1995.  Thich Nhat Hanh. “The Fertile Soil of Sangha.” Tricycle, Summer, 2008. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

CoronaCast: January 22

Roshi’s weeky podcast: New Government as Rebirth Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 6: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction), The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin (both translated by Norman Waddell) and The Zen Master Hakuin is translated by Philip Yampolsky. Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 5: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction) and The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin. Both translated by Norman Waddell. Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 4: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction) and The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin. Both translated by Norman Waddell. Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 3: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction) and The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin. Both translated by Norman Waddell. Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 2: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction) and The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin. Both translated by Norman Waddell. Automated transcript

January 2021 Online Sesshin, Day 1: Teachings and Life of Zen Master Hakuin

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Readings from Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin (mostly the Introduction) and The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin. Both translated by Norman Waddell. Automated transcript

National Crisis, National Opportunity

Atlantic writer George Packer sees the new year as a “plastic hour,” a rare chance for the U.S. to transform sickness and dysfunction into renewal. This mirrors the catalytic potential of personal dis-ease to lead us to spiritual practice. Automated transcript

2020

Working with an Untrustworthy Brain

Dharma talk by John Pulleyn. A look at a neuroscientist’s explanation of how our brain creates the hallucination we take for reality and a modern day Stoic’s approach to the fix that puts us in.

Pandemic Time Melting and Freezing

2020 put many of us in a time warp that will run well into 2021. What’s going on, really? And how does daily Zen practice help us ride the waves?

CoronaCast: Second Verse, Same As the First

A look back at the waves–and people’s reactions to them–in the last pandemic, so remarkably similar to today.

Jukai–the Ceremony of Taking the Precepts

A look at the several elements of the ceremony. The ten cardinal precepts are examined in the context of the “five trials” of 2020: the pandemic; its financial consequences; the intensifying effects of climate change; the clearer revelation of systemic racism and its ongoing wounds; and the alarming rise of political divisiveness. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede.

Presidents and the Flux of Character

Biden and Trump are dramatically different in character, but they have in common, with us, the True Self that is No-self. And all of us are continuously evolving and devolving through the world of samsara.

Change, and Thus Hope

Looking at the intersecting national crises of 2020 as an opportunity for us to evolve, reading from a July column by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Even If the World Is Ending, So What?

The situation in the U.S. and around the world may be more bleak than ever. But consider: as individuals we manage to carry on with the very bleakest of futures: our own certain death. Rather than dwelling on future catastrophes, practice calls for us always to be fully responsive to the present. That is the…

The Happiness Trap

Dharma talk by John Pulleyn: Looking at ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) as presented by Russ Harris in his book, The Happiness Trap, and how it fits with Zen practice.

CoronaCast: August 27

Roshi’s weekly podcast: “Depression Compared and Contrasted with Boredom.”

Thrivers’ Guilt

In the midst of massive suffering from the pandemic, many people, due to their circumstances, are experiencing unexpected personal contentment (and sometimes guilt as a result). How do we come to terms with this paradox–and move through in service to our bodhisattva vows?

CoronaCast: August 19

Roshi’s weekly podcast: “Pandemic Ruin and Renaissance.”

Teisho by Roshi Kapleau: Mumonkan #3 “Gutei’s Finger”

Sesshin: October 1976, Day 4. Played on Founder’s Day – August 16, 2020. Teisho by Roshi Philip Kapleau.

CoronaCast: August 12

Roshi’s weekly podcast: “Grit, competence, and zazen.”

Considering White Privilege

Whatever adversities we white people have suffered in our lives, structural racism isn’t one, and in that sense, at least, we’ve been privileged. We might deny having that advantage, or distance from it, but we can use our opportunities to join with others to begin dismantling systemic racism.

CoronaCast: August 5

In Amala-sensei’s online sesshin last week, most participants had to negotiate some accommodation to the schedule of others they live with, and now have been negotiating the transition back to full-on household life. Roshi addresses both of these challenges in this week’s coronacast.

July 2020 Online Sesshin, Day 4, Amala-sensei: Master Hongzhi’s Cultivating the Empty Field

“With total trust, roam and play in samadhi”. Main Text: Cultivating the Empty Field, The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi by Taigen Daniel Leighton with Yi Wu, North Point Press San Francisco 1991

July 2020 Online Sesshin, Day 3, Amala-sensei: Master Hongzhi’s Cultivating the Empty Field

“You must be broadminded, whole, without relying on others.” Main Text: Cultivating the Empty Field, The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi by Taigen Daniel Leighton with Yi Wu, North Point Press San Francisco 1991

July 2020 Online Sesshin, Day 2, Amala-sensei: Master Hongzhi’s Cultivating the Empty Field

The bright, boundless field — what is it? “Degrading situations” and how to avoid pursuing them. Main Text: Cultivating the Empty Field, The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi by Taigen Daniel Leighton with Yi Wu, North Point Press San Francisco 1991

July 2020 Online Sesshin, Day 1, Amala-sensei: Master Hongzhi’s Cultivating the Empty Field

The life of Master Hongzhi Main Text: Cultivating the Empty Field, The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi by Taigen Daniel Leighton with Yi Wu, North Point Press San Francisco 1991

The Zen Teaching of Hui Hai

A treatise on enlightenment and practice by the Tang dynasty Chan master, a disciple of the great Ma Tsu.

East-West Cultural Contrasts and the Pandemic

The U.S. is faring much worse with the coronavirus than the East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, where people also are much more agreeable to wearing face masks. These differences may be seen in the context of the broad historical contrasts drawn in Richard Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought, which presents cultural-psychological studies showing the…

Working with Impatience

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn: Learning patience in the face of our unwillingness to be with things as they are.

The Life and Teaching of Peace Pilgrim

After dedicating herself to social service for five years, the woman who would later identify herself only as Peace Pilgrim had a spontaneous awakening while walking in the woods. Then she spent the next twenty-eight years walking across the country alone, sharing her commitment to inner and world peace.

Is There More to All This Than Meets the Eye?

The pandemic and its massive economic consequences, when laid atop accelerating climate change, presents a perfect storm of suffering. But with the understanding that there is an Intelligence behind it all, we must be seeing corrective forces underway, a re-balancing at work. How might future generations look back and see these tumultuous times?

100,000 Deaths and Our Cities in Flames

The pandemic shoved the unsurpassable threat of climate change out of the news, and now the outbreak of demonstrations in cities all over the country has seized our attention. Today we memorialize 100,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths with the traditional Buddhist memorial prayer, but also acknowledge the deadly virus of systemic racism and oppression of African-Americans…

Pandemics: A High-Altitude View

An overview of history’s most devastating pandemics, and a look at the timelessness of Camus’ The Plague.

The Zero Point Turned Inside-Out

There is just this, here, now. That is our freedom. Yet we can live it while acknowledging our interdependence with others, being grateful to those before us and around us while also responsible for those after us.

Giving Up to Live Fully

How much might the fear of losing oneself–of not being–drive our longing to leave home even during a pandemic? The denial of death and the craving for life: two sides of one coin. (Contributions from Brother David Steindl-Rast and Steven Levine.)

Following a Schedule During Quarantine

Dharma talk by Trueman Taylor: Advice from an astronaut and others on maintaining a consistent schedule. Also: excerpts and comments from Roshi Robert Aitken’s book Encouraging Words.

Outrage and the Pandemic

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn: Staying in touch with our shared humanity rather than indulging in outrage and separation.

Affluenza

After the U.S.’s decades of affluenza (“a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more”), to what extent might our experience of the coronavirus and isolation inoculate us from its resurgence?

Blue Cliff Record #87: “Medicine and Sickness Correspond to Each Other”

Instead of engaging the coronavirus simply on a “war” footing, can we see ways in which it is educating us–right now? A pandemic reveals the consequences of our misuses of the natural world and the dis-ease we incur through the illusion of separation.

CoronaCast from Roshi: April 9

As the pandemic and social isolation stretch on, Roshi speaks again to the Sangha from his kitchen table.

Covid Solitude, Dislocation, and Dis-illusionment

In his 2010 book The Active Life, acclaimed educator Parker Palmer cites three opportunities for painful growth that any of us are likely to face during our life: disillusionment, dislocation, and unbidden solitude. Zen practice enhances our ability to navigate through these three portals and to adapt to the coronavirus aftershocks that will change our…

CoronaCast from Roshi: March 26

As the pandemic ramps up, with isolation in place, Roshi speaks to the Sangha from his kitchen table.

Impermanence and the Virus

The current crisis can help us develop a more immediate awareness of the Buddha’s fundamental teaching and encourage us to find our refuge in opening to life as it is.  – Dharma talk by John Pulleyn

Human Contradictions Exposed by the Pandemic

Covid-19 is highlighting human contradictions: the dilemma of social distancing vs. social solidarity, as well as the tension between our ignoble reactions (e.g., panic hoarding) and our noble responses (generous helpfulness). Our True Self is neither of these alone.

Preparing Ourselves for the Coronovirus for the Sake of Others

A Mahayana take: it’s not just about “me” and “my.” Also, some words about worry, stress, and anxiety.

Solitude Misused: So Near, Yet So Far Away

The amazing case of the 21st-century “Hermit of Maine (The Stranger in the Woods, by Michael Finkel),” whose 27 years of complete seclusion, in which he survived through burglaries, is not remotely like the solitary meditation of practitioners in Zen and other traditions.

Coming to the Path Talk by Dené Redding

A Sunday talk about coming to the Dharma and to the Center. Coming to the Path Talk by Dené Redding.

The Dharma of Driving

Everyday driving as a practice field for mindfulness and a test of non-reactivity and other Buddhist values.

Twenty-eight Benefits of Meditation

Teisho by Bodhin Kjolhede. From a 1st-century Buddhist text. Unedited transcript Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Automated Transcript

2019

Nuturing Self-control Through the Social Emotions

A presentation of studies suggesting that gratitude, compassion, and decent pride are features of morality that foster self-control and perseverance more than do will-power and grit.

Out With the Old, In With–What?

Stepping back to look at the massive national and global changes we’re living through. All bets are off, yet we have Zen practice to help us ride the process and transform crisis into opportunity.

Jukai and the Internet

An overview of today’s ceremony of Receiving the Precepts, with a look at how the Internet adds further challenges in upholding the Ten Cardinal Precepts.

The Buddhist Precepts in the Context of Environmentalism

With our annual ceremony of Receiving the Precepts (Jukai) coming up, here Roshi applies those precepts to the growing threat of climate change and how we might reduce the harm we are inevitably causing to the environment. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede.

Philip Kapleau: Planting Seeds While Trailing Vines

A report on the Duke University conference celebrating the installation of Roshi Kapleau’s archives. Roshi Kjolhede focuses on the unique challenges Kapleau faced — and we continue to face — in adapting Zen to the West. His archives can be found at the Duke University Libraries’ Philip Kapleau papers, 1952-2009 and undated. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede.

Zazen As Pure Science Experiment

The dichotomy of science and religion, empiricism and direct experience, falls apart in the practice of Zen. Curiosity, wonder, investigation–these are the essentials of both science and the mystical spiritual traditions such as Zen.

What If Global Warming Is Irreversible?

If it is, how would that change our behavior? Each one of us will die someday anyway, so how do we work with that? Jonathan Franzen presents the worst-case scenario, but then there are other points of view.

Teisho by Roshi Kapleau: Mumonkan #8 “Keichu’s Cart”

Sesshin: November 1976, Day 5. Played on Founder’s Day – August, 18, 2019. Teisho by Roshi Philip Kapleau.

Global Buddhism: A Display of Emptiness

Based on a 2017 Tricycle article by Kurt Spellmeyer: “Globalism 3.0: The Secret to World Harmony Isn’t Oneness. It’s multiplicity.”

Zendo Air Conditioning and Won Buddhism

First Half: Our recent efforts to cool the zendo in sweltering weather. Second Half: Won Buddhism, a Korean strain of the Dharma.

The Blindness of Other-ist Views

Conceptualizing people of conflicting political views or of different race, ethnicity, or gender as “other” leads us to more easily react with hostility to what they say, especially in the anonymous and reckless world of social media. Based on the age-old Buddhist warning about the harm arising from attachment to views and opinions, Zen practice,…

Practice and Faith Nourishing Each Other

In Zen, faith grows through practice experience, even as faith sustains practice. They co-evolve continuously, sustaining each other. This is Hakuin’s “oneness of cause and effect,” out of which awakening can emerge.

Coming to the Path Talk by Sudama Ngo

Sudama, an ordained priest at the Center,  gave this account of coming to the Dharma and coming to the Center. For more of her story, see these two Zen Bow articles: https://www.rzc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Just-Money-Luna-Ngo.pdf https://www.rzc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Commitment-the-Gift-of-Pain-Sudama-Ngo.pdf Coming to the Path Talk by Sudama Ngo.

Dharma talk by Eryl Kubicka, “Responding and Resilience in Parenting”

Based on a New York Times  article “Which is Better; Rewards or Punishments? Neither” by Heather Turgeon. It describes a middle way of engaging with children, essentially based on responding out of our true nature and intuition without getting stuck in preconceptions. Link to the NYT article. Link to video featuring Anna Breytenbach, “animal communicator.”

Conspiracy Theories: Why Believe Them?

Recently we’ve seen conspiracy theories gaining wider currency in our country, which is just the latest surge in a long history of such theories. What spawns such ideas, and why do so many people believe in even the most far-fetched ones?

Where Christ and Bodhidharma Meet

An Easter Sunday look at apophatic theology, the Christian view of God as essentially unknowable or ineffable, which also insists that human language is inadequate to describe God. This insight overlaps with Zen and the famous words of its Founder: “I don’t know.”

Friendship: A Remedy for Cultural Disruption and Loneliness

Those who perpetrate mass shootings such as the one in New Zealand last week are often “loners.” But more people than ever in our country and elsewhere, while more “connected” than ever via social media, suffer from social isolation, which in turn can breed fear and distrust. Cultivating adult friends can help.

The Value of Getting Lost

Losing our bearings in the world, either literally or figuratively, can provoke anxiety, but it also opens us to new vistas. Zazen at its best draws us into this state of wonder-ing, where we have the promise of losing our self and finding true freedom.

Dharma Talk by John Pulleyn: “Why Buddhism Is True”

Commentary on the book, Why Buddhism Is True by Robert Wright – a look at Buddhism from the standpoint of evolutionary psychology.

Secular Creeds as Substitutes for Religion

In his article “America’s New Religions,” Andrew Sullivan argues that all of us–conservatives, liberals, and even atheists–have our “religions”: belief systems, ideologies, or tribal affiliations that we “worship” beyond reason because they give meaning to our lives. The deities of secular faith may be scientism, progress, self-improvement, social justice ideology, or reason itself. Other gods…

2018

The Zen Poetry of Ryokan

Ryokan was an eccentric 18th-century enlightened Zen  hermit-monk who is still beloved in Japan for his poetry. In this collection of his verses, One Robe, One Bowl, he captures both the beauty and pathos of human life, and like his younger contemporary Thoreau, the wonders of nature.

Mumonkan #32, “A Non-Buddhist Questions the Buddha”

A non-Buddhist comes to awakening before the Buddha, sitting in silence, while his longtime disciple Ananda, standing in attendance, remains dumbfounded. How notions of identity can bind us. Who awakens? No one!

Jukai, Buddhist (Non-)Identity, and the Power of Vows

The ceremony of Jukai (Taking the Precepts) is basically an initiation into the Dharma. To be a Buddhist is to commit to aligning oneself with what is real–direct experience, not thoughts. It is to see things as they are in order to be with things as they are. Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede.

Miaozong’s Dharma Encounter, Amala-sensei

Throughout much of history women’s bodies have been viewed as impure and dangerous by prevailing androcentric cultures, west and east, and unfortunately there still are many examples of this attitude in Buddhism today. In this story from the Song Dynasty, Miaozong, a Dharma heir of Dahui, courageously gives a lively demonstration of the true nature…

Caring, Engaging, Voting

The minimal response we can offer our descendants, who are under more threats than ever, is to vote. This is a contemporary way to “enter the marketplace with helping hands,” the ultimate stage of Dharma practice.

October 2018 Sesshin, Day 7, Amala-sensei: Satsujo Overcomes Hakuin

”Before the tongue has moved the teaching has finished” — but take care — short of full awakening there is still work to do.

Blue Cliff Record #55, “Dogo’s ‘I Won’t Say'”

The relative nature of the terms “living” and “dead,” and how one monk’s struggle with them led him to enlightenment.

Integrating Life and Practice: Women’s Voices – Eryl Kubicka

A Dharma talk by Eryl Kubicka on the second day of the September 2018 two-day sesshin.

Teisho by Roshi Kapleau: Mumonkan #36 “Goso’s ‘No Words or Silence'”

Sesshin: June 1975, Day 7. Played on Founder’s Day, August 19, 2018. Teisho by Roshi Philip Kapleau.

Our Marvelous Microbiome: A Web of Mutual Causation

How our concepts of individual self-identity and linear causality are being dissolved by the wondrous workings of our gut microbes. Readings from I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong.

July/August 2018 Sesshin, Day 7: Shoyoroku #13, “Linji’s ‘Blind Donkey'”

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede from the July/August 2018 sesshin. Commentary on a koan from The Book of Serenity.

July/August 2018 Sesshin, Day 6: Blue Cliff Record #18, “The National Teacher’s Seamless Monument”

Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede from the July/August 2018 sesshin. Commentary on a koan from the Blue Cliff Record.

The Latest Scandal in American Buddhism

A look at the sexual misconduct, widely disclosed this month, of the head of Shambhala International, one of the major Tibetan Buddhist lineages, and the fallout in that Sangha.

2017

Jul 23, 2017

Empathy and Power

2016

Jan 24, 2016

Secular Buddhism

2015

2014

Apr 13, 2014

Breath Practice

Mar 26, 2014

Mar