Talks that center on the basics of Zen practice

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Work Practice

How to engage your practice in the midst of activity, whether it involves manual work or intellectually-demanding tasks. Resources: Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks by Gary Thorp (Walker Books, 2000).  “The Value of ‘Deep Work’ in an Age of Distraction,” Hidden Brain podcast featuring Cal Newport (July 25, 2017). Teisho by Sensei Dhara Kowal. Automated Transcript

Boredom

Our eagerness to cut short whatever feels tedious by chasing after distractions and excitement comes to diminish our lives. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Practice Off the Mat

Zen practice has the potential to change our lives for the better. So what are we doing when we’re not facing a wall?  (See also the teisho Stop Fixing Yourself.) Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. 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

Twenty-eight Benefits of Meditation

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

More Basics for Zen Practice

Establishing and Sustaining Zen Practice

Practice and our lives are not two. Insight comes when the thinking mind falls silent. Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn. Automated Transcript

Working With Obstructions in Our Zazen

September 2023 Sesshin, Day 2
Reading from Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. Dharma Talk by Ven. Trueman Taylor. Automated Transcript

Meditation: Why Bother?

September 2023 Sesshin, Day 1
Meditation: Why Bother? Developing the Right Attitude. Reading from Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana. Dharma Talk by Ven. Trueman Taylor. Automated Transcript

Taking the Precepts: An Introduction

How do we embody the Precepts in our everyday lives? An overview of morality in Zen and the RZC’s Taking the Precepts Ceremony. Teisho by Sensei Donna Kowal. Automated Transcript

Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft: Finding the Sweet Spot in Practice

May 2023 Sesshin, Day 2
Question:  Should I try or should I not try? Do I apply effort in practice or do I surrender? Ought there be discipline or should it come naturally? Answer: Yes! Sources: Awakening to Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau; Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart by Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield. Dharma Talk by Ven. Jissai Prince-Cherry. Automated Transcript

Making the Most of Each Moment of Sesshin

May 2023 Sesshin, Day 1
How to make the most of chanting, talks, and personalized instruction during sesshin. Sharing the teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau, founder of Rochester Zen Center, on the 19th anniversary of his death. Source: Zen: Merging of East and West by Roshi Philip Kapleau. Dharma Talk by Ven. Jissai Prince-Cherry. Automated Transcript

Skillful Effort, Skillful Concentration

Zen practice is a method, not a technique. As a result, practice can sometimes feel frustrating since there’s no step-by-step instruction manual telling us “Exactly What to Do.” (Nor will there ever be.) So how do we practice? Dharma Talk by Ven. Trueman Taylor. Automated Transcript

Practicing with Our Whole Being

We’re socially conditioned to lead with the head, however Zen is not a mental activity. How do we get our practice into the body-mind? Teisho by Sensei Donna Kowal. Automated 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

Being Sangha

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

Untangling the Knots, Engaging with the Practice

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). Dharma Talk by Donna Kowal. Automated Transcript