Sitting with Care

With the help of a months-long training program, a senior member dedicates himself to volunteer with people struggling with sickness, old, age, and death A couple years ago, I noticed that my collection of books about illness, end of life, dying, and death had overflowed from a third shelf onto a fourth. Around the same…

Sei and Her Soul Separate

A vintage koan commentary by the Center’s founder, the late Roshi Philip Kapleau. Mumonkan number 35: Sei and her soul separate The Case Goso asked a monk, “Sei and her soul separated—which is the true one?” The Commentary If you realize the One, you will know that we pass from one husk to another like…

Buddha Holds Up a Flower

Koan commentary How can we convey the teaching beyond words and letters… in words? Once, when the World-Honored One in ancient times was upon Vulture Peak, he held up a flower before the assembly of monks. At this all were silent. The Venerable Kashyapa alone broke into a smile. The World-Honored One said, “I have…

Nansen Kills the Cat

A vintage koan commentary by the Center’s founder, the late Roshi Philip Kapleau. Mumonkan number 14: Nansen kills the cat The Case Once the monks of the Western and Eastern Halls were arguing about a cat. Nansen, holding up the cat, said, “You monks! If you can say a word of Zen, I will spare…