Encouraging Words

The Whole World is Medicine

Gillian Coote, roshi explores Yunmen’s koan in light of the pressures and stresses of our lives, especially the climate emergency, and ways we may awaken to these dharma gates. This talk was given at the SZC Spring sesshin in 2019

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Honouring our Ancestors

Gillian Coote, roshi tells the stories of some of our ancestors who appear in the dedications we chant in our sutra service, including Choro Nyogen and his internment poems (written in the USA during WWII). She offers the koan ‘Mu’, and reflects on this monk’s – and our – doubt that, though all beings by nature are Buddha, this can’t

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Ordinary Mind – Nothing in the Way

Settling into samadhi on the zafu at sesshin 
on the first day is often attended by a jungle of thoughts, fleeting or solid – daydreams, schemes – 
and here lies our greatest challenge. In this teisho, Gillian talks about different ways to gather focus by using koans, breath counting or shikantaza. This talk was given on Day 1 at SZC’s

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Old age, sickness & death

“In all of the worlds, what is most wondrous? That no man, no woman, though they see people dying all around them, believes it will happen to them” King Yudhisthira, Mahabharata, Hindu epic poem. Jill Steverson talks about the privilege and challenges she experienced being with her mother through her journey of frail age and recent death. Also how sharing

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Spring

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” Rainer Maria Rilke For the last three months – all of winter – I have been practising in a different dojo, with a different daily routine and a body that must only bear weight on one leg so as not to interfere with its miraculous

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Dogen, Zen & Creativity

The second aspect of Dōgen’s view of Buddha Nature has to do with us personally, as its realization requires a commitment on our part as Zen practitioners. Dōgen states: Unless we risk ourselves to choose to act the Buddha nature never becomes visible, audible, tangible. Buddha Nature and becoming a Buddha always occur simultaneously. For Dōgen, Zen practice is not

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Dogen & Buddha Nature

The question, “What is Buddha?” or, “What is Buddha Nature?” is a constant theme within Buddhism. Dōgen, the founder of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Japan, has something interesting to say on this topic. Dōgen tells us that: Buddha Nature and becoming a Buddha always occur simultaneously. Paul Maloney, roshi explores in this talk, some of the implications of this statement,

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The Creative Dance

Jane Andino, musician and apprentice Zen teacher, delves into our understanding of the creative and expressive world as it relates to our Zen practice. She uses Case 82, Blue Cliff Record as an entry point into this discussion. This talk was given on day 4 of the SZC Winter sesshin 2019

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Dependent Co-Arising

Our ancestral teachers spoke of Zen as not relying on words and letters, but they did not neglect words and letters. They used words. They were not used by words. From the records of their sayings, it is clear that they were well versed in the Buddha’s sutras, as were their students. Unlike those people raised in Buddhist cultures, who

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