Encouraging Words

Changsha Goes on a Picnic

Allan Marett takes us into the great mountains where Changsha lived from around 788-868 and was renowned for his great fierceness (nicknamed ‘great tiger’). In this encounter the teacher, now older and far more settled, is challenged by the head monk on his return from a walk -“Where have you come from?” a familiar challenge, however in this case led

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Buddha Touches the Earth

Deep Ecologist John Seed discusses his journey with Buddhism and how it led him into conservation and direct action and how he has sought to bring these two guiding elements together in his Buddhist teaching activities. John has been awarded the OAM for his services to conservation and the environment and in this talk he discusses some of his and the

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Does a dog have Buddha nature?

As the Chinese Year of the Dog begins – Gillian Coote, roshi explores the koan ‘Chao Chou’s dog’ which is the first case of the Wu-Men Kuan (The Galetless Barrier) This talk was given at 2013 Spring Sesshin held at Kodoji

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Entangling Vines

Maggie Gluek, roshi discusses the challenges that teachers face in having to open their mouths in order to teach in the face of a subject that seems to elude description or comprehension through logical means. She takes up Case 19 – Xiangyan’s ‘Up a Tree’ – from the Entangling Vines collection. This talk was given at Rohatsu sesshin 2013

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Silent Illumination Practice

Subhana Barzaghi, roshi talks about silent illumination (or shikantaza) and addresses some of the misconceptions about it. She stresses that whether students are koan students or shikanataza students, our practice in Zen is the same. Subhana also sees the need for shikantaza students to engage with and to be guided in their practice by a teacher’s counsel. This Dharma

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We’ve probably all heard the expression, “The great way is not difficult, it’s simply a matter of not picking and choosing.” The great Zhaozhou uttered these words, but he was not the first. In Verses on the Faith Mind (Xinxin Ming), the third Chinese ancestor, Sengcan writes, “The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences,” and

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Why do you do zazen?

Gillian Coote, roshi addresses the problem practitioners often have in explaining their practice to others. Answering ‘it helps me to remain calm’ or ‘to gain some insight’ reduces the practice to a very small part of what it is. Gillian takes up Case 30 of the Wu-Men Kuan, where this problem is reflected in the dialogue between Nan-yuëh and Ma-tsu,

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The Fox

Allan Marett revisits Case 2 of the Wumenguan and explores it anew in the aftermath of performances of his play, Oppenheimer, which has been described as a teisho on Baizhang’s Fox in the form of a Japanese Noh play. Recorded at the Rohatsu sesshin in December 2018

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