Gillian Coote

All Things Pass Quickly Away

These words are dedicated to Tony, who fully lived his wild and precious life with generosity and love, until June 20 this year. The disease Tony had, MND, is known as the One Thousand Day Disease, but we didn’t know this when he was diagnosed. We knew the disease was a muscle thief, and grieved when his hands seized up,

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Found in Translation

Buddhism took about 500 years to peregrinate to China and another 500 or so to evolve towards Ch’an via Taoism. One of my heroes is Xuanzang, whose epic twenty-year journey from China to India and back in the 600’s was impelled by his goal to bring back sutras and translate them, a journey that later became a 15th century Chinese

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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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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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All Moments are the Time Being

‘The reason you do not clearly understand the time-being is that you think of time only as passing. In essence, all things in the entire world are linked with one another as moments. Because all moments are the time-being, they are your time-being.‘ Dogen Time can measured in seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months, semesters, years and, more poetically, by the

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Coming home

Gillian Coote, roshi, explores the anguish of Bodhidharma’s student, Huike, standing in the snow, desperate for his mind to be at peace.  When resolved, this is an experience that Zen students have described as ‘coming home’ – body and mind and this moment, perfectly at ease, completely present. This teisho based on Case 41 of the Wumen Kuan was

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Sickness and medicine

Medicine and sickness cure each other, all the earth is medicine, where do you find your self? Gillian Coote, roshi, examines Yun-men’s words about our own sickness and suffering – as individuals, as family members, in relationships at work or in the sangha, and as members of this society and this vast interdependent mahasangha – the sickness of the air,

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I Want Nothing

Gillian Coote, roshi explores ‘Beginner’s Mind’  including Suzuki Roshi’s thoughts on the matter, and how this mind is the heart of our practice, whether we’ve been practising for two weeks or a hundred years. This talk was given at the zazenkai in April, 2018

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