Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
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    A Caregiver's Story: Kaz Suzuki Paid Member

    Around 1989, my partner Raymond, with whom I ended up living for eleven years, began to show some symptoms of HIV-related illness. Considering we were a Japanese and American couple, everyone thinks that I was the one who brought him to Buddhist practice, but actually it was the opposite. He had gotten hold of a couple of books—Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and Katagiri Roshi’s Returning to Silence. He was already sick, and not able to work anymore, but he wanted to go visit Green Gulch Farm. I took him to San Francisco. I didn’t want to go to the Zen Center, so I sent him off by himself and I stayed in the city for seven days doing what every young gay man should do in San Francisco. But I got a little antsy and I decided to visit him, just for a day, and I ended up staying. When I arrived at the center it was toward the end of their work-practice period. Raymond came out completely soiled. He looked brilliant, with this glow in his eyes. He said, “Guess what? More »
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    Zen and Then Paid Member

    The American Zen community is manifold—in some ways a community of divisions. Any consideration of the future must begin with that. A few prominent Zen centers offer monastic-style training for both monks and laypeople. Scattered across the country are many ethnic temples with rapidly changing congregations, striving to blend dharma and heritage. In between, in every state, are countless sitting groups serving almost entirely lay sanghas, most with no resident teacher. (I use the word "teacher" to refer to both lay and monastic leaders.) The few large training centers are past wondering how to survive and now must address the questions of the institution—hierarchy and roles, how to serve divergent needs and avoid stagnation and rigidity. Newer, small temples struggle with isolation, lack of direction, and the parched thirst for teaching. More »
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    Precious Energy Paid Member

    Anger is a natural human emotion; it lasts only 15 seconds. So said the grief expert Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in an interview I once read. Unfortunately, when the human ego is involved, anger tends to last far longer. One of the most famous examples is the “wrath of Achilles,” the mega-anger that begins Homer’s Iliad and remains a theme throughout the epic. A recent translation calls Achilles’ anger “sustained rage.” It’s the sustained part that’s the problem. But shouldn’t we also avoid, or control, or suppress even the natural, 15-second variety? It all depends. Aristotle tells us that “he who cannot be angry when he should, at whom he should, and how much he should, is a dolt.” This suggests that in certain circumstances, anger is appropriate, justifiable—even necessary. More »
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    Beyond Language Paid Member

    A seemingly inescapable fact of my life is that I am a poet, or, at least, that I keep writing poems. Why would I feel the need to do this? I am fascinated by language. But language is fascinating to everyone. It is through language that we describe and therefore create the world we live in, and it is through language that we describe and therefore create ourselves. If the world is difficult and life is difficult, it may not be that there is something wrong with life or the world—it may be that there is something wrong with our descriptions. We usually think that there is something and then there is talking about something, and that the something is substantial and real and the talking about it is secondary. But for the human mind there is no way to separate something from talking about something. Even perception is, to some extent, a process of talking about something. More »
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    The Great Heart Way Paid Member

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    The Time is Now Paid Member

    All the “spills” we create—not just with our hands but in the ocean of personal relationships as well—begin in our own mind. Distracted by the many things we have to do in a brief time, our attention wanders away from taking care of the activity in front of it, becoming concerned instead for finishing the task as quickly as it can so it can move on to another item on its list of priorities. Giving in to distraction, we give up caring about the activity we are doing. And in a subtle but real way, when we do that we also give up caring about our self, about the value of the effort we are making with our life. More »