Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 80 comments

    The Myth of the Experienced Meditator Paid Member

    I tell Kyodo Roshi I want to take my practice to a deeper level. "Deeper level?" He laughs again. "What do you mean, 'deeper'? Zen practice only one level. No deep, understand?" —Lawrence Shainberg, Ambivalent Zen   More »
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    Just One Breath Paid Member

    In this world of onrushing events the act of meditation—even just a "one-breath" meditation—straightening the back, clearing the mind for a moment—is a refreshing island in the stream. Although the term meditation has mystical and religious connotations for many people, it is a simple and plain activity. Attention: deliberate stillness and silence. As anyone who has practiced sitting knows, the quieted mind has many paths, most of them tedious and ordinary. Then, right in the midst of meditation, totally unexpected images or feelings may sometimes erupt, and there is a way into a vivid transparency. But whatever comes up, sitting is always instructive. More »
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    One Chance, One Encounter Paid Member

    I would like to tell you a story which has moved me very deeply. It is the story of a woman, Miss Okamoto, who stayed by my teacher’s side for forty years, up until his death. Miss Okamoto was a very talented woman who graduated in the Taisho Era from Ochanomizu Girls’ College. She was active in the field of young women’s education in both Tokyo and Kyushu until, at the age of forty, she entered the temple as a disciple of Master Zuigan. She trained as a layperson, never shaving her head and taking the vows of a nun, but also never wearing makeup as an ordinary laywoman. She carried out all her affairs tidily attired in baggy work pants. More »
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    Life's Not A Problem Paid Member

    Why did you start practicing? I had a fine life. I was divorced—my husband was mentally ill—but I had a nice man in my life. My kids were okay. I had a good job. And I used to wake up and say, “Is this all there is?” Then I met Maezumi Roshi, who was a monk at the time. He was giving a talk in the Unitarian Church downtown. I was out for the evening with a friend, a woman, a sort of hard-boiled business type, and we decided to hear his talk. And as we went in, he bowed to each person and looked right at us. It was absolutely direct contact. When we sat down, my friend said to me, “What was that?” He wasn’t doing anything special—except, for once, somebody was paying attention. More »
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    Heart Touching Heart Paid Member

    The practice of compassion means letting experience in. A Japanese poet, a woman named Izumi who lived in the tenth century, wrote: “Watching the moon at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely. No part left out.” When we can open to all parts of ourselves and to others in the world, something quite extraordinary happens. We begin to connect with one another. More »
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    Instructions to the Cook Paid Member

    When [13th-century Zen master] Dogen asked the Zen cook in the Chinese temple why he didn’t have his assistants do the hard work of drying mushrooms in the hot sun, the cook said, “I am not other people.” In the same way, we have to realize that this life is the only life we have. It’s ours, right now. If we don’t do the cooking ourselves, we are throwing our life away. “Keep your eyes open,” Dogen instructs. “Wash the rice thoroughly, put it in the pot, light the fire, and cook it. There is an old saying that says, 'See the pot as your own head, see the water as your lifeblood.’” More »