Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    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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    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 »
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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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    Living Two Traditions Paid Member

    Gil Fronsdal has been a student of Buddhist practice for more than twenty-five years. He trained in the Soto Zen tradition, receiving dharma transmission in 1995, as well as in the Vipassana—or Insight Meditation—lineages of Theravada Buddhism. Since 1990, Fronsdal has served as resident teacher at the Insight Meditation Center of the Mid-Peninsula in Redwood City, California. Only the second urban Insight Meditation center in America, it is funded entirely by dana contributions. Tricycle Editor-in-Chief James Shaheen interviewed Gil Fronsdal at his center in August 2002. It is unusual for someone to be a teacher of both Zen and Vipassana. Since you started out in the Zen tradition, can you describe how you first came to the practice? More »
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    Appreciate Your Life Paid Member

    No one can live your life except you. No one can live my life except me. You are responsible. I am responsible. But what is our life? What is our death? More »
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    The Dust Beyond the Cushion Paid Member

    If you sit long enough, your cushion will become an island amid a sea of dust. Thistles will overtake the yard. Things will begin to fall apart. At some point, you’ve got to clean house. The idea of ritual chores is intriguing to some, but for many of us, housekeeping has become work as rut. The thought of picking up a mop or a scrub brush is met with apprehension. This is where work-practice comes in: with the right approach, these daily chores can be done ably, even artfully. As with sitting, the important thing is to begin. More »