Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    Okay As It Is, Okay As You Are Paid Member

    I grew up in Middletown, a midsize suburban town in the middle of New Jersey. (What it lacks in originality it makes up for in aptness of name.) Throughout my childhood I thought of it as one of many suburban towns that are the Wonder Bread of American society: plain, boring, and (mostly) white.  I’ve heard it said that suburbia is a cradle of unimagined secrets. Still, when Tricycle came across Merle Kodo Boyd, founder of the Lincroft Zen Sangha in Middletown, New Jersey, I was shocked. I had spent 18 years of my life there, never knowing that a committed sitting group was less than 10 minutes from my home.  More »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    The Hidden Lamp Paid Member

    For most of the last 2,500 years, women have had to struggle mightily in order to practice Buddhism. In ancient China, Japan, and other Asian cultures, women were generally not allowed to ordain without the permission of male family members. They were kept home to be householders, slaves, laundresses, cooks, wives, and rearers of children. A few, determined to practice, even scarred their faces so they could enter a monastery without disturbing the monks with their beauty.  As a result, contemporary Buddhists all over the world practice in traditions where historical women’s voices are rare, and many of the teachings and practices have come down to us from a male point of view. This is certainly true in most of the familiar Zen stories and koans, like those in the famous Chinese koan collections: the Blue Cliff Record, The Gateless Barrier, and the Book of Serenity.  More »
  • Sitting for Good: The Brooklyn Sit-a-thon Paid Member

    This Friday, May 11, Brooklyn Zen Center will hold a day-long sit-a-thon to raise funds for the Awake Youth Project, a program that the Zen center runs in partnership with Brooklyn College Community Partnership to bring mindfulness and meditation programs to Brooklyn youth. "Many of the young people with whom we work live with considerable economic hardship and risk for violence," say the staff members of Awake Youth Project, "They struggle with enormous stress, anxiety, anger and other strong emotions that make an already demanding life schedule all the more difficult. Consequently Awake Youth Project’s high school-based groups employ meditation and mindfulness practices to address the many challenges in the lives of our youth." More »
  • Tricycle Community 3 comments

    Beneath Belief Paid Member

    Venerable Hae Doh Gary Schwocho, the abbot of Muddy Water Zen, in Royal Oak, Michigan, and the first American-born to be elected a bishop in the Taego Order of Korean Buddhism, has felt called to ministry since elementary school. Born to parents who were active in a fundamentalist Christian denomination that believes, among other things, that the Pope is the Antichrist, Schwocho strayed from the church while in college and was eventually excommunicated. Still, the ministry called, and he was on track to become a Presbyterian minister when he attended an introduction-to-meditation retreat in 1987, led by Haju Sunim and Samu Sunim at the Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Schwocho received the precepts from Samu Sunim in 1997 and was ordained in 2003 by P’arang Geri Larkin, Samu Sunim’s dharma heir. The next year, Schwocho converted his garage into a dharma hall and moved the Muddy Water Zen sangha into his suburban Detroit home. More »
  • Tricycle Community 14 comments

    A Matter of Misdirection Paid Member

    In “Indian Camp,” the first story in Hemingway’s first book, In Our Time, a boy and his father paddle out on a lake to an island where a pregnant Native American woman is having a hard labor. The boy is shocked both by her suffering and by the general poverty of the camp. He waits as his father, a doctor, helps deliver the baby; the boy doesn’t pay attention—nor do we—to the woman’s husband lying on a nearby bunk. Unable to endure the sound of his wife’s birth pains or his certainty of the new child’s miserable prospects, the man slits his own throat. But the author only lets us see this late in the tale; most of the way we think the story is about the boy and his father. All along, without our even noticing, another more pressing series of events has been unfolding right under our eyes. More »
  • Tricycle Community 44 comments

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Enlightenment Paid Member

    At 7,000 feet, the Zen monastery where I live is level with the clouds, which should give you some idea of where my head usually is—not to mention the heads of those who visit our grounds. Let’s talk about them. Occasionally, college students from the basin below appear through wispy nimbi on our gravel driveway. I first catch sight of them via their hairdos—which are dazzling and neon, like art projects—bobbing spikily through the dull gray mist. They travel in brightly colored, body-buttered, scantily clad, cologned and perfumed packs, like wolves with iPods. They are everything I’m not: still in their twenties, hopped up on caffeine and red meat, and eager to talk about Zen. More »