Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • 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 »
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    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 »
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    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 »
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    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 »
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    Holding Anger Paid Member

    Anger hinders our liberation from suffering. It takes its toll on our spirit and our health. Stress levels are on the rise. The Harris Poll in 2002 recorded that tension levels in almost half of Americans had worsened over the preceding year. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75 to 90 percent of doctors’ visits are for stress-related ailments. Psychological distress such as anger, anxiety, and depression seems to be a good predictor of high blood pressure, heart attacks, and sudden death. But what is missing from this research is the “first cause,” the damaged self—a belief that manifests as anger projected for the most part onto others. On one level, this projected anger is a defense against one’s “bad self.” On a deeper level, it represents our feelings of vulnerability. More »
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    The Examined Life Paid Member

    I address you now not as your professor, but as Seido, Rinzai Zen monk, caretaker of Hokoku-An Zendo. The semester has come to an end. When I look out at you I see 30 people. When you look at me you see one. But for each one of you I am a different professor. There are 30 different versions of me standing before you in this classroom. It is my job to create a relationship of sorts with each and every one of you. I do that by reading your journals and your papers, by observing how you are in class, whether or not you come prepared, whether or not you take notes, how often you text, and how often you nod off. I’m like Santa Claus. I see you when you’re sleeping and I know when you’re awake; I know when you’re taking notes and when you’re checking your Facebook page. More »