Zen

  • Consider the Source: Why did the Ancient Zen Masters Seldom Mention Emptiness? Paid Member

    Early Chinese Zen masters seldom spoke about ideas like emptiness. Early writings also lack discussions about sutras, including texts like The Diamond Sutra, which is strongly linked to the Zen tradition. The Heart Sutra is hardly mentioned, and the bodhisattva ideal also gets very little ink in early records. Often, when such ideas and texts are mentioned by the old masters they are referred to with a dismissive, even derisive, tone. More »
  • Miya Ando solo show Mujo (Impermanence) opens today Paid Member

    New York-based emerging artist Miya Ando is debuting her recent work in Mujo (Impermanence), her first solo exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in New York City. A descendant of Bizen sword-makers, Ando was raised among swordsmiths and Nichiren Buddhist priests in a temple in Okayama, Japan. Combining traditional techniques of her ancestry with modern industrial technology, Ando skillfully transforms sheets of burnished steel and anodized aluminum into ephemeral abstractions suffused with subtle gradations of color. The Mujo show opens today, June 20, with a cocktail reception from 6 – 8pm, and will run through July 20 at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery at 547 West 27th Street, New York. Check out the teaser for our upcoming profile of the artist and her work below: More »
  • Consider the Source: Why is Bodhidharma Credited as the "First Ancestor" of the Chan (Zen) School? Paid Member

    Although Bodhidharma is honored as the “First Ancestor” of Zen Buddhism in China, historians know well that Zen not only preceded Bodhidharma, it was also widely practiced centuries before his arrival. So how did Bodhidharma acquire the honored title of “The First”? The foreign Parthian monk An Shigao is credited with introducing Zen to China in the 2nd century, roughly 300 years before Bodhidharma arrived in China. Plenty of evidence indicates that Zen gained popularity soon thereafter, with historical records indicating that Zen flourished in China’s Northern Liang Dynasty at least 50 years before Bodhidharma came on the scene. More »
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    Consider the Source: Why Did Tea Come to Symbolize Enlightenment? Paid Member

    The great Zen master Zhaozhou (Joshu)’s advice to seekers of the Way was “Go drink tea.” Zhaozhou’s contemporary, Zen Master Jiashan Shanhui, famously uttered, “Tea, Zen: one taste,” a phrase that adorns countless tea houses in China. What’s the story behind Chinese Zen and tea culture’s intimate relationship? More »
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    Bearly Zen Paid Member

    Meet Bearly Zen, the most dedicated member of the Village Zendo sangha in lower Manhattan!This photo was snapped while we filmed the Village Zendo's abbot, Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, for her May retreat, "Recognizing the Self." Watch the first week's teaching here (free for everyone!). Enkyo Roshi told us that Bearly Zen is always facing the appropriate way—towards the wall for meditation, away from the wall for chanting—but she never sees anyone move him. A very dedicated practitioner, indeed!   More »
  • A Good Death Paid Member

    The work of our good friend Robert Chodo Campbell was featured in a short article and photo series in the New York Times yesterday. Campbell is one of the Executive Directors for New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, an organization that provides direct care to the sick, dying, and suffering. The series shows Campbell with his friend John Hawkins in the months leading up to and the immediate hours after Hawkins' death from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Both the photos and the accompanying article—a brief but moving testimonial from the photographer, Joshua Bright, on the effects of witnessing death firsthand—are honest and sweet, even graceful. More »