dharma talk

  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    No Need to Do Zazen, Therefore Must Do Zazen Paid Member

    No need to do zazen. No need to practice. Therefore, we must do zazen, must practice. Do you see this? Do you see this no-need? Unfortunately, much of the time many of us live in a world of needing and not needing. I need this, I don’t need that. And we believe this viscerally as the truth of who we are and what the world is. All sorts of consequences come from this: consequences of suffering, stress, and harm. This is not something new. Many of you are familiar with the exchange between Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu, in the commentary to the first case in the Blue Cliff Record. The Emperor asks Bodhidharma, “I supported the ordination of monks, built and supported temples. What merit is there from this?” Bodhidharma answers, “No merit.” More »
  • Tricycle Community 8 comments

    Beyond Language Paid Member

    A seemingly inescapable fact of my life is that I am a poet, or, at least, that I keep writing poems. Why would I feel the need to do this? I am fascinated by language. But language is fascinating to everyone. It is through language that we describe and therefore create the world we live in, and it is through language that we describe and therefore create ourselves. If the world is difficult and life is difficult, it may not be that there is something wrong with life or the world—it may be that there is something wrong with our descriptions. We usually think that there is something and then there is talking about something, and that the something is substantial and real and the talking about it is secondary. But for the human mind there is no way to separate something from talking about something. Even perception is, to some extent, a process of talking about something. More »
  • Tricycle Community 22 comments

    Right Lying Paid Member

  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    The Power of Judgment Paid Member

    When the Buddha told Ananda that the entirety of the practice lay in having an admirable friend, he wasn’t saying something warm and reassuring about the compassion of others. He was pointing out three uncomfortable truths—about delusion and trust—that call for clear powers of judgment. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    A Mind Like a Clear Pool Paid Member

    The great strength of the Buddha-dharma is its practice. It is incredible what this wonderful practice can bring about. When I hear the teachings of the Buddha transmitted through the great masters, and when I experience their truth in my own heart through the little practice that I know, then I feel their tremendous blessing. What is extraordinary is that you can actually experience the truth of these teachings. It is not something that is just based on belief or faith; it is something you can taste and realize for yourself, here and now. The great Zen master Suzuki Roshi said:  More »
  • Tricycle Community 28 comments

    Got Attitude? Paid Member

    A few years ago I was in the middle of a difficult negotiation with the Maui County Department of Water Supply, a local government agency, trying to resolve a long-standing stalemate. Things already weren’t going my way when the leading official said to me, “You surely don’t need me to remind you that life’s unfair! You’re old enough to know that!” His rebuke triggered a wave of emotion and reactivity. Embarrassment, humiliation, shame, and then indignation washed over me. I watched the impulse to be angry with him rise like a tide and flood my mind. Schemes, strategies, and thoughts of revenge rushed to the surface. I was tense and self-conscious. I longed to escape. More »