Energy Follows Attention

When I was studying for my certification as an authorized teacher of the enneagram with Helen Palmer, she would almost always say in the trainings, “Energy follows attention!” This has stuck with me since 1988, and I have experienced it as a fact. If I put my attention on writing this article, for example, my […]

Zen Meditation Study

A recent Zen meditation study reveals that experienced meditators have a high degree of resilience when it comes to dealing with distractions. This implies that distractions caused by thoughts can be noted and discarded easily as well. They can dismiss the negative effects of stress and let them go. “Researchers conducting the Zen meditation study […]

The Best Season of Your Life

These words of wisdom from Wumen touched me the moment I read them. He was the compiler or and commenter on the Mumonkan (The Gateless Barrier) – a collection of 48 koans – stories, dialogues, questions or statements used to trigger enlightenment in Zen Buddhism and Chan Buddhism. This was one of the first books […]

Compassion and Empathy

Roshi Joan Halifax is one of the most prominent female Zen masters of our day. We have known each other since we met at a retreat with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1997. This was during the summer of my first episode of muscle invasive bladder cancer. […]

Refuge Beyond Time

A few days ago, we had an article about Huineng, the sixth patriarch of Zen. Tomorrow, we will have another. In these words of wisdom we hear from a later Chan (Zen) Master, Hongzhi, writing about the refuge beyond time. The refuge beyond time occurs “where the three times cease.” This is the place where […]

The Freshness of Life

These words of wisdom about the freshness of life by Uchiyama Kosho Roshi come to us from the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My friend, Roshi Joan Halifax is the founder of Upaya and its abbess. I look forward to her emails weekly. Uchiyama Kosho Roshi lived between 1912 and 1988. He […]

How to Regard All Beings

Here is a quote from Huineng on how to regard all beings. Other than the quote, which is from Tricycle.com, this is my recollection of his role in Zen Buddhism. Huineng was the sixth patriarch of Zen. He was born in 638 and died in 713 at the age of 75. He began his spiritual […]

The Moon Reflected in Water

The moon reflected in water is a common theme in Zen. The first time I learned about this was in Pune, India in 1976. Rajneesh had giving some dharma talks on Zen stories and published a book called No Water, No Moon. I bought the book and read it with great interest. I also acquired […]

Gudo Nishijima on Zazen

This video features Gudo Nishijima on zazen. He is an 80+ year old Japanese Zen teacher. In this video, he describes how to practice zazen. The practice begins with bowing to your seat and turning around to bow again. He then talks about posture and sitting with your spine straight. The position of the hands […]

Beginning Zen Meditation

The Hazy Moon Meditation Center in Los Angeles offers training and retreats in beginning Zen meditation. The lesson in this video corresponds to how I was taught at my first seshin (retreat) many years ago. The instructors talked about sitting in one of several comfortable positions: the full lotus position the half-lotus position the Burmese […]