Thursday, July 24, 2014

summer sesshin talks

Our Boundless Way Zen summer sesshin ended last week.  Here is the link to the talks by our teachers and senior students.  The topic was Case 96 from the Book of Serenity.

Recordings of the talks from our recent Summer sesshin are now available online at
Photo by Kate Hartland, Dharma Holder, pictured on left, with Melissa Blacker, Roshi (me...:-)), Dharma Holder Diane Fitzgerald, James Ford, Roshi, David Rynick, Roshi, and Josh Bartok, Sensei.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Working with Koans

After a wonderful trip to Europe, I arrived home to find the latest issue of Shambhala Sun, which contains an article I wrote about working with koans.  Here it is, for your enjoyment!

You can download the article here:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

fences, walls, pebble, tiles

Boundless Way Temple, near front steps, April 2014

Spring has come to Worcester, and flowers are poking up through the brown grass and leaves of winter.  Dogen says, in his essay "Mind Here and Now is Buddha" (Soku-shin-ze-butsu, translated by Gudo Nishijima):  "Mind as fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles is nothing other than fences, walls, tiles, and pebbles.  There is no additional mud or water." Just these flowers, just these stones.  Why do I ask for more?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ango talks

The Boundless Way Zen ango retreat is in its second week at Boundless Way Temple in Worcester, MA. We are hosting an "open-house" retreat, with four practice periods each day that include talks and individual meetings with teachers, as well as sitting and walking meditation.  All of the talks are on-line -- even if you can't join us, you can hear the talks and the discussions (dharma dialogues) that follow at this link:

If you can come in person, here is the daily schedule, through March 12. Ango ends on Thursday, March 13 at 1 pm.

 You do not need to register for ango unless you plan to stay overnight.  For overnight registration:  Donations for any part of a practice period will be gratefully received in the collection bowl in the front hallway.

6:00 AM - 8:00 AM Early morning practice period
Includes dokusan (individual meetings with a teacher or senior student)

10:00 AM - 12:30 PM Late morning practice period
Includes sutra service, teisho (dharma talk by a teacher or senior student) and dharma dialogue

2:30 PM- 5:30 PM Afternoon practice period
Includes dokusan

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Evening practice period
Includes teisho, dharma dialogue and dokusan

note: breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served buffet style, so there's no need to bring your own food unless you have special needs, and you won't need an oryoki set.

Monday, February 17, 2014

just so inspired by this...

My Zen teacher, James Ford, recently posted this on his blog Monkey Mind.  I couldn't agree more with every word he writes here:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

sometimes it's like this

I'm very grateful that I can be in touch with people from all over the world, who want to work with me on their contemplative and spiritual practices.  And, as the comedians Key and Peele demonstrate, sometimes the limitations of our internet connection make it all just a wee bit frustrating.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Upset in Real Life

cartoon reprinted from The New Yorker

For about a year, this blog was being reprinted on another website.  Not being a big star of the "interweb", as one of my young friends calls it, I appreciate the few readers I have, and every once in a while, someone comments on something I've written.

I was surprised that no-one ever commented on the reprinted blog entries, so I decided to check in and have a look to see if they were actually there.  And I discovered that people were indeed commenting on them -- it's just that this particular site doesn't moderate comments, and I wasn't set up to receive them in any case.  I've learned that this is a fairly common practice.

My biggest surprise, though, was the tone of the comments, nasty and confused, for the most part.  And the writers were all talking to each other, not to me.  My writing was a starting point for endless arguments about all things Dharma and Zen.  Everyone who wrote in hid behind a fake name, so there was no way for me to respond without adding to the public hoopla.

Chagrined and disappointed, I asked the person who maintains the site to remove my blog, which he did graciously and quickly.  But not before defending the style of the blog comments as a part of free speech, something he believes in very strongly.

As of course, do I.  But I have to say that I'm a fan of open, civil and transparent discourse.  Sometimes we strongly disagree with others, but we don't have to make a hobby of argument.  Nor do we need to hide our identity if there's something important we want to say.

And as they say on the interweb, this is just imho.