Chiyono’s Bucket

With this and that I tried to keep the bucket together,
and then the bottom fell out.
Where water does not collect,
the moon does not dwell

Begin Here

March 16, 2017

When the urge to be still and quiet  occurs to us, we have received a  powerful gift. It would be wise of us to cherish and nurture it, even if only long enough for just a glimpse of it’s reverberations rippling through our lives. Act sincerely and directly on this urge to be still and […]

nurturing bodhicitta

March 3, 2017

Bodhicitta is a Sanskrit word meaning awakened mind, the mind that senses a oneness in the temporal and the eternal nature of all things. Sometimes we experience a flash of clear and fleeting knowing difficult to express in words, yet  making perfect sense like two hands coming together in a loud clap. When the awakened mind is […]


October 10, 2016

Our sangha is nearing the end of the period of intensive practice we call Ango, peaceful dwelling. Part of our practice during these three months has been the study of Master Shitou Xiqian’s classic poem “Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage”. The song is a teaching describing the right dwelling, the perfect dwelling. This is a […]

Ango: awareness, effort & perseverance

September 26, 2016

The Japanese word, Ango, means “peaceful dwelling”. When Zen Buddhism came to the west, it came with this word referring to a tradition dating from the time of the Buddha and his followers.  It is the gathering of wandering monks in one place during the rainy season so that they could live, study, and practice together. This […]

Prajna: Wisdom

July 17, 2016

Form is no other than emptiness; emptiness no other than form; Form is exactly emptiness; emptiness exactly form; Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this. All we perceive and experience is like this. As we practice zazen with regularity and  consistently yield to the reality of not knowing, we allow a deeper and deeper experience […]

Dhyana: settled, focused meditation

July 7, 2016

The Sanskrit word dhyana is translated as Chan in Chinese and Zen in Japanese. It means “meditation, absorption”. In the Zen sect of Buddhism our core practice is zazen. Za means sitting. Zen means meditation or absorption. This practice is introduces us to and grounds us in the compassion and wisdom of what we call the Buddha Way. There are many other practices of […]

Kshanti: Patience & Forbearance

July 7, 2016

The Sanskrit word, kshanti, is generally translated as patience. It is also translated as endurance and as forbearance. Patience is defined as the capacity to bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint; manifesting forbearance under  provocation or strain; not being hasty or impetuous; being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. The way of Patience […]

Virya Paramita: Perseverance

July 7, 2016

“So take advantage of this human boat, Free yourself from sorrow’s mighty stream! This vessel will be later hard to find. The time that you have now, you fool, is not for sleep!  Effort, diligence, zeal, perseverance…virya paramita, this particular oar of practice is translated in these ways.  Our natural tendency is to rely on […]

Vows & Practices: The Way of Council

March 10, 2016

With others, I received the teaching of The Three Tenets: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Healing Action from Roshi Jishu Holmes and Roshi Bernie Gassman during the time I was studying for the ceremony of Jukai, receiving the Zen Peacemaker Bodhisattva Precepts. (See the teachings on Ethical Conduct.) About a year later , with others, I […]

Sila: Ethical Conduct II

March 7, 2016

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts Bodhisattva is the Sanskrit word for “enlightenment being”; in Mahayana Buddhism a bodhisattva is one seeking buddhahood through the practice of the perfections or paramitas. This practice is done not only for one’s own awakening but for the awakening of all beings. Through ever-deepening insight into his or her own selflessness, […]