Merle Kodo Boyd's Writings

The Three Essentials of Zen Practice

June 22, 2018

At this point in my life as a Zen student, I have come to think of the word ” practice” as meaning the on-going effort to live my ordinary  life in accord with the oneness of all life.  The familiar word, “oneness”, has come to describe an undeniable reality.Oneness includes the personal, and yet is […]

The Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers

May 8, 2018

Having taken refuge, we enter the stream of practice. We relinquish ourselves to its shifting currents. We immerse ourselves in the ocean of life. These metaphors are weak attempts to describe the patience, courage and persistence we will need for carrying out ourdeep intention tto “turn your light inward” as Master Dogen instructs us in […]

Taking Refuge II

April 25, 2018

In the tradition of Soto Zen Buddhism the formal ceremony of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is called Jukai or Receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts. Refuge is described as a place of safety, shelter or protection. Whether we are aware of it or not, seeking shelter and safety affirms our experience of Shakyamuni […]

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 […]

Taking Refuge

March 15, 2017

The instinct to seek a bigger, broader, more meaningful life occurs to us one day. We feel liberated just by the sudden awareness that such a search is possible. We are energized. An endless stretch into boundless adventure is possible.This sudden awareness may, in itself, be the essential gift of human life. There is far […]

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 […]