Author Archive | MCZC

The Art of Being Wrong: Part 2 of 4

This is where a koan’s capacity for liberation lies—not in the discovery of some new knowledge but in its power to help us give up our familiar template of knowing. This post is a continuation of The Art of Being Wrong Part 1. Peripeteia as defined by Aristotle is a literary device. But it seems […]

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The Art of Being Wrong: Part 1 of 4

Nearly always, in great literature, there is some kind of turning point in a narrative arc which is also a turning back—something like Dogen’s “backward step that shines the light inward”—wherein a character is granted an opportunity to understand himself in a different or better way, and it’s that that makes all the difference. There’s […]

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A Matter of Misdirection: Part 3 of 3

For while original enlightenment is without limits, its expression is always particular. We don’t live life in general; we live life in particular ways, and it is in its particulars that life is invested with wisdom and meaning. This is the final installment of A Matter of Misdirection. Click to Read Part 1 and Part 2.   […]

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A Matter of Misdirection: Part 2 of 3

It seems paradoxical, and it is: by becoming absorbed in the foreground, we allow the background gently (and sometimes suddenly) to come to life. This post is a continuation of A Matter of Misdirection: Part 1 In his first teaching, the Buddha explicitly taught that we exist in a state of suffering and that we […]

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A Matter of Misdirection: Part 1 of 3

Misdirection is akin to a principle of growth and development, and it’s no accident that its operations can be detected within the structures of many wisdom traditions. How we learn by looking in the wrong place In “Indian Camp,” the first story in Hemingway’s first book, In Our Time, a boy and his father paddle […]

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Dangerous Formulae

  When treasures of the human heart become explicit, there is a greater risk of their becoming doctrinal, then formulaic, then ritualistic and ceremonial, and ultimately banal, mere forms of words and no longer living treasures at all. When Jesus talked about dying and being reborn in the kingdom of heaven, for example, it seems […]

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Newsletter: January 13, 2015

The teachings are nothing but guidance, a set of instructions perhaps, for something we have to do ourselves. Which is to settle down and drop into the reality of who we are. Below are some excerpts from our latest Newsletter, January 13, 2015, featuring Henry Shukman’s dharma teaching. Please signup for our newsletter by scrolling to the […]

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The Point of Practice

All this existence is in fact nothing but Zen practice. What’s the point of this practice? Well, we could say: it grants space for things to be imperfect. It allows us to let things be as they are. It gives us peace. We somehow learn that the imperfect state of everything is also perfect. Things […]

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