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Dharmatalk: Case 84, Book of Equanimity:Gutei’s One Finger

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“… Whatever you experience, if you can see it clearly, it shows itself to be hollow, empty, insubstantial …”   Description: In Case 84, Master Gutei responds to whatever he is asked with the same gesture—he holds up one finger. Where is the wisdom in his teaching? Where is the compassion? This talk explores these […]


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Dharmatalk: Infinite Heart Opening (Practice Basics)

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“… The Way is never apart from you right where you are …” Description: There are a myriad of ways to parse the human experience and find clarity. This talk is a basic overview of practice, beginning with the centrality of breath and closing with beautiful words from Master Dogen. Post & Featured image: Forest by […]


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unconditional love boundless compassion

Dharmatalk: Case 83, Book of Equanimity: Dôgo’s Nursing the Ill

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“… The whole universe is offering unconditional love …” Description: The focus of this talk is Case 83, which features Master Isan and Master Dôgo. These masters are completely free; they have thoroughly seen through self and world and the delusion of separateness is gone. How do we nurse the ill and help all become free […]


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tea ceremony entering the moment intimately

Dharmatalk: Case 82, Book of Equanimity: “Sound” and “Color”

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“… It’s about entering the moment in a more immediate, intimate and clearer way …” Description: In the koan, “Sound” and “Color,” Master Unmon is essentially talking about the main emphasis of Zen—the experience of waking up. This can be suddenly triggered by one of our sense channels. What is a sense experience? When we are […]


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rose ordinary miracle

Dharmatalk: Case 19, The Gateless Gate: Ordinary Mind is the Way

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“… Ordinary experience is extraordinarily miraculous. It is “as vast and boundless as the great empty sky …” Description: This talk focuses on a teaching story from very early in Master Jôshû’s training with his teacher, Master Nansen. Nansen tells Jôshû that the ordinary mind is the Way. What is ordinary mind? What is the Way? Ordinary […]


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nothing separate from dharma

Dharmatalk: Case 28, Book of Equanimity: Gokoku’s “Three Disgraces”

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“… At the deepest level, nothing is separate from the Dharma …” Description: This talk focuses on Henry’s trip to Germany, beginning in Nuremberg, then on to Benediktushof, a former Benedictine monastery, now a spiritual center, then to Sonnenhof Zen Center in the Black Forest, and, finally, to Domicilium, a joint hospice and Zen center. […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 81, Book of Equanimity: Gensha Reaches the Province (Part 2)

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“… We can drop our construction of self and world, space and time …” Description: This talk begins with the sound of rain and gentle rolling thunder. It is a continuation of the exploration of Case 81, with a focus on Gensha’s comment at the end of the story. Gensha is trying to help us […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 81, Book of Equanimity: Gensha Reaches the Province (Part 1)

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“… This world is one single act of love …” Description: Koans can open up the potential of a human being. Case 81 is a Dharma dialogue between Gensha and Shôtô. They converse about a party the day before—all the revelry is right here, right now. The point of Zen training is to experience this […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 80, Book of Equanimity: Suibi and the Chin Rest

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“… How incredible to wake up into the heart of this moment …” Description: Koans are not confined by our typical assumptions about reality. Case 80 refers to the story of Bodhidharma, who is credited with bringing Zen from India to China. What did Bodhidharma bring? In this koan, Ryûge is asking Suibi and Rinzai […]


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Dharmatalk: All Beings, One Intimacy

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“… Everything is constantly pouring into existence in this magnificent generosity …” Description: The Buddha spent his life trying to help others to be freed from suffering. Zen practice exposes our weaknesses, limitations and challenges—this is the grit that makes the pearl. We face things we may not want to face and, therefore, fuel the possibility […]


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