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Dharmatalk: Awakening (Part 3 of 3)

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“… Each of us is an entire ferry of all beings …” Description: This is the third part of a discussion on enlightenment. How does the Zen tradition understand awakening? If awakening is not part of a particular kind of practice, it cannot be called “Buddhism.” Awakening cannot be understood conceptually–the mind can’t get it. […]


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Dharmatalk: Awakening (Part 2 of 3)

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“… There is no mind to be trained …”   Description: This is the second part of a discussion on enlightenment. It begins where the first part left off—the mindfulness movement. Often the term “awakening” is very misunderstood in some mainstream books about Buddhism. In the Zen tradition, what is awakening? It is not just […]


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Dharmatalk: Awakening (Part 1 of 3)

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“… All the depth that is in us needs time …” Description: This talk begins with some beautiful reflections on a recent talk by Stephen Jenkinson, author and storyteller. It is the first part of a discussion on enlightenment—how it is understood in Western practice and how it is understood by different traditions. The current […]


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Dharmatalk: Wisdom

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“… There is wisdom in developing personal well-being …” Description: This talk focuses on the term “wisdom.” There are different kinds of wisdom that human beings can discover. To begin this exploration, an overview of the five kinds of Zen practice is presented. This unfolds into a more contemporary interpretation, the four zones of practice. […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 5, The Blue Cliff Record: Seppo’s “Grain of Rice”

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“… Being silent and still is the heart of our practice …” Description: A koan is always talking about right now. In Case 5, Master Seppô is teaching an assembly and says, “When you pick up the whole great earth in your fingers, it’s the size of a grain of rice.” What kind of teaching […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 93, Book of Equanimity: Roso Does Not Understand

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“… You have to know the jewel to know the treasury …” Description: This talk begins with a two beautiful poems and unfolds into Case 93, where Roso quotes a line from the Shôdôka to Nansen: “People do not recognize the Mani jewel. I picked it up myself in the Tathagata treasury.” We learn that, […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 92, Book of Equanimity: Unmon’s “One Treasure”

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“… It’s never apart from you, right where you are …” Description: Case 92 begins with a quotation from an early Chinese text, the Hôzôron: “Within heaven and earth, in the midst of the universe, there is one treasure hidden in a body.” This talk focuses on the three words: one, treasure, hidden. What is […]


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Dharmatalk: Meditation & The Brain

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“The default mode of the brain is not quiet.”  Description: Beginning with a quote from the book, Siddhartha’s Brain, this talk explores facets of meditation across various traditions, as well as a few of the basics of what is happening in our brain when we meditate. Meditation practice can open up a deeper part of […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 91, Book of Equanimity: Nansen & the Peonies (Part 2): 2018 Rohatsu Sesshin (Part 6 of 6)

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“Accept what comes from silence.” ~ Wendell Berry Description: This is the final talk of the 2018 Rohatsu sesshin. It begins with a few comments on this series of talks and continues on with the discussion of Case 91. The student in this koan, Minister Rikukô, is excited to present a powerful quotation to Master Nansen. Nansen’s […]


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Dharmatalk: Case 91, Book of Equanimity: Nansen & the Peonies (Part 1): 2018 Rohatsu Sesshin (Part 5 of 6)

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“… there is nothing to venerate and nothing is more alive …” Description: This is the fifth talk of the 2018 Rohatsu sesshin. What the Buddha realized can be touched in any moment, in any place—it is alive right now. In Case 91, Nansen points at the beautiful peonies and says, “… people of today see […]


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