Archive | Podcasts

May20thEp22-Featured-zen-223382_640

Case 9: The Book of Equanimity; Nansen Kills the Cat

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Episode Description:Henry uses this startling koan about Nansen and a cat to explore questions about life, death and ultimate reality. Does Nansen really kill the cat? If so, what has he actually killed? What is this life we believe we are leading? Listen to how this koan beckons us to wake from the dream of […]


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Shin-Jin-Mei (Verses on the Faith-Mind) by Sosan, Part 2 of 2

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Episode Description:Henry explicates the first six lines of the Verses on the Faith-Mind by focusing on the question, What is the great way? Henry quotes from the 14th-century Zen master Bassui, who insists we already are the great way, fully and completely. This talk grapples with the essence of Zen training; the three fires of greed, […]


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Shin-Jin-Mei (Verses on the Faith-Mind) by Sosan, Part 1 of 2

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Episode Description: In part 1 of this 2-part series about the Shin-jin-mei (Hsing-Hsign Ming, Verses on the Faith-Mind), Henry provides background details about the second patriarch Sosan (Ch. Seng-T’san). We learn about his serious illness, his desire for release from karmic debt, and his awakening encounter with his teacher, the second Chinese Ancestor Eka (Ch. […]


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What Really Matters?

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Episode Description: In this teisho given on New Years Day, Henry peels back layers of the central question: “What really matters?” exploring other enquiries along the way — What is the grave matter of life and death? What realization can occur when patterned ways of perceiving fall away? Who am I? Henry relates a parable […]


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Blue Cliff Record Case 12: Three Pounds of Flax

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Episode Description: In this personal discussion of Blue Cliff Record case 12, Henry talks about death, the eternality of time and the limits of rationality. We learn that failure and loss are necessary and that only through the process of non-rational experience can true opening occur. Henry shares two loving and poignant poems that he […]


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Blue Cliff Record Case 14, A Preaching in Accordance

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Episode Description: Henry probes the big question a monk asks of Unmon: “What are the periods and teachings of the whole lifetime of Shakyamuni? Unmon answers, “A preaching in accordance.” Henry explores the single fact demonstrated in this Blue Cliff Record case. We learn that the master’s work is to be in accordance with the […]


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Blue Cliff Record 62, Unmon’s Single Treasure

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Episode Description: As the winter solstice descends, Henry Shukman explores Unmon’s Single Treasure, Case 62 of the Blue Cliff Record. This puzzling koan helps us turn our habitual views upside down. Roshi Henry describes the great invitation of Zen which is to abandon our cherished opinions and find the single jewel that makes the “one […]


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Blue Cliff Record 75, Ukyu’s Blind Stick

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Episode Description: Continuing with the Blue Cliff Record, this talk explores Case 75, Ukyu’s Blind Stick. Find out what happens when Ukyu wields his stick. Roshi Henry discusses the background of this intriguing koan and ponders the nature of emptiness. We learn about the five types of Zen blindness and that all beings are blessed […]


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Hyakujo’s “Turning Word” from The Book of Equanimity

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Episode Description: Roshi Henry presents a case from the Book of Equanimity in which Master Hyakujo’s “turning word” about the law of causation releases an old man into authentic freedom. Hear a magical story about how a man receives healing, love and timeless understanding from a gentle whale. Using personal disclosure and koan explication, Henry […]


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Blue Cliff Record 70, 71, & 72, How does one Speak with Lips and Throat Closed?

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Episode Description: This talk combines three related Blue Cliff Record cases 70, 71, and 72. We meet Hyakujo, Isan, Goho and Ungan, who grapple with the nature of speech and ultimate understanding. Roshi Henry Shukman draws on his extensive literary background to relate koan structure with narrative storytelling, which includes references to character transformation in Tolstoy’s […]


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