You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

This image is from SoulPancake’s YouTube site.

Many zendos and Zen Centers use slightly different translations or interpretations of the sutras and various other aspects of the teachings.  At the Vallejo Zen Center, founded by Abbess Mary Mocine, we begin our monthly ritual of acknowledgment, repentance and renewal of intention with a going-around-the-circle check-in about how our practice is going.  This is the version of the Clear Mind Precepts used by Vallejo Zen Center in its monthly Full Moon/Bodhisattva Ceremony:

I vow not to kill, and to cherish life.

I vow not to steal, and to honor the gift not yet given.

I vow not to misuse sexuality, and to remain faithful in relationships.

I vow not to lie, and to communicate truth.

I vow not to intoxicate self or others, and to polish clarity.

I vow not to speak of others’ faults, and to create wisdom from ignorance.

I vow not to praise self at the expense of others, and to maintain modesty.

I vow not to be possessive of anything, and to practice generosity.

I vow not to harbor ill will, and to dwell in equanimity.

I vow to respect the Buddha, unfold the Dharma, and nourish the Sangha.


May we, together with all beings, be nourished by and provide nourishment to the sangha of All Being.

Love, Russ

Purpose of Life

After journeying to China in search of a deeper, more authentic practice than he had found in his own country, Eihei Dogen Zenji founded the Soto Zen school of Buddhism in Japan in the 13th century.  He spoke with great authority and wrote extensively on a broad variety of esoteric subjects.  To this day, his teachings are considered challenging and abstruse by even very experienced Zen practitioners and scholars; yet his mysterious teachings continue to inspire generations of Zen students.

In the last section of the fascicle Raihaitokuzui, Dogen was unusually clear and forthright in addressing the subject of women in Buddhism:

Why are men special?  Emptiness is emptiness.  Four great elements are four great elements.  Five skandhas are five skandhas.  Women are just like that.  Both men and women attain the way.  You should honor attainment of the way.  Do not discriminate between men and women.  This is the most wondrous principle of the Buddha way.


Source: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo.  Ed. Trans. Kazuaki Tanahashi.  Boston: Shambhala, 2010. 72-84.  Quoted in Receiving the Marrow: Teachings on Dogen by Soto Zen Women Priests.  Ed. Eido Frances Carney. Olympia: Temple Ground Press, 2012. 63.

The Man Prayer

A prayer offered by conscious, loving men in support of One Billion Rising’s campaign to end violence against women.


A Dharma Talk by James Ishmael Ford, Roshi, 2 July 2001
Boundless Way Zen, Henry Thoreau Zen Sangha

A Dharma talk given by Venerable Dr. Pannavati on Sunday, October 21, 2012, at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center temple,10&pageid=3445

Relax Your Mind

A Dharma talk given by San Francisco Zen Center’s Abiding Abbot Myogen Steve Stücky on Sunday, July 8, 2012, at Green Gulch Farm, one of the three practice sites of San Francisco Zen Center.

At about minute 37:30, Myogen / Steve introduces his intention to sing the song “Relax Your Mind,” and he talks a bit about Leadbelly, the group that performed the song in decades past.  Then Steve sings several verses of the song, and the dharma talk attendees join in on the choruses.

From Kosho Uchiyama’s commentary on Dogen’s GenjoKoan, read aloud this morning (Tuesday, 7/10/12) during GenjoKoan class at Santa Cruz Zen Center:

“Giving up the view of the self and others” . . . is called accepting and settling right here (jikige joto). [ . . . ] Even though it is not possible for us to avoid the view of self and others, it is certain that there is a ground beyond this view.

[ . . . ] Whether our brain is working or not, whether we give up the view of self and others or not, whether we think so or not, and whether we believe it or not, in fact, we are fundamentally living the reality of life prior to separation between self and other, subject and object. The ground of Buddha dharma is nothing other than this ground of the reality of life beyond the view of self and others and subject and object. [ . . . ] “

%d bloggers like this: