Desert Mirror is pleased to offer these teachings for download, and we rely on your generosity to make this possible. As a guideline, please consider making a donation of $3 per downloaded talk, or as your means allow. Thank you!
Recordings of Talks Given at Desert Mirror Zendo
All recorded lectures are in MP3 format.
- Jamie Howell on Genjo Koan, May 2nd, 2011
- Angie Boissevain on the Bodhisattva Vow, April 10th, 2011
- Beate Stolte on vulnerability, February 14th, 2011
- Michael Newhall on Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi, January 31st, 2011
- Norman Fischer, November 22, 2010
- Norman Fischer Desert Mirror Zendo Dedication, November 22, 2010
- Sue Moon, November 1, 2010
- Katherine Thanas, October 25, 2010
- Angie Boissevain, October 4, 2010
- Beate Stolte, September 13, 2010
- Beate Stolte, July 19, 2010
- David Chadwick, March 15, 2010
Nat King Cole:
Get Your Kicks on Route 66!
I believe an important distinction can be made between religion and spirituality. Religion I take to be concerned with faith in the claims to salvation of one faith tradition or another. Spirituality I take to be concerned with qualities of the human spirit, love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, and a sense of harmony, that bring happiness both to self and others.
True practice is beyond our joy or understanding.
- Joe & Russ at Soto Zen Priests Association meeting, held at Great Vow Monastery, Oct. 2010
Myogen Steve Stucky and Ryushin Paul Haller, co-abbots of San Francisco Zen Center:
Our bodhisattva vow is to include all beings, and our expression of this vow means to go beyond inherited cultural patterns. We recognize that biases inherent in American culture are a karmic legacy that needs to be acknowledged and overcome if we are to become a sangha that truly reflects the boundless wisdom and compassion of all buddhas.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche:
I don’t see any particular problems in working with others. Just go ahead. Push yourself harder. Sometimes you find that you don’t like someone that you are trying to work with. But if you look behind their facade, you see that the person is, in fact, quite lovable. They do possess the primordial dot.
When you first talk to them, you might find them completely off-putting and irritating. You wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole. But gradually, your pole becomes shorter. You begin to do a double-take. You might even begin to like them. The point here is that you have to push harder, and then there’s no problem at all. You might be working with someone who is completely untrustworthy, but that doesn’t matter. Trust begins with trusting in yourself, your dot, and your commitment.
You have to work hard to help others, directly, without even wearing rubber gloves to clean up their vomit. You’re not like an employer who is interviewing potential employees to decide which ones to hire. We are going to help others, regardless of their workability.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer:
[B]eing happy by covering over life’s sorrows – impermanence and loss – is not a good way to be happy, because those things have a way of catching up to you.
Ryushin Paul Haller:
”Wherever you are, you belong right there … This is your life; this is what you are; this is what’s happening.”
”If you continue this simple practice every day, you will obtain some wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is something wonderful; but after you attain it, it is nothing special.”
There is much we can do to influence our experience of suffering. Old age, sickness, and death are inevitable; but, with the torments of negative thoughts and emotions, we certainly have a choice in how we respond to the occurrence of suffering. If we wish, we can adopt a more dispassionate and rational approach, and on that basis we can temper our response to it.
Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.
In reality, you may actually fail at any endeavor that’s big enough and challenging enough to be worth your time and energy. And often the lessons learned from failure are invaluable – they are the ones you could not learn any other way.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer:
As we all know, we can think about changing our emotional lives for a thousand years and nothing will change. But as soon as we sit and breathe, opening the field of awareness somatically, we have a different – and wiser – access to what is within us.
[Our Zen forms are] not the means of obtaining right state of mind. To take this posture itself is our purpose or practice. It is not some means of obtaining some special state of mind. When you have this posture, you have right state of mind. So there is no need to obtain some special state of mind.
Excerpts from Joe’s Priest Ordination