Book of the Month

Everything is Made of Mind: Norman Fischer on the Playing-Out of Impermanence and Eternity

“Life is the wind. Life is the water. As long as life appears as phenomena there will be the stirrings of delusion. Delusion is in fact the movement, the stir­ring, of awakening.” – Norman Fischer In this 2019 essay featured in his new book, When You Greet Me, I Bow, Zen teacher and poet, Norman… Continue reading Everything is Made of Mind: Norman Fischer on the Playing-Out of Impermanence and Eternity

Koans

Ordinary Mind is the Way

This koan is an exchange between Master Nansen and his student Joshu that would have taken place in China around the 9th century. Their dialog concerns the nature of the Way and how to attain it. Nansen advises his student that ordinary mind is the key, but that it is not something he can seek… Continue reading Ordinary Mind is the Way

Book Bits, Koans, The Masters

Nansen Kills the Cat – Koun Yamada

This famous koan from the Mumonkan or The Gateless Gate, tells the story of Nansen killing a cat that a group of monks were arguing over in a monastery, an action that elicited a bizarre response from another monk, Joshu. This particular translation of the koan comes from Koun Yamada’s book of teachings on the… Continue reading Nansen Kills the Cat – Koun Yamada

Japanese Texts, Texts, The Masters

The Genjo-koan (Part 1)

The Genjo-koan, whose name can be translated as ‘Realizing the Heart of the Matter’, is one of the key chapters in Master Dogen’s voluminous Shobogenzo. The Genjo-koan cuts to the heart of Dogen’s teaching and presents us with the fundamental tenets of Zen practice as well as an account of its distinct phenomenology. This version… Continue reading The Genjo-koan (Part 1)

Chinese Poetry, Poetry, The Masters

Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi

Within a tradition already rich with sublime poetry, the Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi stands out as one of the most profound and beautiful verses to come out of 9th century China. The poem is attributed to master Dongshan Liangjie (known as Tozan Ryokai in Japan), who was the founder of the Caodong tradition… Continue reading Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi