The Fukanzazenki is a 13th century Japanese text that provides the most fundamental instructions for Zen meditation, including details on the ideal environment and posture for practice.
17th century Zen master Bankei on the Unborn, the unconditioned mind that comes up spontaneously and is fundamental to every person, without exception.
Last week we published the Jijuyu Zanmai, which is the second part of the first half of Master Dogen's Bendowa, the first text to be written in casual Japanese to explain the Zen Dogen had learned in China under Master Rujing. This text is the very first part of the Bendowa that precedes the Jijuyu… Continue reading “When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa
The Jijuyu Zanmai is the second section of the first part of Dogen's Bendowa - 'The Endeavor of the Way' and concerns the experience of zazen itself. The whole text of the Bendowa is held in high esteem as being Dogen's best and most comprehensible explanation of his understanding of Zen and the Dharma. There are… Continue reading Jijuyu Zanmai – Master Dogen’s Self-Receiving and Employing Samadhi
Daito Kokushi (also known as Myocho Shuho) was a monk born in Japan just a generation or so after Dogen's death and is widely celebrated in the Rinzai tradition. The founder of Daitoku-ji monastery - which still stands today - Daito is best known for the (probably apocryphal) tale of his decision to shun institutional… Continue reading Master Daito’s Original Face
The most effective religious or philosophical texts are the ones that transcend time and culture and get to the core of the human situation which is timeless, no matter where and when in the world we live. Daikaku Zenji (Chinese name - Lanxi Daolong) was a monk and master who traveled from his birthplace in Western China… Continue reading When One Can Know What is the Truth of the Heart
The experience of kensho or enlightenment is a subject that a lot of teachers prefer to distance themselves from talking about, as words put limits on the experience. Master Hakuin, however, was not one to shy away from such a challenge, and often tried to describe his own spiritual exploits to his students. He uses… Continue reading Hakuin on Enlightenment – Never Ask Your Teachers to Explain
In a world where a certain kind of intellectualism is valued over many other human capacities, it's easy to feel inferior to those we perceive to be smarter than ourselves and to imagine that the things that we do not understand with our intellect will somehow hold us back from a more profound experience of… Continue reading Dogen – Remember That You Are Alive Only Today In This Moment
The Hokyo-ki is a short memoir written by Dogen later in his life that chronicles his exchanges with Master Ju-ching (Tendo Nyojo in Japanese, also known as Rujing). Dogen only spent two years studying under Ju-ching at his monastery on Mount Tiantong, but the master's teachings were highly transformative for the young Japanese monk and… Continue reading What is Essential is Only to Understand with Immediacy – from Dogen’s Hokyo-ki
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)