PODCAST: Riding The Ox Home

Posted on Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei photo of Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

In this talk, Shugen Sensei continues the teachings about the stages along the Path. The 6th stage of the Ox Herding Pictures is called Riding the Ox Home. After the immense struggles of “wrestling” and “taming” (stages 4 & 5, respectively), the ox is now calm and pliant. However, there’s a problem: there is still an ox and you riding it. Indeed, another duality! We have a tendency to see things as practice and not practice; enlightenment and delusion; sacred and mundane. The conditioned mind grasps and has difficulty harmonizing, but in the dharma, we see there are no hinderances, no conflicts.

The koan in this collection is “Yunyan Sweeps the Ground,” case 21 of the Book of Serenity. This discourse was given at the Zen Center of NYC on May 19th, 2013.

 

 

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PODCAST: Being in the Mountains

Posted on Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, Roshi

In Zen literature the mountain’s summit is commonly used as a metaphor for realization. Using this metaphor as a point of departure, Daido Roshi talks about form and emptiness, the nature of enlightenment, and freeing ourselves from hindrance.

The koan in this talk is Dongshan’s “Top of the Mountain,” Case 49 from the True Dharma Eye.

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PODCAST: Meet The Challenge

Posted on Friday, September 12th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Photo of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

In practice, challenges are nothing but opportunities to help us see something about ourselves we were previously blind to. Working with a teacher can help us move through these obstacles, but ultimately, the only one who can realize complete freedom is each one of us.

The koan in this talk is “Pao Fu’s Summit of the Mystic Peak,” case 23 of the Blue Cliff Record. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery on February 26th, 2011.

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PODCAST: The Essential Matter

Posted on Friday, September 5th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei photo of Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

Shugen Sensei says that we often turn away from the essential to the trivial, recalling a poem by Rumi, “we are sitting on the edge of a roof, drunk.” Due to this, Shugen Sensei implores us to move carefully.  This koan is not about, ‘everything I do is Zen.’ Instead, it is about the care of all beings.  The koan in this collection is “The Essential Matter” from The True Dharma Eye case 209. This discourse was given at the Zen Center of New York City, January 26th,  2014.

 

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PODCAST: Refining Zazen

Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, Roshi

The simple practice of zazen, when taken up sincerely and consistently, has the power to transform our lives. In this talk, Daido Roshi dispels some common misunderstandings about zazen and offers helpful guidance. From working through our baggage to truly letting go, he encourages us to surrender our ego trip and  trust the process.

The koan in this talk is “Nanyue Polishes a Tile,” Case 8 from the True Dharma Eye. It was given at ZMM on May 26, 2007.

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How to Be a Student

Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Photo of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Master Dogen writes, “To study the way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.” How do we study ourselves, our lives, our world, the questions of why and how? Do we refuse to study them? In practice, experience and explanations of experience become the same thing. How are we students?

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Taming the Ox

Posted on Friday, August 1st, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei photo of Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

In this talk, Shugen Sensei continues the teachings about the stages along the path. The 5th stage of the Ox Herding Pictures illustrates the practitioner’s struggles at taming the ox. Our typical ideas on struggling and taming are not helpful on this path. If we continue to use the same strategies, we’ll continue to create the same suffering. What’s a skillful way to wrestle? How does the practitioner balance equanimity with things as they are with the injunction to tame our desires?  Moreover, how do we practice acceptance, while seeing our nonacceptance.

The koan in this talk is “Dongshan’s No Grass,” case 89 of the Book of Serenity. This discourse was given at Zen Center of NYC on May 4th,  2013.

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PODCAST: The Place You’ve Been Avoiding

Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, RoshiTo understand the Buddhist teachings and adopt the Zen forms is the easy part. But to truly challenge ourselves and turn toward the places we’ve been avoiding is the path to true freedom. Every moment presents us with this opportunity.

The koan in this talk is titled “Vimalakirti’s Gate of Nonduality,” which is case 84 of the Blue Cliff Record. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery.

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Loneliness Is The Good News

Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Photo of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

The radical loneliness of this path is good news. Loneliness is what helps us realize we are the only ones who can take responsibility for our lives. When we become completely intimate with loneliness, what emerges is the instantaneous realization we are connected to this whole reality, and to the boundless heart of compassion.

The koan in this talk is “Yunmen’s Pillars,” case 31 of the Book of Equanimity. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery in May of 2013.

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PODCAST: Wrestling with the Ox

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei photo of Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei

In this talk, Shugen Sensei continues the teachings about the stages along the path. The 4th stage of the Ox Herding Pictures illustrates the practitioner’s wrestling with the ox.  He says it’s important to be diligent with our practice because we’ve gained some insight at this stage, making it easy to attach to it and turning it into a “thing.”  We should not relax here.

The koan in this talk is “Chih Men’s Lotus Flower, Lotus Leaves,” case 21 of the Blue Cliff Record. This discourse was given at Zen Center of NYC on April 21st,  2013.

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