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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PODCAST: Dharma Food

Posted on Friday, July 4th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, Roshi

A great miracle is present any time we take a meal: to eat is to receive life and merge with the universe. In a very real way, what nourishes us–whether it’s food for our body or food for our heart and mind–has the potential to nourish others. When wisdom and compassion fill our body and mind, then this is what we offer to all beings.

The koan in this talk is “Xinyang’s Sweet Melons,” of the collection Koans of the Way of Reality. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery in June 2007.

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PODCAST: Self-Deception in Spiritual Practice

Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Photo of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

In this discourse we’re calling, Ryushin Sensei says the most insidious kind of self-deception is the one that lurks within our spiritual practice. When practice is used as a venue for self-improvement, getting what we want, or accomplishing something, we die within the very teachings that are designed to help bring us to life. To really be free from suffering, every attachment, and self-centered motive must be seen clearly. To do this isn’t always easy, but a life of no regrets is what hangs in the balance.

The koan in this talk is “Touzi’s All Sounds,” case 79 of the Blue Cliff Record. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery in April 2012.

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PODCAST: Be Utterly Free

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014

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

A monk asked Zhaozhou: what is the meaning of Zen? Zhaozhou said, Cypress tree in the garden.” The truth of our lives is not contained in things, yet we cannot ignore them either. War is not the same as peace. Anger is not the same as wisdom. Do we know how to live in the world and yet be utterly free?

The koan in this talk is “Zhaozhou’s Cypress Tree in the Garden,” case 47 of the Book of Serenity. This discourse was given at ZCNYC.

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PODCAST: The One That Is Not Busy

Posted on Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, Roshi

We’re calling this talk, “The One That Is Not Busy.” An old master said we must recognize ‘the one that is not busy’ in order to see the union of mundane and enlightened reality. We can be every bit as engaged in spiritual practice as those living in monasteries. It requires great perseverance, but it is possible. Not only that – it’s our imperative.

The koan in this talk is titled “Yunyan Sweeps the Ground,” which is case 83 of the True Dharma Eye. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery in May 2006.

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PODCAST: Enlightenment Guaranteed

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2014

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Photo of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei

Our everyday experience is constantly being filtered through our personal bubbles of illusion. Inside, we believe we are the center of the world—the misconception from which all suffering arises. How can we break free? If we stop trying to maintain our grasp of reality, the truth will reveal itself.

The koan in this talk is Case 5 from the Book of Equanimity, “Qingyuan and the Price of Rice.” It was offered at Zen Mountain Monastery on November 16, 2012.

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PODCAST: Who We Actually Are

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2014

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

In this inquiry into the 4th stage of the spiritual journey as portrayed in the Ox Herding Pictures, Shugen Sensei asks, How does the absolute basis of reality, which is not about time and place, relate to our daily life of differences, beginnings and endings, suffering and joy?  We have to free ourselves from all of our ideas of what things are, who we are.  With practice, the hunger for this freedom grows very strong.

The koan in this talk is “Kyogen’s Man Up a Tree,” case 5 of the Gateless Gate. This discourse was given at ZCNYC in Apr 2013.

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PODCAST: How Buddhas Are Born

Posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi

Photo of John Daido Loori, Roshi

An old master said we must recognize ‘the one that is not busy’ in order to see the union of mundane and enlightened reality. We can be every bit as engaged in spiritual practice as those living in monasteries. It requires great perseverance, but it is possible. Not only that – it’s our imperative.

The koan in this talk is “Yunyan Sweeps the Ground,” case 83 of the collection True Dharma Eye. This discourse was given at Zen Mountain Monastery in May 2006.

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PODCAST: Perceiving the Ox

Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014

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

Shugen Sensei continues his exploration of the spiritual journey.  In the third stage of Zen practice, a student might have her first experience of the ‘falling away of body and mind’, but there is much work yet to be done.  When everything you know about yourself is gone, what remains?

This discourse was offered at the Zen Center of NYC on April 4th, 2013.

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