PODCAST: 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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PODCAST: 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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