Beautiful poem by Zen teacher Ryokan, from the early 1800's Japan:
What was right yesterday Is wrong today In what is right today, How do you know it was not wrong yesterday There is no right or wrong, No predicting gain or loss. Unable to change their tune, Those who are foolish glue down bridges of a lute. Those who are wise get to the source But keep wandering about for long. Only when you are neither wise nor foolish
Peaceful Life, a poem by Katagiri Roshi
Being told that it’s impossible, One believes, in despair, “Is that so?” Being told that it is possible, One believe, in excitement, “That’s right.” But whichever is chosen, It doesn’t not fit one’s heart neatly.
Being asked, What is unfitting?” I don’t know what it is. But my heart knows somehow. I feel an irresistible desire to know. What a mystery “human” is!
As to this mys
“Instructions To the Head Cook” is one of my favorite pieces of writing from Dogen, the 13th century founder of Zen in Japan. In it he describes the three states of mind that the head cook should cultivate in all activities in the kitchen: Joyful Mind, Kind Mind, and Great Mind.
I’m struck by this simple yet radical notion of cultivating states of mind. Usually we feel as though our state of mind, our feelings and emotions just happen,
A Zen teacher from the 9th century in China could sometimes be heard having a stern conversation with himself: “Master Zuigan!” he would call out. “Yes?,” he would inquire, “Are you here?” “Yes!” He responded to himself.
How sweet, how odd, and how wonderful! This Zen teacher underscores how challenging it can be to be present, to show up, to be present for ourselves, and for our lives. And he didn’t have a smart phone, the internet,
There is a famous story from the Zen tradition that has been passed down for more than a thousand years, about two Zen teachers discussing a primary issue of where we put our focus and attention:
One teacher asks another, “Where do you come from?”
The second replies, “From the south.”
The first asks, “How is Zen practice in the South these days?”
The second responds, “There lots of discussion.”
The first states, “How can all the discuss
Balance: Forget about balance. We are always out of balance. Always in perfect balance.
I sat meditation this morning as I do nearly every morning at about 6:00 a.m. This morning it was quiet, dark and cold. A wonderful way to begin my mornings. I don’t take it for granted, the privilege to begin my day in this way. The privilege to live in a place where I can feel safe. The privilege of having a body and mind, to be able to sit cross
“If you have these two things – the willingness to change, and the acceptance of everything as it comes, you will have all you need to work with.” - Charlotte Selver
“Don’t stop the line.” For many years this was an agreement, almost an unwritten law of the General Motors assembly lines building cars and trucks. Management believed that keeping the car assembly line going at all times was essential. Keeping the line going was clearly m
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” - Pablo Picasso
“The antidote to exhaustion is not rest. The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” - Brother David Steindl-rast
I was recently sitting in the office of a senior executive of a major corporation in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were meeting for the first time. During this conversation he shared with me his disappointment about wor
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’s going to spend its life believing it’s and idiot. - Einstein
We are all heroes on our own journey. Sometimes we forget. Whatever we are doing, however mundane, however meaningful, this moment is unique and cannot be repeated.
We are always in some kind of transition. Writing now for me is a transition. I begin the process, setting out from the known to the unknown. I leave t
When deciding about the work I do, I envision three circles: Impact, Joy, and Financial Sustainability. Does my work have positive impact, does it bring joy to me and to others, and is it financially sustainable for my life?
First, just applying these criteria shifts my focus from fear, worry and survival; shifts my attention from my day-to-day concerns to something larger, to how I want to show up, to how I want to live. There is certa